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Kyrgyzstan: Families remember their missing relatives in Osh

Five years later, families are still trying to discover what happened to their loved ones.

On 27 October 2015, representatives of 21 families gathered at the monument for missing persons in Osh to remember relatives they hadn’t seen since the communal violence in June 2010.

Flowers laid at the monument during the ceremony
© ICRC / Zoryana Verbych

Immediately after the disturbances, the ICRC registered 72 cases of missing persons. Some families have managed to find their loved ones, but they also took part in the ceremony, to show their support for those still living with this uncertainty.

Praying for people who died or went missing in June 2010
© ICRC / Zoryana Verbych

Recognizing the families’ loss, last year the Kyrgyz authorities erected a monument in Osh – known as the “Cradle” – where they can gather and share their grief.

Osh: The new monument to missing persons
© ICRC / Zoryana Verbych

The ceremony was supported by the ICRC and the mayor’s office. After brief speeches from them and the families, participants said a prayer together.

The deputy mayor of Osh and the ICRC head of office leading the procession
© ICRC / Zoryana Verbych

A relative of a missing person addresses participants
© ICRC / Zoryana Verbych

Flowers were laid at the monument, reminding participants and passers-by that the pain of a disappearance does not fade with time.

Mr Ergeshov, the deputy mayor of Osh, emphasized the authorities’ concern to build peace and prevent such events in the future. The ICRC head of office in Osh, Mr Abdymomun Umarov, said that the ICRC works on disappearances in over 70 countries around the world, and it knows that families never forget the pain. Speakers from two families showed that the blame and anger of the early days have now given way to more humane feelings and a keenness to prevent communal violence in the future.

Sadness and tears on the faces of relatives
© ICRC / Zoryana Verbych

The families, who have grown to know each other over years, shared a convivial meal after the ceremony. They thanked the ICRC for remembering them and for organizing events like this commemoration.

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