Wednesday, May 02, 2012 -
Intolerance and exclusion of ethnic minorities espoused by youths throughout Central Asia is likely to develop into a security threat unless the regional authorities act in time, new research shows.
That conclusion was drawn by London-based independent non-governmental organization Saferworld from polls and research undertaken from June to September 2011.
“Many young people in Central Asia feel excluded from decisions and events affecting their lives and deprived of the opportunity of a dignified existence within their native countries,” said the report.
The study, entitled “Young people’s perspectives on identity, exclusion and the prospects for a peaceful future in Central Asia”, warned that the concept of democracy is not widely supported by youths, some of whom are increasingly attracted by extremist groups, crime, or emigration.
Young people are not developing the skills needed to participate in civil society and are excluded from decision making, it said.
Saferworld placed much of the blame on impoverished education systems, bleak national economies, and few job opportunities.
The results were played out with great devastation across southern Kyrgyzstan in summer 2010, when young people played a central role in interethnic clashes that left more than 400 people dead in its wake, and hundreds of thousands of others displaced.
It suggested a three-pronged approach to a solution.
Youths should be encouraged to communicate across cultural, ethnic, rural-urban, and regional divides. They also should be encouraged to participate in public life, and helped to build skills in democratic practice to understand they can achieve their goals through non-violent ways.
The recommendations and findings were drawn from research among young people between the ages of 16 and 26 in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, with supplementary research in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan.
The study was undertaken with EU funding.