The United Nations in the Kyrgyz Republic takes note of current debates on gender equality in the country, coinciding with the worldwide 16-days campaign calling for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence against women. Under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General and supported by all UN Member States, the campaign raises awareness about gender equality and gender-based violence as a core human rights issue.
Against this backdrop, the United Nations expresses concern about alarming incidents of intolerance, hate speech and calls to violence, in the wake of the Bishkek-based art exhibition ‘Feminnale’. The art event sparked polarizing discussions, which regrettably descended into numerous instances of deplorable verbal abuse and death threats against artists, women activists and rights defenders.
“Public debate on all societal issues goes hand in hand with growth and development of all modern states. States carry an overriding obligation to ensure that such debate is free from incitement to hatred and violence against women and all groups in society”, said Ozonnia Ojielo, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kyrgyzstan.
Recognizing positive developments in legislation concerning the promotion of gender equality in the past few years, the United Nations encourages the Kyrgyz Republic to fulfil its existing obligation under international human rights law and its national laws to prevent and prohibit incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. In line with this commitment, the Kyrgyz Republic is to actively foster an environment in which women and vulnerable groups can safely voice their concerns, freely participate in the public sphere and make use of their right to expression.
The United Nations stands ready to support the government’s continued efforts to protect and promote equal participation for all members in society, ensuring that no one is left behind.