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AKIPRESS.COM - The Ambassadors of Germany, Japan and Turkey visited the city of Osh and Nookat town yesterday to look at UNHCR’s Peacebuilding project “Building Trust between People, Communities and Authorities,” accompanied by UNHCR Representative Maki Shinohara.
Since 2014, the UN Refugee Agency, together with its local implementing partners, has realized over 100 small-scale peacebuilding initiatives in 25 target communities. The projects range from the supply of drinking water, creating access to heads of villages to building medical centers or children’s playgrounds in a multi-ethnic environment. Local working groups consisting of community members develop the projects, using also local budgets, which are designed to ease tensions existing in the communities.
“It is quite noteworthy to see how simple, small-scale projects can visibly contribute to conflict-resolution and trust building between people and the authorities,” said Ambassador of Germany Dr. Peter Scholz.
The Ambassadors visited a total of four projects located in Osh city and Nookat town, supported by UNHCR.
“All projects have been designed not only to mitigate the existing tension but also, most importantly, the community-based methodology has empowered both the communities and the authorities by learning how to address and resolve problems should they arise in the future,” UNHCR Representative Maki Shinohara said.
In parallel to tangible projects, UNHCR provides free legal aid and advocacy at the local and national levels. Under this legal project, UNHCR’s partner lawyers have resolved about 200 individual cases related to land allocations, social welfare or registration issues. These efforts further helped to increase the trust of the community members in the rule of law and peaceful dispute resolution mechanisms.
In addition UNHCR projects, the delegation also visited a school in Nookat where the Mountain Society Development Support Programme (MSDSP), which is part of the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN), is assisting a local school. MSDSP Director Talant Aldashev introduced the project which set up a school parliament and several working groups for the students to address their most pressing issues.
For the past five years, the UN Refugee Agency has worked to create conditions for sustainable peace in the Ferghana Valley since the 2010 conflict. UNHCR initially helped to reconstruct over 1500 houses and restored thousands of documents, as more than 375,000 people were driven out of their homes. The peacebuilding project is the latest in UNHCR’s direct assistance to Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken provinces with $ 1.4 million received from the UN Peacebuilding Fund provided to the Kyrgyz Republic.
With the completion of the Peacebuilding Project this year, UNHCR will close its offices in Osh and Jalal-Abad, marking the improved peace and stability in the region. The UN Refugee Agency will continue to support the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in improving access to asylum, finding durable solutions for refugees as well as in the reduction and prevention of statelessness. Moreover, UNHCR will continue to assist the Kyrgyz authorities to increase the levels of emergency preparedness capacities.