On March 17, 2020, a Center for providing free legal aid (FLA) to the population was opened in Sokuluk village, Chui region. The event was attended by Deputy Director of the Center for Coordination of Guaranteed State Legal Aid (GSLA) under the Ministry of Justice of KR - Ryskulova Zh. D., Head of Krupskaya Ayil Okmotu - Edigeev J.K., and Ainura Alymbekova, UNDP Project Coordinator in KR. The event was also attended by members of the Court of Aksakals of Sokuluk village.
Makarenko L.P., on behalf of the Court of Aksakals shared:
"We are not a punitive body, but a peaceful one. And sometimes we may not know about the laws, and it is wonderful that such center has opened and will provide free assistance. This is very good".
Another representative of the Court expressed her joy and gratitude to the organizers and local Ayil Okmotu for giving the residents such an opportunity. According to her, legal assistance to the local population will be very helpful.
"Our people in great need of such assistance. They are mostly illiterate on legal issues. Most importantly, I would like to thank our head Ayil Okmotu and the organizers who care about the residents. It happens that sometimes people do not know how to draw up their properties," said T.K. Zhukova, a member of the Aksakal’s Court.
It is expected, that the lawyer Shamkanova A.T. will work in the new FLA center, who can address not only inhabitants of Sokuluk area but also all residents of Chui region. Aida Turatbekovna is also a deputy of the local Kenesh of Sokuluk Council. The working schedule of the Center is 9:00-17:00. Her contacts can be found on "Ukuktuk zhardam" website.
The Free Legal Aid Centers under the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic were established to provide legal advice to citizens on a free basis. Following the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Law "On State Guaranteed Legal Aid", citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, foreign citizens, stateless persons and refugees can use the services of the Centers for Free Legal Aid.
Currently, 26 legal aid centers are operating throughout the country, in the cities of Bishkek, Osh, Tokmok, Kant, Kara-Balta, Karakol, Cholpon-Ata and Balykchy, Kara-Suu, Nookat, Jalalabad, Kerben, Karakul, Batken, Isfana, Kadamjay, Talas, and Naryn as well as the villages of Belovodskoye, Kara-Kulzha, Gulcho, Aravan, Daroot-Korgon, Bazar-Korgon, and Kochkor. FLA center "Sokuluk" became 27th in the country.
Assistance at the centers is provided through the provision of advice on legal issues, as well as in the preparation of statements to the judicial authorities and appeals and complaints to state and municipal bodies. This assistance provided at the FLA does not include direct representation of citizens' interests in the courts in civil and criminal proceedings.
The opening of the Centers was made possible with the cooperation of the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic and the United Nations Development Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic within the project "Towards sustainable access to justice for legal empowerment in the Kyrgyz Republic" funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
About the project:
- Under the project, thousands of people learned about their rights, including through the services of the "Solidarity Bus", an initiative that increased access to the legal information in rural areas, and was presented in many international forums on justice issues as an example of innovative and effective action;
- Hundreds of Government officials and lawyers learned how the principles of the rule of law and due process can help them to be more responsive to the needs of the people they serve;
- The State-funded legal aid system was established through the adoption of the new State-guaranteed Legal Aid Act and the subsequent adoption of important by-laws and regulations in late 2016;
- 27 free legal aid centers have been established throughout the country, providing legal aid and information to thousands of poor clients in need of serious legal services.