Kyrgyzstan crisis: in pictures

Violence against ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan has left at least 178 people dead and up to 275,000 dis

Above, Uzbek women mourn in Jalal-Abad. The violence broke out last Friday and quickly spread to the village from Osh, 25 miles away, and to other Uzbek villages in the south.

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Men cry in the village of Shark, outside Osh, by a destroyed building.

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A wrecked building near the People's Friendship University in Jalal-Abad.

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Ethnic Uzbek men dig graves in Osh. According to the official toll, 178 people are dead. Many on the ground claim this is a huge underestimate, and that the real figure is closer to 2,000.

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Men pray at a funeral in Osh. The clashes are the worst ethnic violence to hit southern Kyrgyzstan since 1990. Government forces are accused of being complicit in the slaughter.

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Ethnic Uzbek women cry and plead for help at a refugee camp in Nariman, ten kilometres outside Osh, on the border with Uzbekistan. Up to 200,000 Uzbeks are homeless but stranded in Kyrgyzstan.

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Refugees gather by the border with Uzbekistan. On Monday, the country ordered its borders closed to tens of thousands of refugees. About 75,000 are thought to have crossed the frontier before this.

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Uzbeks hand bread over the border to refugees in the Nariman camp.

All photos from AFP/Getty Images.

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Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Amber Rudd's report on the benefits of EU immigration is better late than never

The study will strengthen the case for a liberal post-Brexit immigration system. 

More than a year after vowing to restrict EU immigration, the government has belatedly decided to investigate whether that's a good idea. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to report on the costs and benefits of free movement to the British economy.

The study won't conclude until September 2018 - just six months before the current Brexit deadline and after the publication of the government's immigration white paper. But in this instance, late is better than never. If the report reflects previous studies it will show that EU migration has been an unambiguous economic benefit. Immigrants pay far more in tax than they claim in benefits and sectors such as agriculture, retail and social care depend on a steady flow of newcomers. 

Amber Rudd has today promised businesses and EU nationals that there will be no "cliff edge" when the UK leaves the EU, while immigration minister Brandon Lewis has seemingly contradicted her by baldly stating: "freedom of movement ends in the spring of 2019". The difference, it appears, is explained by whether one is referring to "Free Movement" (the official right Britain enjoys as an EU member) or merely "free movement" (allowing EU migrants to enter the newly sovereign UK). 

More important than such semantics is whether Britain's future immigration system is liberal or protectionist. In recent months, cabinet ministers have been forced to acknowledge an inconvenient truth: Britain needs immigrants. Those who boasted during the referendum of their desire to reduce the number of newcomers have been forced to qualify their remarks. Brexit Secretary David Davis, for instance, recently conceded that immigration woud not invariably fall after the UK leaves the EU. "I cannot imagine that the policy will be anything other than that which is in the national interest, which means that from time to time we’ll need more, from time to time we’ll need less migrants." 

In this regard, it's striking that Brandon Lewis could not promise that the "tens of thousands" net migration target would be met by the end of this parliament (2022) and that Rudd's FT article didn't even reference it. As George Osborne helpfully observed earlier this year, no senior cabinet minister (including Rudd) supports the policy. When May departs, whether this year or in 2019, she will likely take the net migration target with her. 

In the meantime, even before the end of free movement, net migration has already fallen to its lowest level since 2014 (248,000), while EU citizens are emigrating at the fastest rate for six years (117,000 left in 2016). The pound’s depreciation (which makes British wages less competitive), the spectre of Brexit and a rise in hate crimes and xenophobia are among the main deterrents. If the report does its job, it will show why the UK can't afford for that trend to continue. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.