Kyrgyzstan clashes appear 'orchestrated': UN rights chief
The UN human rights chief on Monday urged Kyrgyz authorities to act firmly to end clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan which appeared to be "orchestrated, targeted and well-planned."
"It seems indiscriminate killings, including of children, and rapes have been taking place on the basis of ethnicity," said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
"It has been known for many years that this region is a potential tinder-box, and for that reason it is essential that the authorities act firmly to halt the fighting -- which appears to be orchestrated, targeted and well-planned -- before it spreads further inside Kyrgyzstan or even across the border into neighbouring countries," she added.
While calling for a firm hand against the violence, Pillay also said a shoot-to-kill policy ordered by the interim government was "not the answer."
"A state of emergency has been declared, and this is probably a necessary decision in the circumstances. However, the right to life and the right not to be tortured cannot be set aside during an emergency," she said.
"Security forces need to be given strict instructions to avoid unnecessary force, and to steer clear of taking sides in the conflict, while still doing their utmost to bring an end to the violence."
The UN top rights official also urged neighbouring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to keep their borders open to those fleeing the deadly clashes.
Uzbekistan earlier Monday ordered its frontier closed to a mass exodus of refugees fleeing clashes between rival groups in Kyrgyzstan.
The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that 80,000 people have already fled into Uzbekistan, while another 15,000 were waiting at the Kyrgyz border to cross over this morning.
© 2010 AFP