Human Rights Defenders Welcome Kyrgyzstan’s Plan to Implement CERD Recommendations

FIDH and its member organizations welcome the Kyrgyz government’s adoption of the Interagency Roadmap for 2019–2022 to implement CERD’s recommendations. These recommendations were issued by the Committee after its consideration of Kyrgyzstan’s state report and alternative reports from civil society, including a report by ADC Memorial and the Human Rights Movement Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan.

Human rights defenders are pleased to note that the Roadmap embraces all of the Committee’s recommendations, including in respect of acute and hot-button problems, such as overcoming the aftereffects of the ethnic conflict of 2010, which shows the government’s willingness to work constructively on the implementation of its obligations in terms of compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The Kyrgyz government has expressed its readiness to work towards the adoption of a comprehensive antidiscrimination law (on the basis of ethnic origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity) and to adopt measures to protect groups vulnerable to discrimination, including women, children, LGBTI people, and members of ethnic minorities. This Roadmap envisages measures to overcome stigmatization and negative stereotypes of Uzbeks, Uighurs, Turks, and Mughats and to end the use of hate speech in the media and by officials.

At the same time, in a number of cases Kyrgyzstan has made only half-hearted attempts to implement CERD recommendations.

For example, even though the Roadmap envisages implementation of the Committee’s urgent recommendation to effectively investigate all reports of torture, cruel treatment, and confiscation of property alleged to have taken place in the country’s south in 2010, it only proposes monitoring and inventorying criminal case files and reports on torture and cruel treatment relating to the events of 2010. It is clear, however, that inventorying files is not enough to implement the Committee’s recommendations. On top of that, justice must be restored in these cases, which means effective investigations, punishment of the guilty parties, and payment of compensation.

The Interagency Roadmap envisages an array of measures to develop multilingual education and improve the quality of teaching of state and native languages. The Roadmap should also include plans to develop instruction in the languages of ethnic minorities (Uzbeks, Dungan, Uighurs, Tajiks, Mughats and others) and to involve academic specialists for this.

In its recommendations, CERD called on Kyrgyzstan to stop the persecution of human rights defenders and journalists, including those who submit alternative reports about violation of the rights of ethnic minorities.

The Interagency Roadmap envisages the implementation of these recommendations and assigns responsibility to the Prosecutor General, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Committee for National Security, and other law enforcement structures. The Committee calls for the release of Azimzhan Askarov, a human rights defender and journalist accused of participating in the events in the south of Kyrgyzstan in 2010. The Human Rights Committee previously issued a decision on Askarov’s complaint and also demanded his release. The HRC’s decision has not been implemented.

FIDH and its member organizations are hopeful that Kyrgyzstan will implement CERD’s recommendations in full, review Askarov’s case and other cases on torture and cruel treatment mentioned in the Roadmap, improve access to justice for members of ethnic minorities, organize instruction in native languages, and create conditions for the peaceful and harmonious co-existence of the peoples of a multinational Kyrgyzstan.