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SG/SM/18567
11 June 2017

Diversity Must Be Cherished, Not Condemned, Stresses Secretary-General, Applauding Reconciliation, at Commemoration of 2010 Tragic Events in Kyrgyzstan

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the commemoration of the June 2010 events in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, today:

When I was here in 2010, the people of Osh were struggling to cope with the consequences of the tragic events in June that year.  Those were terrible days, but the people of Osh have demonstrated a remarkable resilience, an enormous patience and a capacity to recover from these terrible days that need to be praised by all of us.

On laying a wreath on this beautiful monument, I want to express my deep condolences to the families of all these victims of the terrible events of 2010 and to express my total solidarity with the people of Osh, the people of Jalalabad, and of all the other places in which these unfortunate events took place.

The Mother’s Tears [monument] should remind all of us that societies in the world are becoming multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multicultural, and that must be seen as a positive thing.  It is a richness, not a threat.  Diversity needs to be cherished, not to be condemned.

You have done a lot in the past for reconciliation to create the conditions for the future peace and prosperity of this region but it is good to remember that reconciliation is something that should never end.

When we see so many conflicts in communities, even in the most developed countries of the world, we understand that for diversity to be a richness, a lot of investment must be made — political, economic, social, cultural, religious — in order for people to live together, to respect each other, to appreciate each other, to intermarry, and to create a community in which each one feels his or her identity is respected but each one also feels that he or she belongs to the community of the country.

I know that the Government, the local authorities, the communities will go on making that investment to consolidate reconciliation in this region.  And this is the holy month of Ramadan — a month that should reminds us all that peace and tolerance must prevail because that is the true face of Islam.

I know that you have a vibrant community, a vibrant society; your bazaar is one of the busiest in Central Asia.  May the sacred mountain of Sulaiman-Too be the symbol of your unity and the symbol of your determination to build a future of peace, prosperity and reconciliation.

I remember coming to Osh, I remember working hand in hand with so many compassionate people of the two communities in this city, and you can be sure that the United Nations will always be at your service.  Long live the people of Osh.

For information media. Not an official record.