Following the results of the joint meeting of the HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan", which took place on 21-24 August 2020.Авг 25.2020
From 21 to 23 August 2020, a joint meeting of Board members, employees and experts of the HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" was held to discuss the situation with human rights in the Kyrgyz Republic during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the results of the organization's work and the development of a strategy for action in the main areas of activity.
Situation in the Kyrgyz Republic: barriers and difficulties for CSOs
When discussing the situation in the Kyrgyz Republic, the participants of the meeting touched upon the problems of the crisis in the social, political and economic spheres during the coronavirus pandemic, when a drastic decline in the standard of living of the KR population affected the implementation of human rights in the country.
Not a single government structure in the country has shown its will and taken the necessary actions to minimize the risks that the population has been exposed to. The actions taken were absolutely insufficient and ineffective, and the authorities distanced themselves from solving many problems.
Great indignation was caused by the inaction of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic. During the most difficult period for the entire country, before the KR Jogorky Kenesh left for a summer holiday, the people's deputies focused on promoting anti-constitutional laws – on NGOs, trade unions, "On information manipulation", which remain a threat to the entire civil society of the KR.
The requirements for transparency in the use of donor and other contributions for the fight against coronavirus were ignored. The officials limited themselves to providing separate data on the use of the funds, without providing access to information to journalists and the public.
The participants of the meeting noted that the population was forced to self-mobilize and survive, when the government of the Kyrgyz Republic had no action strategy during the crisis. Food security issues were not considered and resolved, which hit the population hard, especially those people who were surviving on a daily wage.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the human rights situation in closed institutions deteriorated significantly due to restrictions imposed. In accordance with the Regulations of the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the decisions of the Republican commandant's office, the movement of citizens, including lawyers, was prohibited, and the order of the State Penitentiary Service prohibited visits to and monitoring of closed institutions. Similar prohibitions were imposed on the national human rights institutions: NCPT, the Ombudsman institution. During the pandemic, the issue of access to medical care turned out to be the most problematic due to the lack of preparedness of the SPS, which focused on self-isolation, to fight the coronavirus.
Despite numerous appeals of the HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" regarding the need to comply with the principles of N. Mandela in the treatment of prisoners with special needs and the possibility of using alternative methods of punishment, the media reported on the virus being spread and deaths in prisons. The death of the human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov demonstrated the cruelty and inhumanity of the punishment system in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Amid this situation, restrictions on the right of citizens to freedom of speech increased, when the secret services exerted pressure and made doctors, bloggers, journalists and ordinary citizens publicly apologize for expressing criticism in social networks.
The problem of domestic violence has worsened, with children and especially women being the most frequent victims. At the working meeting, the problems faced by women in communities were voiced, and the lack of readiness of local authorities and communities to respond and provide psychological, social and legal assistance to families where there are victims of domestic violence was noted.
The meeting participants noted the increased level of unemployment in Kyrgyzstan, a significant level of return of labor migrants, an increase in the number of detected violations of labor rights, and the lack of access to information on the situation in the labor sector. There is a concern regarding the government being prepared for the fall and winter conditions, as the issue of ensuring food security for citizens is acute, especially in regions and localities where people live in risk zones, such as Mailuu Suu, Kaji Sai, Min Kush, Barskoon, etc.
- Public authorities should systematically hold broad platforms of meetings and dialogues with volunteer movements, experts and NGO leaders to obtain reliable information on the situation and develop strategies for preventing risks and disasters, including the second wave of coronavirus during the fall and winter period.
- Create a stabilization fund and an action strategy for the state bodies and responsible structures to provide protection and social support to vulnerable groups of the population.
- Develop mechanisms to overcome social inequality, raise the level of medical care, review access to education and improve the quality of educational services provided. Moreover, it is important to indicate the need to create a special stabilization fund.
- Provide the necessary PPE, food, and medical care to orphanages and geriatric homes, out-patient psychiatric facilities, closed institutions.
- Provide all possible support to raise the level of medical care in the regions of the Republic, providing the necessary things to feldsher-midwife stations (FMSs) and local hospitals.
- Ensure the right to medicine in educational institutions.
- Integrate into educational programs the aspects of comprehensive development of the health system, access to education in online and offline formats, and improve the types and methods of co-support for citizens and vulnerable groups.
- Strengthen multilateral cooperation between the state bodies of the KR, representatives of public organizations and local communities to reduce acts of domestic violence, taking into account the importance of involving women in the decision-making processes due to an increase in social inequality, the number of domestic violence and bride kidnapping for entry into forced marriage.
-Take into account the list of prisoners with special needs, that has been sent by Bir Duino, to consider the possibility of their release or the use of alternative methods of punishment.
- Establish working groups for independent monitoring of external support in the form of loans and grants provided by international donors to the government of the Kyrgyz Republic to combat the pandemic. Create mechanisms of transparency and accountability for government agencies to work with local communities, especially on the distribution of loans and grants received.
- Develop strategies for effective and timely response to crises, creating favorable fiscal conditions for beginner entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized businesses,
- Implement radical methods of fighting corruption at all levels of government in the event of a possible recurrence of the pandemic, and publish an Anti-crisis Action Plan for the public in advance.
- Stop the humiliation of the human dignity of citizens and prevent violations of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, punish the employees of the secret service and KR MIA who illegally summoned citizens for interrogation even during the pandemic in order to force them to publicly apologize for critical thinking and to refute their assessment of corruption behaviour of officials at various levels.
- Provide a favorable environment and public safety for equal participation of citizens during the preparation and holding of parliamentary elections on 4 October 2020.
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Summary of the results of the joint Working meeting before the parliamentary elections in the Kyrgyz Republic:
On the political situation with human rights, the participants noted the need to update the issue of implementing the decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee, and raised the issue of the complexity of holding parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan in the context of a possible second wave of coronavirus. The aspects of the situation with freedom of opinion, namely the receipt, storage and dissemination of information, privacy, access to information, were considered. Special attention was paid to the initiatives aimed at identifying the actions to restrict human rights and freedoms in law-making, namely, introduction of draft laws aimed at restricting and discriminating against public organizations. The small group noted the continuation of cases of inhumane treatment in closed institutions, inaction and abandonment of prisoners in danger by state agencies in the context of the pandemic, and raised the strategic question of the need for a detailed study of the death of human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov.
Within the economic block of the meeting problematic aspects of the situation in the country were identified: inflation, decline in economic activities, the growth of the price level, the increase in external debt, the need to improve state regulation of prices of medicines, essential commodities. Special attention was paid to the importance of creating working groups and conducting independent monitoring of external assistance in the form of loans and grants received by the government of the Kyrgyz Republic from international donors to combat the coronavirus pandemic, so that every citizen of the country can receive detailed and reliable information about the use of grant funds provided to our state. Within the framework of the section on the economic situation in the country, it was also noted that there is an increased level of unemployment in Kyrgyzstan, a significant level of return of labor migrants, an increased number of detected violations of labor rights, and the lack of access to information on the situation in the labor sector. Important recommendations were voiced: the need to conduct monitoring and evaluation, develop a strategy for an effective and timely response to crises, create favorable fiscal conditions for start-up small and medium-sized business, introduce cardinal methods of fighting corruption at all levels of government, create a strategy for organizing the service sector (catering sector, trade markets and platforms) in the event of a possible recurrence of the coronavirus pandemic. Create mechanisms of transparency and accountability for government agencies to work with local communities, especially on the issues of distribution of loans and grants received.
Within the framework of the section "Social Situation from a Human Rights Perspective", participants noted the failure of certain state bodies of the country to provide and respect the rights of citizens to medical care, social support and education. In this field, the participants paid attention to the lack of significant positive changes in the social sector and developed a number of recommendations: integrate into educational programs aspects of comprehensive development of the health system, access to online and offline formats of education, improve the types and methods of social support provided to citizens and vulnerable groups.
Special attention should be paid to development of the mechanisms to overcome social inequality, raise the level of medical care, review access to education and improve the quality of educational services provided. Moreover, it is important to point out the need to create a special stabilization fund due to the increased social inequality, the number of cases of family violence and the theft of brides for forced marriage.
Hereafter, the participants developed a plan for expansion of the existing human rights network of "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" in Osh city by proposing to expand the level of interaction involving the KR Bar, the Coalition against Torture, the organization "Article 9" (public foundation "Voice of Freedom"), Working Group on Human Rights (WGHR), which includes more than 20 NGOs of Osh and Jalal-Abad. Within the framework of this section, participants were also asked to involve more victims of torture, their families, independent experts, the NCPT, the Ombudsman's Office, the media, journalists, volunteers and trainees in the work being carried out.
The following areas for increasing the participation of partner organizations in NGO networks were identified: the Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR), which provides a wide range of opportunities to effectively promote human rights activities in the field of identifying social, economic and environmental risks for local communities living in potential risk zones.
These factors, if you do not take them into consideration, may become serious threats in the near future, especially in the localities of Maily Suu, Min Kush, Kaji Sai, where there are significant amounts of waste from the uranium mining industry. The risk factors can significantly affect the environmental situation in the entire Central Asian region and lead to large-scale threats to the population of all countries in the region.
Special attention was paid to the issue of implementing and sending the Code of Conduct developed by the Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR) to the target state bodies of the Kyrgyz Republic for practical application in their professional activities. This document has been analyzed and is seen as important to be adopted by the state bodies of the Kyrgyz Republic in order to counteract all types of discrimination and intolerance amid increased number of these facts during the coronavirus pandemic in Kyrgyzstan.
In addition, by using the GNDR Code of Conduct, our government agencies will be able to obtain best practices on standards of conduct, increase transparency and accountability of their work to the citizens of the country, and reduce systemic risks of discrimination. The integration of the GNDR Code of Conduct into government agencies in the near future will make it possible to increase their individual and collective responsibility to the population of the country, improve the quality of public services provided, make them perform their functional responsibilities in relation to society, resolve disputes when performing their work, and reduce the number of cases of abuse of their power.
Team of the HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”,
Member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH),
Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR),
Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP),