Anti-discrimination legislation and fighting for gender rights: recommendations to Kyrgyzstan following the UPR

Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” and “Kyrgyz Indigo” LGBTIQ human rights organization welcome the recommendations on improving the situation of discriminated groups, which were given to Kyrgyzstan within the framework of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

In the alternative report provided as part of UPR, the human rights defenders pointed out the problems of particular vulnerable groups, as well as the lack of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Kyrgyzstan. Delegations from more than ten countries supported the need for a legal act to protect against direct and indirect discrimination on a number of grounds, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Kyrgyzstan authorities were recommended to include a ban on SOGI-based discrimination into the country’s Constitution, to criminalize incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to take effective measures in order to protect the rights of LGBTI persons, including effectively investigating hate crimes, promoting tolerance and fighting hate speech.

A total of more than 40 recommendations addressed the situation of women in Kyrgyzstan. These included combatting gender-based violence, including forced marriage and bride abduction, ratifying the Istanbul Convention, informing population about reproductive health and contraception, expanding and guaranteeing the implementation of political, economic, social and cultural rights and opportunities for women, increasing their role in these areas, in particular for women representing various ethnic groups and minorities, removing legal barriers to women’s participation in the labor market, eliminating discrimination against women and improving access to healthcare services for pregnant women and mothers. ADC Memorial and the Kyrgyz Family Planning Alliance reported about problems of gender inequality, patriarchal stereotypes, the dangers of prohibiting certain jobs for
women, and the difficult situation of women, who were affected by migration.

A number of recommendations are devoted to the situation of Kyrgyz citizens in migration. These include ensuring the effective exercise of the right to education, especially for children, as well as combatting forced labor and exploitation of children, and providing assistance to victims of human trafficking. Earlier, ADC Memorial, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), “Bir Duino” NGO and “International Legal Initiative” (ILI) foundation reported about these and other problems faced by Kyrgyz migrants.

Kyrgyzstan was given recommendation to protect its ethnic minorities through conducting information campaigns aimed at combatting stigma, ethnic and racial stereotypes, as well as to provide compensations to victims of the inter-ethnic conflict in 2010 in Osh region, to hold a fair trial and guarantee a general legal procedure for all people regardless of their ethnicity, to improve healthcare services for ethnic minorities (Uzbeks, Uyghurs, Mugat and Lyuli). ADC Memorial and “Bir Duino” analyzed the troubled situation of ethnic minorities in Kyrgyzstan in a report provided to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD).

In addition to that, within the framework of the UPR, recommendations were made to immediately release human rights activist Azimjon Askarov and refrain from passing laws (including the law on “foreign agents”), which would restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations.

Human rights activists expect the adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, which was already included in the Action Plan of the Government of Kyrgyzstan for 2019-2022.