Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, this week, violence flared up in Kyrgyzstan, prompting tens of thousands of Uzbeks to flee their homes and places of birth to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Innocent people, including women, children and the elderly, are suffering with over 100 killed.
Just 2 months ago, the people deposed the authoritarian President Bakiyev, who promptly fled to Belarus and the protection of the Lukashenko government. Approval of a new constitution and general elections were proceeding smoothly until the recent violence, which was prompted by forces supportive of the deposed president and other lawless elements.
Even with the present chaos, the interim Kurdish government is insisting that the date of elections will remain unchanged. For many years, I've worked with the nations along the old Silk Road in central Asia, and it pains me to see the Kyrgyz fleeing violence in their homeland.
The U.S. wants to keep our Air Force base in Kyrgyzstan, but we have shown little interest in helping the people of this nation build a republic that respects human rights free of corruption. Even China and Russia are lending their support with humanitarian aid flights. We need the State Department and President Obama to offer the support of America to a nation struggling to create democracy and freedom to strengthen their independence and sovereignty.
Without action on the part of the U.S., violence will continue, and then more than just a military base will be lost.