Greetings from the Special Representative of the European Union for Central Asia, Ambassador Terhi Hakal

Дек 05.2021

Ladies and gentlemen,

it is a pleasure for me to address you – guests and participants - of the 15th Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Bishkek.

This festival offers a unique opportunity to discuss different aspects of human rights and do so through the lens of art and artistic expression.

To quote a well-known German-American philosopher, Herbert Marcuse (/mɑːrˈkuːzə/):

  • “Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who could change the world.”

In this spirit, the festival shows documentary films from different parts of the world.

Through the eyes of filmmakers and their heroes, we see that despite their differences, people can unite based on the values of humanity.

And at the same time, the festival offers an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of vulnerable groups – migrants, boys and girls, women, ethnic minorities.

But good art often leaves you with a question, not an answer.

So it is important that the festival also provides a possibility to be involved in discussions about justice, good governance, the rights and obligations of citizens, about civic culture.

Unfortunately, we cannot ignore that this festival takes place in difficult times.

Many challenges have arisen or become worse over the past pandemic year.

We are all too well aware of the impacts the COVID 19 has had on human rights, exacerbating many inequalities that already existed all over the world.

Formal and informal measures implemented in response to the pandemic have undermined fundamental rights and values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognised by all countries.

That is why it is important for the EU to work with all partners - governmental and non-governmental - to promote the universal values we share.

The EU Human Rights Action Plan 2020-2024 is an illustration of the EU’s strong commitment.

Gender equality and empowering youth will remain high on the EU agenda.

We also need to adjust to our changing world. For us that means

  • increased action on economic, social and cultural rights,
  • greater focus on business and human rights,
  • more emphasis on the links between human rights and the environment,
  • maximising the benefits of digital technologies and minimising their risks, as well as
  • further action on the protection and empowerment of human rights defenders.

We see a concrete co-relation between rule of law and respect for human rights on the one hand and resilience and prosperity of societies on the other.

This includes the ability to deal with internal and external shocks, disruptions caused by crises such as COVID-19 pandemic.


Looking at the challenges mentioned, some say that the human rights message is fading. But I would say that especially in difficult time, reaffirming the central value and importance of human rights is fundamental.

And one way to let this message resonate is to experience it through art.

To end I would like to quote in Russian the words of one of the greatest Kyrgyz writers Chingiz Aitmatov. «Цель искусства, не в том, чтобы «пугать» человека, но помогать человеку побеждать отчаяние и страх перед жизнью, пробуждать в его душе великие чувства, испытывая которые он сможет противостоять «злу», какие бы формы и обличья оно ни принимало».

I hope this festival will help you create a vision of hope to address key human rights challenges as we come out of the COVID pandemic.





Dear friends!

Dear guests of our site!
Public Association “Human Rights Movement:
“Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan” is asking you to provide sponsorship and support in the form of a material donation!


Feedback from our focus groups



Experience should be attached to a law degree

Shakhboz Latipov, 24 y.o., young lawyer: “When I came to BDK for an internship, I had no experience in legal and human rights activities. Together with experienced senior colleagues, I began to attend trials, studied documents. Gradually my supervisor Khusanbai Saliev began to trust me the preparation of documents, carefully checked them and gave practical advice. Experience comes with time and cases you work on. Every day dozens of people who need help come to us, many of them are from socially vulnerable groups: the poor, large families, elderly citizens. A lawyer in a human rights organization sometimes acts as a psychologist, it is important for him to be able to maintain professionalism and show empathy. At the end of 2019, I successfully passed the exam to get the right to start working as attorney and now I work on cases as an attorney. I turn to my colleagues for help on complex issues, they always give me their advice. This is one of the strengths of the organization: there is support and understanding here.”



Organization unites regions

Feruza Amadalieva, social worker, leader, teacher: “TOT from BDK is a great opportunity to get acquainted with participants from different regions, we continue to communicate on social media and when we meet at events, as close friends, we have such warm relations! At the events, I improved my knowledge, systematized it, clarified how to apply it in practice. I really like the training modules and the way the system of training and practice is built: role-playing games, theory, discussions. Each person expresses himself/herself. I have become a leader for other vulnerable women, I try to help them and engage them in such events.” Feruza Amadalieva is a regular participant of many BDK events, she invites the BDK lawyers to provide legal advice to vulnerable women.



I became confident

In summer of 2019, Nuriza Talantbek kyzy took an active part in conducting regional screenings of documentaries, helped with organizational issues during the campaign dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, participated in trips, and did the TOT on women's leadership. She used to be a migrant, worked for an NGO in Osh, and now works in Bishkek in the service industry. She calls her participation in the TOT “an invaluable experience”: “I first attended such an event, and received exactly the information that I needed, for which I am sincerely grateful to the facilitators. I experienced very difficult issues in my life, and thanks to that knowledge, I was able to overcome them, I persevered! After the TOT, I became more confident, began to better understand the essence of human rights, and learned to defend my interests.”



The defendant has passed away. The work on his rehabilitation continues.

The case of Shukurullo Kochkarov shows that work on complex cases continues for many years. After the torture he was subjected to in 2010, he became disabled. We managed to get acquittal on one of the charges; the work is ongoing on achieving his rehabilitation and recognition as a victim of torture in order for compensation to be paid. Trials continue without Shukurullo Kochkarov - he died on 2 August 2019. His interests are represented by his father, Saidaziz Kochkarov, who also has a visual disability. “For many years, we have been supported by the employees of BDK, they have been handling the case of my son, they brought him to court because he couldn’t walk on his own, they constantly help our family: my wife and I underwent rehabilitation, they have helped my son by providing him with medicines, they provide all kinds of help”.



Comprehensive support for victims of torture

Resident of the Kara-Suu district, Dilyor Jumabaev, has extensive experience in dealing with law enforcement agencies. In 2010, he was accused of possessing firearms, and thanks to the work of lawyers, he was acquitted. Two years later, his house was first searched in order to find materials of an extremist nature, but nothing was found. In 2014, he was accused of possessing extremist materials. In court, the prosecutor requested 15 years in prison; the court sentenced him to 6 years. A few years later he was released on parole. “I am grateful to the lawyers of BDK for their expert legal assistance. I participated in a rehabilitation program for victims of torture. When I encounter violations, I recommend contacting this organization.”


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