Bill discriminating LGBT persons in the Kyrgyz Republic should be withdrawn
On 15 October 2014, a bill which proposes criminal and administrative liability for «formation of a positive attitude to non-traditional forms of sexual relations» passed its first reading in the Kyrgyz Parliament. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned about the consequences that this bill may have for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans persons (LGBT) in the Kyrgyz Republic, if adopted.
– The fact that this bill has passed its first reading in the parliament, confirms our concerns that the situation in Kyrgyzstan has taken a wrong turn, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. – Kyrgyzstan has been considered as the democratic island in Central Asia, but this law, as well as other proposed laws, is a clear sign that the Kyrgyz Parliament does not take sufficient notice of the country’s international human rights obligations.
Like in other countries where such propaganda legislation has been adopted or proposed, its advocates claim to be protecting the moral of minors and traditional family values. Much of the law is identical to the more widely known Russian law on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations towards minors”, but the bill in Kyrgyzstan also allows for one years imprisonment in addition to administrative measures such as fines. This bill will not only sanction dissemination of information about LGBT issues, but also activists and organizations that work on protection of LGBT rights.
In the report “They Say I deserved it, Police Violence Against Gay and Bisexual Men in Kyrgyzstan” published earlier this year, Human Rights Watch conclude that gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan are subject to a range of abuses by police, including physical, sexual, and psychological violence, as well as extortion and arbitrary detention. – The difficult situation for LGBT persons in the Kyrgyz Republic is well documented, and introducing legislation that specifically portrays LGBT persons as a danger to children may easily justify hate crimes as well as marginalization of these groups in society, warns Engesland.
The bill still needs to pass a second and third reading and be signed by the president before it would become law. NHC strongly encourage the members of the Kyrgyz parliament to vote against the bill, and make sure that LGBT persons obtain necessary protection against discrimination.
–If not, President Almazbek Atambayev should veto the bill, Engesland concluded. – This is an important opportunity to show commitment to the democratic principles on which the law makers were elected, by implementing the fundamental human rights the Kyrgyz Republic is obliged to protect.