2011.11.18: November 18, 2011: Peace Corps' decision to leave Kazakhstan comes after one of its volunteers was allegedly raped earlier this month and less than a week after a man with links to radical Islamists killed seven people in a city in the southern city of Taras

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By Admin1 (admin) (70.254.224.177) on Friday, November 18, 2011 - 11:47 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps' decision to leave Kazakhstan comes after one of its volunteers was allegedly raped earlier this month and less than a week after a man with links to radical Islamists killed seven people in a city in the southern city of Taras

Peace Corps' decision to leave Kazakhstan comes after one of its volunteers was allegedly raped earlier this month and less than a week after a man with links to radical Islamists killed seven people in a city in the southern city of Taras

Lisa Murray, one of Peace Corps' 117 volunteers in Kazakhstan, was clear on her blog. She reported that safety concerns and not development was the main reason for Peace Corps leaving Kazakhstan where it has operated continuously since 1993. "The Peace Corps will be leaving Kazakhstan next week all volunteers evacuated and staff disbanded," Ms Murray wrote on Nov 17 quoting a friend of hers who had finished Peace Corps in August. "This serious decision was made largely [because of] growing safety issues, including terrorism and what has apparently become the highest sexual assault/rape level among PC [Peace Corps] countries worldwide." On Nov 10, a Kazakh news website reported that a Peace Corps volunteer had allegedly been raped in the town of Saran near Karaganda, a Soviet-built industrial city in central Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has also this year for the first time faced a series of attacks by radical Islamists who accuse the government of harassing Muslims. Most of the violence had been focused in the west of the country but Saturday's attack in the city of Taraz was only 350 miles from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city.

Peace Corps' decision to leave Kazakhstan comes after one of its volunteers was allegedly raped earlier this month and less than a week after a man with links to radical Islamists killed seven people in a city in the southern city of Taras

US Peace Corps quits Kazakhstan

Peace Corps, the United States' programme that sends thousands of young Americans across the globe each year to teach English, is hastily pulling out of Kazakhstan.

Caption: The US's Peace Corps is pulling out of Kazakhstan days after a gunman killed seven people in the southern city of Taras. A police investigator examines a Kalashnikov machine gun at the site of an attack in Taraz on Nov 12. Photo: REUTERS

By James Kilner, Almaty

2:16PM GMT 18 Nov 2011

The main reason for exiting the Central Asian country has not been publicised but Peace Corps' decision comes after one of its volunteers was allegedly raped earlier this month and less than a week after a man with links to radical Islamists killed seven people in a city in southern Kazakhstan.

It is potentially a major blow to Kazakhstan which has built up a reputation as one of the former Soviet Union's most stable countries. The Kazakh education ministry, though, later insisted that Peace Corps was leaving because the country had developed too rapidly to need its programmes.

Lisa Murray, one of Peace Corps' 117 volunteers in Kazakhstan, was clear on her blog.

She reported that safety concerns and not development was the main reason for Peace Corps leaving Kazakhstan where it has operated continuously since 1993.

"The Peace Corps will be leaving Kazakhstan next week all volunteers evacuated and staff disbanded," Ms Murray wrote on Nov 17 quoting a friend of hers who had finished Peace Corps in August.

"This serious decision was made largely [because of] growing safety issues, including terrorism and what has apparently become the highest sexual assault/rape level among PC [Peace Corps] countries worldwide."

US President John F. Kennedy established Peace Corps in 1961, partly to promote American ideals abroad. Since then it has sent over more than 200,000 volunteers to work in 139 countries around the world.

In a statement, Peace Corps later said it was suspending its programme in Kazakhstan for "a number of operational considerations". The statement, attributed to Peace Corps director Aaron Williams, did not give further details.

On Nov 10, a Kazakh news website reported that a Peace Corps volunteer had allegedly been raped in the town of Saran near Karaganda, a Soviet-built industrial city in central Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has also this year for the first time faced a series of attacks by radical Islamists who accuse the government of harassing Muslims. Most of the violence had been focused in the west of the country but Saturday's attack in the city of Taraz was only 350 miles from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city.

Since then Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has pledged to strengthen the security services and asked the population to be increasingly vigilant.

But for Kazakhstan's education ministry, the timing is just coincidental and Peace Corps is only leaving Kazakhstan because of its rapid social and economic development over the past 20 years.

"We believe the suspension of the activities of Peace Corps in Kazakhstan is a rather logical step," the Kazakh education ministry statement said. "As it is known, this organisation assists mainly the least developed countries."

Kazakhstan is Central Asia's largest economy and is becoming an increasingly important global energy supplier.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: November, 2011; Peace Corps Kazakhstan; Directory of Kazakhstan RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Kazakhstan RPCVs; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Sexual Assault and Harassment





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Story Source: The Telegraph

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Kazakhstan; Safety; SA

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