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Human rights in Kyrgyzstan

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Human rights in Kyrgyzstan improved greatly after the ouster of President Askar Akayev in the 2005 Tulip Revolution and the installment of a more democratic government under Roza Otunbayeva.

The country now faces political uncertainty as it attempts to sustain a democratic system. Corruption and instability continue to be noted, however.

Formerly a republic of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan became independent in 1991. Remaining reasonably stable throughout most of the 1990s, the country's young democracy showed relative promise under the leadership of Akayev, but moved towards autocracy and authoritarianism by the early 2000s, achieving a 5.5 rating from Freedom House in 2000. In 2004, prior to the democratic revolution, Kyrgyzstan was rated by Freedom House as "Not Free," with a 6 in Political Rights and 5 in Civil Liberties (scale of 1-7; 1 is the highest). This indicated marked regression, from a 4.3 rating ten years earlier in 1994. Although the 1993 Constitution defines the Kyrgyz Republic as a democratic republic, President Askar Akayev continued to dominate the government. Serious irregularities reportedly marred 2003 a national constitutional referendum as well as presidential and parliamentary elections in 2000.


  • History 1
  • Andijan incident 2
  • Recent developments 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


On September 14, 2001 the Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior declared it had implemented "passport control regime" against "pro-Islamic" activists in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. Following the reelection of President Askar Akayev in 2003, the government reportedly "intensified" harassment of political opposition members, independent news media groups, religious groups and ethnic minorities, according to Human Rights Watch. [6] In advance of elections in February 2005, the Akayev government reportedly increased political restrictions on Kyrgyz citizens, in order, according to some outside observers, to prevent a "democratic revolution" like the recent one in Ukraine. [7] [8]

Child labor and discrimination against ethnic minorities were problems. Trafficking in persons was a persistent problem.

In 2004, however, the government's human rights record showed improvement in some areas. Prison conditions remained poor but continued to improve during the year. Numerous MVD officials were dismissed or prosecuted for abuses or misconduct. Harassment of opposition groups and independent media, including honor and dignity lawsuits against newspapers, declined considerably, and the Government allowed several independent media outlets to begin operations. Although the Government occasionally restricted freedoms of assembly and association, in October, the Constitutional Court struck down provisions of the law on public assembly that were widely considered vague and too restrictive, while the number of demonstrations disrupted by police declined considerably. A new Electoral Code signed into law in January was a significant improvement over the previous code and was welcomed by domestic NGOs and opposition parties, although it still fell short of international standards. Citizens' right to choose their government showed some improvement through local elections held in October, which were widely seen as more transparent. The Government took steps to combat trafficking in persons, with prosecutions and convictions of traffickers up significantly from 2003. There has also been a long history of drug-trafficking in the country. This country has the death penalty for drug trafficking.

Andijan incident

In June 2005, Kyrgyz officials said that 29 Uzbek refugees who had fled to Kyrgyzstan in the wake of the Andijan massacre would be returned to Uzbekistan.[9]

The United Nations and human rights groups criticized this decision, stating the refugees faced possible torture or execution upon their return. However, on June 27, the 439 Uzbek refugees were airlifted to safety out of the country by the UN.[10]

Recent developments

A move to restrict freedom of assembly - the Law on the Right of Citizens to Hold Peaceful Assemblies 2002, adopted on June 13, 2008 by the government but yet to be signed by the President, was criticized by Human Rights Watch. The law, if implemented, would go against two rulings by the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan, stating that the law is against the constitution.[1]

In a move that alarmed human rights groups, dozens of prominent Uzbek religious and community leaders were arrested by security forces following the

  • Unknown, Unknown (2010-02-06). "Wave of brutal attacks shocks Kyrgyz journalists".  
  • (Russian)Human rights in Kyrgyzstan - Jan. 30, 2010 (Human Rights in Central Asia)
  • Reports on Kyrgyzstan - U.S. State Department
  • Censorship in Kyrgyzstan - IFEX
  • Central Asia Health Review
  • IPHR. The website of International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) contains a number of publications on current human rights issues in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Addressing Ethnic Tension in Kyrgyzstan: Hearing before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, First Session, June 22, 2011

External links

  1. ^ Letter to the President of Kyrgyzstan on Restrictions of Peaceful Assembly
  2. ^ Andrew E. Kramer (1 July 2010). "Uzbeks Accused of Inciting Violence in Kyrgyzstan".  
  3. ^ "Kyrgyzstan: Appeal to the international community - call for a new, fair review of the case of human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov sentenced to life in Kyrgyzstan".  
  4. ^ "Human rights groups condemn Kyrgyzstan activist jailing".  


See also

On May 18, 2011, the Kadamjay Regional Court sentenced two young men, Iskandar Kambarov (18 years old) and Jonibek Nosirov (22 years old) to seven years in prison on the charge of possessing two DVDs of an extremist Islamic organization. The two men are not Islamic but Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have been held in police custody since their arrest on January 29, 2011.

[5] and is currently campaigning for his immediate release and an investigation into his allegations of torture by law enforcement.prisoner of conscience considers Askarov a Amnesty International [4]

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