Kyrgyzstan is a country with predominantly ethnic Kyrgyz (73.5%) and Uzbek (14.7%) population. Other minorities including 5.5% Russians and eight ethnic groups account for the rest 6.3%of the population (2019 est.: CIA Factbook 2021).
Kyrgyzstan recently experienced ethnic conflict. The government was forced to take actions to address grievances, largely driven by pressures from the international community and human rights organizations. Specifically, state policy was needed to alleviate inequalities among different ethnic groups and promote diversity and multiculturalism. The government adopted a post-conflict policy document “The concept on the strengthening of the national unity and inter-ethnic relations in the Kyrgyz Republic” that aimed to reform the judicial, police and educational systems, and promote diversity and acceptance among ethnic groups (Sheranova 2020). However, although the policy sought to alleviate ethnic tensions, it has been widely criticized by civil society activists from different factions of the society for its top-down approach that did not take into consideration the complexity of the Kyrgyz society.
Kyrgyzstan has achieved an overall ICDI score of 0.43. A score of 0.89 in the component of socio-economic inequality indicates a relatively positive degree of intergenerational social mobility and high levels of educational attainment amongst the population. A score of 0.73 in the component of freedoms and rights indicates a presence of freedom of press, domestic movement, foreign movement, and travel. However, a score of 0.04 in the component of social contact signals low levels of tourist arrivals, cultural participation and few indigenous and immigrant living languages. A score of 0.16 in the component of access to communication also indicates that there are few newspapers published and low numbers of mobile telephone and internet users.
Current Situation and Outlook
Compared to its average situation relating to the opportunities dimension, Kyrgyzstan has attained lower scores in various components of its legislative and structural dimensions. A lower score in its legislative dimension is attributed to below average scores in the components of multiculturalism and anti-discrimination. Kyrgyzstan can improve its ICDI score by introducing and sustaining multicultural / diversity and anti-discrimination acts and policies. It can also strengthen its structural dimension by increasing the number of platforms available of social contact. This can be in the form of encouraging cultural participation and preserving existing indigenous and immigrant living languages.