The United Nations in the Kyrgyz Republic urges the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic to respect its international human rights commitments and refrain from adopting discriminatory lawsFeb 25, 2015
Bishkek, 24 February 2015 – The United Nations in the Kyrgyz Republic calls on the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) to refrain from approving a bill that would introduce criminal and administrative sanctions for acts aimed at forming “a positive attitude towards non-traditional sexual relations”.
“The United Nations in the Kyrgyz Republic is very concerned that, if adopted, the law would stand in stark contrast to both domestic and international law, in particular the principle enshrined in Article 20 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic which lays down that “Laws that deny or derogate human and civil rights and freedoms shall not be adopted in the Kyrgyz Republic”. The Constitution sends out a clear signal – that any and all forms of discrimination are unacceptable in contemporary Kyrgyz society”, said the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Avanessov, on behalf of the UN Country Team, made up of heads of more than twenty UN agencies, funds and programs present in Kyrgyzstan.
The bill also contains vague wording that may cover an unlimited range of actions and foresees punishment regardless of the results of such actions. “The concept of “actions aimed at creating a positive attitude” is so broad that it can be applied in respect of any person, entity, or media outlet who or which decide to speak out against discrimination and violence, and for the promotion of gender equality”, noted the highest representative of the United Nations in the Kyrgyz Republic, who further observed: “International experience shows us that, rather than protecting minors, such laws have the opposite effect: they have been associated with increased stigma, discrimination and persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – including abuse and violence against children who belong to this group”.
The United Nations bodies, including those charged with protecting the rights of children, have repeatedly called for countries to repeal such laws and to take measures to protect the rights of children and LGBT people from violence and discrimination. This is of particular concern in light of reports about violence and harassment against LGBT persons by both State and non-State actors in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the consequent failure to address such violence. This was highlighted by the UN Human Rights Council during the Universal Periodic Review of Kyrgyzstan in January 2015.
The United Nations in the Kyrgyz Republic also considers that such legislation, if adopted, will have a negative impact on national public health policies, and especially on the State program on stabilization of HIV epidemic for 2012-2016 through which Kyrgyzstan has managed to contain HIV spreading in the country. “If adopted, this legislation would indeed jeopardize more than a decade of national achievements in HIV prevention and ultimately hamper the implementation of this important Millennium Development Goal to halt, and begin to reverse, the spread of HIV/AIDS”, said Mr. Avanessov on behalf of all UN Agencies. “In particular, the Bill is likely to inhibit discussion and access to information on HIV prevention and sexual health rights for specific groups of beneficiaries at risk, and make it very difficult for the Government to reach out to these beneficiaries and meet the health goals which it itself has committed to achieving”. He added that “the endorsement of the draft Bill may also have repercussions on the level of technical assistance that the country receives from international donors, in particular for the implementation of social and health policies in the HIV area – for which the Kyrgyz Republic is heavily dependent on foreign support”.
“Discrimination and intolerance challenge the cohesion of any society, and the dignity of all people everywhere. We strongly encourage the Kyrgyz Republic to stay on the path it has maintained in recent years, and uphold the principles laid down in the Constitution which are mirrored in the international treaties it has ratified. We also respectfully suggest that the Parliament consider postponing the second reading of the Bill until the international legal review currently being prepared by the Inter-Parliamentary Union at the request of the Parliament is complete and shared with members of the Parliament”, concluded Mr. Avanessov.
 One of the recommendations accepted by Kyrgyzstan during the UPR on 19 January 2015 is: Ensure that allegations of violence, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of LGBT persons, by government and non-government actors, are investigated promptly and efficiently and that perpetrators are brought to justice.