The active involvement of local residents and civil society in city life brings visible positive results in conflict prevention

February 14, 2024

Opening of the Balykchy Community Prevention Center

UNDP Kyrgyzstan

The active involvement of local residents and civil society in the city of Balykchy, located in the Issyk-Kul region and with a population of about 53,000, is yielding significant positive results in conflict prevention.

Urmat Baibosunov, police captain and senior district police officer of Balykchy District Department of Internal Affairs, emphasizes the importance of joint efforts of law enforcement agencies and community prevention centers. As a result of this cooperation, district police officers, aksakals' court, and women's committee actively carry out awareness-raising and preventive activities in Balykchy to prevent conflicts and delinquencies. 

"It is visible that the local community has now become more active in preventing and addressing issues that concern their own well-being and safety. Previously, residents were not interested in interacting with law enforcement representatives. However, thanks to the work of the Community Prevention Centers, this pattern has been overcome. Previously, residents were not interested in seeking help or cooperating with law enforcement agencies due to many stereotypes and mistrust.

Thanks to the Community Prevention Centers, misunderstandings based on ethnic differences have been addressed. Religious leaders are also actively involved in the resolution of pre-conflict situations, preventing their escalation into conflicts of ethnic or religious basis," noted Urmat Baibosunov.

Since the launch of Community Prevention Centers, there has been a decrease in crime. For example, in 2022, in Balykchy city there were recorded 1727 crimes, and in 2023 this figure was 1356. This indicates that prevention is carried out in a timely manner. But at the same time, the registration of family violence cases increased - this is due to the fact that previously, some family violence cases were not registered as victims often did not turn to law enforcement. And now, the situation has changed, and six Community Prevention Centers are functioning in Balykchy.

In order to enhance the skills of Community Prevention Centers’ members, various awareness-raising sessions and workshops have been organized. For example, in 2023, a workshop on "The Importance of Counseling and Mentoring of Individuals, Families and Communities in Response to Signs of Radicalization", supported by UNDP, was held on the role of the public and community counseling in response to signs of radicalization. The workshop brought together Community Prevention Centers’ members and community leaders who, by virtue of their work and authority, credibility and recognition by the community, contribute to educating, informing, and preventing offending and violence. 

The comrade captain also cited the heroic deed of senior police lieutenant Amantur Bakirov, who was awarded the medal "Kaarmandyk". 

As a reminder, a tragedy occurred on January 8, 2024, in the city of Balykchy. Two boys, aged 10 and 12, were skating on a pond, which was covered with a thin layer of ice. They fell through and began to drown. A report of the incident was received by the front office of the Balykchy city internal affairs department. This shows that in crisis situations, the police are called first and foremost. Thanks to the timely, efficient, and selfless actions of the district commissioner, the situation was resolved safely. The children were not injured. It should be noted that this is not the first brave act of Amantur Bakirov. Earlier, he also rescued a girl from the water.

Evidently, the active involvement of law enforcement representatives played a crucial role in preventing tragedies.

"I am proud to note that Balykchy is becoming an example of successful cooperation and collaboration between different levels of society. Such successful practices emphasize the importance of joint efforts in creating a harmonious and safe society".
This article was prepared within the framework of the UNDP project in Kyrgyzstan "Inclusive Governance and Shared Identity for Sustainable Peace and Development", funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund