New risks and challenges. Speech of T.A. Ismailova at the 65th session of the CSW.

Мар 24.2021

Tolekan Ismailova, Director of Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan[i]

"The world requires positive change through a new gender dimension, ensuring equal participation of women and young people at all levels of decision-making."

The pandemic has revealed unresolved systemic problems around the world, especially in transit countries like Kyrgyzstan, which is located next to China and Central Asian countries. More than ever, women, young people and vulnerable groups of citizens experienced new challenges, risks and threats, both in their family environment and at the global level. The key threat is the growth of religious fundamentalism and the deterioration of the situation with the rights of women, young people and vulnerable groups. Using religion or culture as an excuse, conservative groups promote reactionary laws and traditional practices that undermine the position of women and help criminals avoid punishment. Ethnic and religious minorities, as well as the LGBTI community, are the main target of conservative groups.

As conservatives and nationalists deepen their influence, states become increasingly authoritarian, and militarism grows in its scope and depth, threatening and attacking those who oppose discriminatory practices, deliberately reducing the opportunities for people to make statements of dissenting opinion.

New territories are being added to the world's unrecognized territories, where people often die in incommunicado situations and new wars break out. New political camps emerge, as in the Xinjiang Uyghur region of China.[ii]

At the core of fundamentalist belief systems is the rejection of the principles of equality and universality of human rights, which are essential for the realization of women's cultural rights, and therefore the unwavering protection of these principles becomes the criterion for evaluating gender-based human rights responses.

Fundamentalist violations of cultural rights have a number of common features that have a particularly serious impact on women's cultural rights. Such violations are often associated with attempts to artificially change culture compasses in order to force culture into a monolithic world view based on such concepts as "purity" and hostility towards "strangers", which is accompanied by forced propaganda of the ideals of "honor" and "chastity", statements of cultural and moral superiority, the imposition of "true religion" or "genuine culture", "modest" clothing and norms of behavior, often alien to the indigenous culture of the local population, attempts to declare efforts to combat stereotypes of "gender ideology", suppression of artistic expression and restriction of freedom of scientific activity. They also aim to restrict the sexual and reproductive rights of all people.

Religious fundamentalism seeks to gain power and resources, using religion or culture as an excuse. It demands to narrow the space for civil society or introduce excessive measures, such as state control over NGOs, trade unions and free mass media, (from CA region to Poland).

This is a real threat to security, peace and sustainable development, as the threat of destroying the architecture of the UN Declaration on Human Rights is growing, encroaching on the right of citizens to Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Association. This is the basis for the failure of many countries to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Now is a unique time to increase the responsibility of the UN member states, achieve the implementation of the UN, EU, and OSCE Guidelines for the protection of human rights defenders, paying key attention to the support and protection of women human rights defenders on the ground.

Why do human rights defenders die in prisons, the other day we lost a female human rights defender from Iran, and in Belarus 38 female human rights defenders and female journalists are in prison.

It is important to join efforts and promote the implementation of the initiative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ms. Ann Linda, on localization with innovative methods and the successful implementation of the principles of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, ensuring gender equality through free mass media, with a focus primarily on risk and disaster prevention to ensure peacemaking, peace-building and sustainable development in the world.[iii]

The world requires positive change through a new gender dimension, ensuring equal participation of women and young people at all levels of decision-making.

I would like to focus on Business and Human Rights: Why do the consequences of the mining activity destroy nature, mountains, and lakes, primarily affecting the rights of women, young people, and vulnerable groups? Why do people leave their homes, adding to the number of refugees and increasing the growth of irregular migration?

The lack of respect for human rights and freedoms by business exacerbates the gaps and causes an increase in citizens' distrust of the principles of good governance, as people see an increase in transnational corruption, impunity of officials, and their disregard for the values of democracy, human rights and freedoms in most UN member states.

The increased impact of commercial enterprises has provoked a debate about the role and responsibilities of these actors in relation to human rights and has led to the inclusion of the issue of business and human rights in the UN agenda. The Special Representative developed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were unanimously approved by the Human Rights Council in June 2011.

These Guiding Principles set out, for the first time, a universal standard aimed at preventing and eliminating the threat of negative human rights impacts caused by corporate activities, and continue to be an internationally recognized framework for promoting business and human rights standards and practices. For marginalized groups within minority and indigenous communities, such as persons with disabilities, further significant issues arise — for instance, whether websites are accessible and compatible with assistive technologies.

It is important to apply them locally, at the level of communities with the participation of women's organizations and human rights organizations.[iv]

The Universal Periodic Review should become a key tool for the UN member states to implement their international obligations.

The UPR isa new mechanism of the Human Rights Council, which regularly reviews the implementation of human rights obligations and commitments by 193 UN Member States four times a year. The UPR is an important innovation of the Human Rights Council, which seeks to ensure an equal environment for all countries in assessing their human rights situation.

Through the UPR, examples of best practices in the field of human rights are shared around the world. Currently, there are no other similar universal mechanisms. The preparation of national reports on the implementation of recommendations by UN member states and their implementation is an opportunity for a comprehensive approach to positively influence the implementation of the international obligations undertaken by the countries.

The main tragedy in the world is the systemic impunity of officials, violators of human rights and freedoms, especially the rights of women, girls and vulnerable groups. This affects the growth of inequality and injustice in the world.

People know and understand the risks and calamities of environmental, social, economic, and political disasters. This time, which is difficult for all, pushes us to solve systemic problems, build a future through prevention of risks and disasters, with equal participation of citizens, ensuring the strategy of "Leaving No One Behind", respecting human dignity and the universality of human rights and freedoms.

The gender dimension should be the basis for the UN, OSCE and other international organizations to promote sustainable development and reduce the existing gaps and inequalities from local to global ones!


Vice-President of the FIDH, GNDR BD Member, CSP





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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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