Health workers in Kyrgyzstan have paid an astoundingly high personal price during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen them forced to work long hours, often without promised additional pay and sometimes with reduced pay, and subjected to a “prison-like” quarantine regime, Amnesty International said in a new report today. According to official data from the Ministry of Health, during the peak of the epidemic from mid-March to 22 July, 29 health workers died. However, unofficial sources put the figure at 40.
The death of the award-winning journalist and human rights defender Azimjon Askarov on 25 July in a Kyrgyz jail was the culmination of a series of injustices and repeated flouting of accountability by the Kyrgyz government. His death – officially by pneumonia but probably of Covid-19 – is no reason to give up the fight for justice. On the contrary, it has become even more crucial that the EU, UN, and other multilateral institutions, governments and donors demand that the Kyrgyz government unconditionally complies with the nation's commitments to human rights and the rule of law.
Today on September 14, 2020 near the Embassy of Belarus in Bishkek a peaceful action of support and solidarity with citizens of Belarus took place, demanding observance of principles of fair, free, democratic elections, freedom of peaceful meetings and assemblies, release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
The makers of a new Kyrgyz movie say they were denied a distribution license after a film commission objected to scenes showing corrupt government officials. Motherland, by director Mederbek Jalilov, tells the story of a conflict between Kyrgyz villagers and a Chinese investor.
BWI called for the immediate release of Kyrgzstan trade union leader Kanatbek Osmonov, who was charged with criminal cases and placed under house arrest by the government. Osmonov is the Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan (FTUKg) and President of the Kyrgyzstan Forestry Workers Union.
While the ex-chair of Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan refuses to resign, the current leaders of FTUK are being prosecuted and a draft law depriving unions of independence is promoted in the parliament.
Mr President, trade unions, under virtue of ILO Convention 87, ratified by your country in 1992, organise their activities and make their own decisions in line with their internal rules and procedures, free from any interference from state bodies or any other parties. Regretfully, that is not guaranteed in Kyrgyzstan today.
We urge you, as the guarantor of the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Kyrgyzstan, including the right to freedom of association, to act to ensure that the interference in internal trade union affairs by law enforcement agencies and the prosecution and harassment of individual trade union members and leaders will end, as a matter of urgency. We shall inform the ILO and the EU about these violations of trade union rights in the country and will be ready to support a formal complaint of the FPKg and its unions to the ILO as well as engage other available international mechanisms to ensure that freedom of association is respected in the country, in law and in practice.
On 1 June 2020, at 10 a.m., a preliminary hearing will be held in the administrative court of Bishkek (64 Ibraimova St., tel: 0312 681390, 622731) to consider the administrative claim of Azimzhan Askarov against the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. On 11 May 2020, the trial did not take place due to the reorganization of the Inter-district courts in accordance with the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic dated 11 April 2020 “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic”.
Parliamentary hearings were scheduled to be conducted on 22 May 2020, at 10 a.m. Only 60 NGOs were selectively invited to the hearings. Most of them were CSOs (GONGOs (government-organized non-governmental organizations)), cooperating with politicians and sharing the opinion that only those NGOs should be controlled by the state, which supposedly destroy traditional values and threaten the development of the country. Active NGO sector leaders, human rights experts, experts on the freedom of association, as well as leaders of regional NGOs that work extensively with local communities were not on the list of those invited to the parliamentary hearings (or were deleted from it).
The Human Rights Movement: Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan and partners of the solidarity network call on the deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh to withdraw the draft law of the Kyrgyz Republic «On Introducing Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic (the Laws of the Kyrgyz Republic on non-commercial organizations and on state registration of legal entities, branches (representative offices))» initiated by the Jogorku Kenesh Committee on Social Issues, Education, Science, Culture and Health.