Today, Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16) introduced a bipartisan resolution regarding recent events in Kyrgyzstan, including ethnic violence and a successful constitutional referendum. The resolution is cosponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who both serve with Rep. Pitts on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.
Kyrgyzstan's interim government recently deposed the autocratic government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The interim government drafted a new constitution shifting the balance of power in the nation from a centralized executive authority to its parliament. This transition would make Kyrgyzstan the only country in the region to do so.
Despite ethnic violence in April, the interim government recently held a nationwide referendum that approved the new constitution. Parliamentary elections will be held in October.
Rep. Pitts' statement follows:
"I'm glad to have the support of my colleagues on the Helsinki Commission for the resolution on recent events in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is in the midst of an important transition toward a more representative government.
"Tragic ethnic violence has threatened the livelihoods and safety of thousands of people. The interim government must be steadfast in prosecuting those who committed these crimes, and the Kyrgyzstan government must offer equal protection under the law for all its citizens.
"Kyrgyzstan is an important regional ally and the United States, working in concert with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, must take an active role in strengthening democratic institutions in the country."