Kyrgyzstan sees narrowing of political space for NGOs

There is a trend of narrowing of political space NGOs in Kyrgyzstan, while civil society expresses concerns about adoption of certain amendments to the legislation related to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

These are just some of the conclusions of the expert roundtable "Kyrgyzstan and the Universal Periodic Report: Lessons, Experiences and Perspectives" that was held by the initiative of the Human Rights Centre "Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan" in partnership with government and civil society in Bishkek on 7 October 2014.

The participants of the round table:

·      Confirmed the importance of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on improving the situation in the sphere of human rights and the fulfillment of international obligations of Kyrgyzstan on human rights;

·      Noted that in order for the UPR process to be effective it is necessary to provide objective and reliable information within the execution of the state's obligations in the field of human rights;

·      Stressed the important role of the Coordinating Council for Human Rights in the preparation of the UPR and monitoring the recommendations’ implementation;

·      Supported the idea of ​​developing a plan on monitoring the performance of the UPR recommendations and conducting regular dialogue between state authorities and civil society;

Recommendations to UPR: on trends of narrowing of political space for NGOs in Kyrgyzstan

·      Participants noted a trend of narrowing of NGOs’ political space and expressed concern for the adoption of certain amendments to the legislation in part related to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Civil society representatives noted negative impact on the effectiveness of NGOs in the case of amendments to the law that impose burdensome new requirements for the registration and operation of NGOs. Therefore they recommended that the Government should review the bills.

UPR Recommendations on Women’s Rights

·      Participants noted the problem of "early marriage" and polygamy in Kyrgyzstan and stressed the ineffectiveness of the response by the state;

·       noted a lack of clear mechanisms for promotion of women within the office and expressed concern that the adoption of certain legislative changes may lead to a further decrease of women’s representation at decision-making levels;

·      stressed that the level of "domestic violence" in the country reaches alarming proportions thereby creating a need to develop a clear government policy in this area and enhance the interaction between the different government bodies and civil society;

·       noted the need for the introduction of gender-based budgeting at the national and regional levels;

·       suggested to include a gender aproach in public policy information;

·       recommended to take into account the gender-based specific to eliminate hidden discrimination against women;

·       recommended to maintain a quota of at least 30% for women in Parliament and at the local level;

UPR Recommendations on Children’s Rights

·      Participants recommended to apply appropriate mechanisms for the timely identification of children and families in difficult situations, to improve coordination of government agencies and increase the amount of social benefits for children from low-income families;

·      noted the need for the incorporation of the norms of the guidelines on justice in matters of involving child victims and witnesses of crime into national legislation and programs to protect children;

·      recommended to take measures to open a state crisis centers of temporary (joint) staying of parents and children exposed to violence for rehabilitation and psychological support;

·      recommended to provide responsibility for the use of child labor, establishing a direct ban on the use of child labor in the educational institutions to meet the needs of the institution.

UPR Recommendations on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

·      Participants informed on a carried out detailed analysis on the conformity of national legislation with international standards on the rights of persons with disabilities and provided clear recommendations for improvement this situation;

·      suggested to explore this analysis and to take concrete measures on implementing international obligations in terms of access to education, legal and social protection of persons with disabilities;

·      noted that the existing infrastructure of schools and public buildings is not consistent with national laws and international standards, which greatly complicates the rights of persons with disabilities;

·      stressed that integration of children at the school level is not provided, which leads to the marginalization of this population group;

·      expressed concern about the lack of qualified teachers who are skilled in working with children with disabilities;

·      informed that there is no single database of persons with disabilities, which greatly complicates the work of various government agencies responsible for working with this population;

·      recommended to move from a policy-based assistance to an approach based on human rights;

·      recommended to create an educational environment suitable for children with disabilities and to equip schools with the necessary equipment and facilities for children with disabilities;

·      called on the State to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, and to begin a phased implementation of the Convention provisions.

UPR Recommendations on Migration

·      Participants noted that migration has led to structural changes in the social environment, which changed the conditions and quality of life;

·      informed that one third of country GDP is transferred by migrants;

·      noted that migration processes determine the nature of the society socialization, influence the formation of public policy in the field of social development and form new security challenges;

·      emphasized the negative impact of migration on the families of Kyrgyzstan;

·      recommended to strengthen the state policy in the sphere of regulation of migration processes through the development of pre-exit training, strengthening of social policies on migrants, provide additional support to vulnerable groups (women, children, the elderly, etc..), Changes in pension legislation;

UPR Recommendations on LGBT Discrimination

·      Participants informed that the rights and freedoms of persons belonging to the LGBT is a urgent problem in modern Kyrgyzstan;

·      recommended to recognize and condemn the use of violence against transgender people committed, including by the law enforcement officials;

·      Proposed to create an independent mechanism for dealing with complaints of misconduct against LGBT people;  

·      Urged to stop aggression, intolerance and repression of LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan and recommended expanding the space to discuss the rights and freedoms of persons belonging to the LGBT

·      Expressed concern with the development of laws against "propaganda of homosexuality", having recognized such laws as violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as the proposed changes in the law violates the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of expression and other rights.

UPR Recommendations on Peaceful Assembly

·      Participants noted some progress after the political events of 2010, however, pointed to a worsening of the situation;

·      noted that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is indispensable to ensure the constitutional rights - the right to freedom of expression;

·      called for an end to the vicious practice of intimidation and illegal detention;

·      recommended to strictly observe the Law on Peaceful Assemblies in terms of decision-making processes on the limitation and / or prohibition of assembly;

·      recommended that the State should strictly supervise the adherence of the Law "On peaceful assemblies", which is more in line with international standards. 

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