From August 26 to September 5, 2020, UNDP, together with the Central Commission for Elections and Referendums of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Kyrgyz Association of Women Judges, is conducting a series of trainings for law enforcement officials on prevention of incitement to hate speech during the elections. The main goal of the training is to increase the level of knowledge of law enforcement officials in Kyrgyzstan to accurately and effectively identify cases of hate speech in order to ensure fair, transparent, peaceful and democratic parliamentary elections on October 4, 2020.
Trainings are conducted online for 350 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor's Office and the State Committee for National Security (SCNS), as well as judges. As a result of the training, participants are expected to learn skills to identify cases of hate speech, determine the restrictions established by criminal law in relation to the given facts, by understanding the difference between discriminatory language and legitimate political expressions and statements.
According to Yulia Shipilova, Senior Technical Adviser for the UNDP Election Program:
“The proliferation of aggressive language significantly complicates the electoral process, reduces confidence in the electoral process and contributes to the polarization of society and increases the risk of complaints leading to violence and instability. The political parties involved in the electoral process compete and often use strong statements that is not always hate speech. Therefore, it is extremely important that law enforcement agencies do not become a part of the political struggle and are able to clearly distinguish hate speech from other statements".
The trainings were organized in response to an official request from the Central Commission for elections and referendums in the Kyrgyz Republic for electoral assistance, as part of the UNDP Elections Support Programme in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz Republic Election Support Project in 2020-2021 is implemented by UNDP in Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with the CEC of the Kyrgyz Republic with financial support from Switzerland. The international organization for migration (IOM) is also responsible for the implementation of the program, which implements a component of the program to ensure the electoral rights of migrants, mainly located in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan.