In February 2021 the report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues Fernand de Varennes on the situation in Kyrgyzstan following his official visit to the country in December 2019 was published.
ADC Memorial welcomes the report and the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur that are extremely actual these days after the recent elections and preceding mass protests.
The UN expert has highlighted the achievements of Kyrgyzstan in the harmonization of interethnic relations – in particular, attention to the recommendations of the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2018) and adoption of an Inter-agency plan to implement the recommendations, that includes the elaboration of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and improvement of education at the languages of minorities.
Together with that, the Special Rapporteur has highlighted that the mentioned legislation has not been adopted yet, and the efforts of the government are insufficient to keep the interethnic relations stable.
There are several ongoing risk factors, such as the underrepresentation of minorities in the civil service and law enforcement, a significant decline in the number of schools teaching the Uzbek language, and their massive transfer to the Kyrgyz and Russian language of teaching at the south of the country and few lessons of mother tongues of minorities in the school curriculum (1 hour per week).
The Special Rapporteur has expressed deep concern regarding the situation of the Mugats and has highlighted, in particular, the lack of access to education of Mugat children and bad study conditions. ADC Memorial has described this problem in its joint report with Bir Duyno to the UN CERD (2018), and in the joint report with “Kyrgyz Indigo” to the UPR (2019).
The expert emphasized that the government of Kyrgyzstan has not fulfilled the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee to release human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov, a representative of the Uzbek minority who has been unfairly sentenced to life imprisonment and who died in the prison in May 2020.
The Special Rapporteur has also reported that civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and journalists, including those who protect the rights of minorities, often face persecution and are forced to work in a hostile environment.
The report of Fernand de Varennes will be presented at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will take place from February 22 to March 19, 2021