Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

Thank you for your invitation, the opportunity to listen to the opinions of the leading experts and sharing my vision in these consultations from the point of view of a civil society representative!

Vast gap: government and people:

In the year of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the crisis of democracy and open attack on human rights and freedoms is very clear. Today, authoritarian leaders, and populist politicians neglect the basic human rights. "Those who profit from hatred and exploitation encroach on the fruits of the Declaration and destroy the system of international law that has been established with its appearance," the UN Chief Human Rights Official said. We agree and share this alarm, since now there is a vast gap between government and people everywhere. The citizens ask question: Where is the public will?

The situation with human rights and freedoms in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: For participation to be possible, individuals need the space to be able to express themselves. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the region. Look at how in many countries the political space has been narrowed in recent years and the process of anti-democratic referendums, adoption of the punitive laws and their scaling in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, for example, the Law on Foreign agents has been enacted; only the civil society of the Kyrgyz Republic was able to vindicate the right to freedom of association, [1]but it did not become easier for us ...

External influence on the political space for CSOs in transit countries: KR is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union: The range of new laws and regulations introduced in countries of the region includes both strengthening supervision and censorship, and laws prohibiting "questioning the integrity of the state" - an actual ban on criticism– or the laws on "extremism", which gives the authorities a broad power to combat political and religious freedoms, impose certain views and limit dissidence.

During these last years, a complex set of laws has also been strengthened, aimed at creating additional obstacles for the activities of NGOs and human rights organizations, both in the field of dissemination of information and access to it, and receiving of international funding. This significantly impedes the independence of their actions, and raises the issue of survival of small organizations.[2]

The situation with the political space in Central Asian countries is also tragic: Out of 195 countries participated in the rating, 87 received a rating of "free", 59 - "partially free" and 49 - "not free".[3] In general, the situation in Central Asian region remains very challenging[4]. What should be done? First, let's look precisely at the culture of interaction between government and civil society in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. And all at once see the differences between the indexes of freedom of political space and index of freedom, and of course, the analysis will be carried out on how people live in different systems...[5]

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Citizens seeking their place in public life: challenges and problems: These consultations are strategically important in a rapidly changing world. This is the time when active citizens, using social network, have access not only to a variety of information, but can witness key events from anywhere in the world. They understand the changes in human rights and freedoms situation in countries, and at the same time watch and discuss the world challenges and trends even on-line. All of this helps citizens to realistically understand the barometer of human rights and freedoms situation, take measures on the ground for personal and public security, both in communities and at all levels of decision-making process.

For me, as a local activist from Kyrgyzstan, a flurry of civic self-awareness, innovative activity of citizens please me, and at the same time cause deep worry, whether authorities at all levels ready for the modern civic initiatives and equal civic participation in the decision-making process? How authorities at all levels will respond to the new civic initiatives? How politicians at all levels who make decisions will be able to build a dialogue and broad platforms for pluralistic consultations? I hope that the joint participating process of these consultations will help us to find inclusive and contemporary recipes for promoting universal, common to humanity values ​​of human rights and freedoms, to respond to the modern needs of the mobile civil society in general.

What are the major challenges for participation today? Who we are, citizens: citizens are the source of power and foundation of democracy? Why many documents, guidelines for authorities often do not work or are simply forgotten? Do elections of all levels reflect the needs of civil society; do they influence the strengthening of principles of good governance in post-election situation? What happens to the fulfillment of international obligations at the national level? Is there an equal access and civic participation to access to resources and politics without discrimination and violence? Allow me to discuss some of the basic requirements to create a civic space that is conducive to participation:

Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly: Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers". Since freedom of the press is recognized as a prerequisite for free and fair elections and as a political nature, this variable forms a part of our political freedom measurement. Citizens do not want to be supernumeraries of the narrowing the political environment where they work and live, do not want to just see the level of corruption measurement which affect development issues impacting their lives and future of their children. Instead, they want to be able to express themselves freely and access information about the laws and policies that affect them. Today, citizens are looking for their place in public life, it is important for the authorities at all levels to understand that citizens are partners and guarantors of public security and the basis of sustainable development.

Access to funding and transparency: It is not a secret that any organization would be weak and not effective unless it is accompanied by sufficient and transparent funding to solve socially significant problems on the ground. Consequently, the government "close to people" itself should not be a petitioner for finance. Citizens demand access not only to the formation and distribution of the national budget, but also to the Open electronic management of all government branches. [6]           The key principle of any new document should be an equal process of civic participation in politics and access to the resources without discrimination and violence to prevent political, social, environmental and economic crises in individual countries.

Equality and non-discrimination: Throughout the region of the former USSR in 2017, a pullback in terms of the rights of minorities and women had been observed. In Kyrgyzstan, there is no universal and integrated legislation on equality of non-discrimination; in 2014, the Human Rights Committee expressed the concern on "lack of universal and anti-discriminative legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on race, language, gender, disability and ethnic origin". Until now, these recommendations have not been implemented, and instead of raising the citizen participation and protecting their rights, constitutional changes through a referendum in December 2016 placed the primacy of international law in doubt.

The principle of non-discrimination is needed to ensure an equal civil participation in development of donor credits and grant agreements for the countries in transition, before granting them, as citizens today are victims of political corruption, and all of this affects the issues and the Sustainale Development Goals.

Recommendations for the Guidelines:

  1. States should consider adopting National Anti-Corruption Action Plans are required in accordance with the UN Declaration against Corruption.[7]
  2. To combat discrimination, States should adopt core human rights treaties, such as the Convention on Migrant Workers and Their Families[8]
  3. Combating extremism and terrorism should not violate human rights and freedoms[9]
  4. Ensure gender equality, and not adopt laws and the constitution, justifying violations of human rights, referring to the preservation of national traditions.
  5. Ensure the right to freedom of assembly and association and effective activity of independent trade unions[10]
  6. Demand implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders[11] [12]
  7. Adopt Law on Equality; fighting xenophobia and all forms of discrimination; guaranteeing and promoting the rights of ethnic minorities, where all ethnic groups enjoy equal rights, promoting reconciliation, participation in political and public life, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, and actively fighting nationalist rhetoric;[13]
  8. Bring national institutions such as the Ombudsman in accordance with international principles, giving them the status of independent and effective institutions for the protection of human rights[14][15]

 


[1]https://www.peaceinsight.org/blog/2016/08/kyrgyzstan-peacebuilders-and-anti-ngo-bill/

[2]https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/raprussie2307ru.pdf.

[3]http://fdlx.com/business-world/82922-rejting-svobody-stran-mira-2017-finlyandiya-lider-ukraina-na-107-meste.html

[4]https://kaktakto.com/analitika/strax-raspravy-i-repressii-s-pravami-cheloveka-v-centralnoj-azii-beda/

[5]http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/HDR2016_RU_Overview_Web.pdf

[6]https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017

[7]http://www.un.org/ru/documents/decl_conv/declarations/bribery.shtml

[8]http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CMW.aspx

[9]http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Terrorism/Pages/SRTerrorismIndex.aspx

[10]http://www.ilo.org/legacy/english/dialogue/ifpdial/llg/noframes/ch2.htm

[11]https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/01/550102-un-rights-chief-urges-probe-askarov-case-despite-kyrgyz-decision-uphold-life

[12]http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/Declaration.aspx

[13]http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=20747

[14]http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/StatusOfNationalInstitutions.aspx

[15]https://www.apt.ch/content/files_res/apt-briefing-on-nhris-as-npms-en.pdf