Repressive anti-LGBT propaganda draft should be rejected
On 17 June 2014, the Human Rights Committee of the Kyrgyz Parliament Zhogorku Kenesh approved a draft law that, if passed, will make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT) people and activists more difficult.
On 17 June 2014, the Human Rights Committee of the Kyrgyz Parliament Zhogorku Kenesh approved a draft law that, if passed, will make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT) people and activists more difficult in Kyrgyzstan. The Parliament will vote on the draft in July, and there is a strong likelihood that it will pass. – The draft law, which bans so-called propaganda for homosexuality, gives ground for serious concerns that developments in Kyrgyzstan is going in the wrong direction, says Lene Wetteland, Advisor on Central Asia in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Kyrgyzstan is known to be the democratic island in Central Asia, but the draft law against LGBT-propaganda and another draft law, obliging organizations to register as foreign agents if they receive funding from abroad, are clear signs that the Kyrgyz Parliament does not take sufficient notice of the country’s human rights obligations.
The chances that the foreign agents law will be adopted by Parliament is, fortunately, limited. However, the anti-propaganda law seems to have widespread support among members of Parliament. – Kyrgyz law makers should reject both bills. If not, President Almazbek Atambayev should veto the laws, said Wetteland.
Activists in Kyrgyzstan are concerned due to limited international attention to their fight against abusive legislation. – When an identical law was discussed and later passed in Russia, the whole world exploded with indignation, writes Syinat Sultanalieva, an LGBT activist in Bishkek, in a dispatch to the Global Post. She appeals for similar engagement related to developments in Kyrgyzstan.
– The law still has to pass two more parliamentary readings before being submitted to the president for a signature. There is hope that the President will veto the bill, but chances are slim, says Sultanalieva. – The countrywide discourse is that any "normal" Kyrgyz citizen should support the legislation, and politicians are afraid of being labeled "gay" if they oppose the draft, she explains.
As EuroPride is organized in Norway and hundreds of LGBT activists celebrate achievements worldwide in the Oslo 27 June parade, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee appeals for more support to fellow activists in Central Asia. – What now happens in Kyrgyzstan is indicative of trends in several post-Soviet countries, Wetteland concludes. So-called traditional values are used to limit freedoms and undermine the rights of vulnerable groups, and they need our support.
Read more on the propaganda bill here