Letter to Kyrgyzstan Parliament on Anti-LGBT Legislation

May 5, 2015
Asylbek Sharipovich Jeenbekov
Speaker of Jogorku Kenesh
205, Chui Prospekt
Bishkek 720003
Kyrgyzstan

Dear Speaker Asylbek Sharipovich:

We write to express our deep concern about the advancement in the Jogorku Kenesh of antilesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legislation that threatens human rights and Kyrgyzstan’s democratic values. If this bill becomes law, it would target marginalized communities, limit civil society, and erode freedom of expression.

The proposed legislation under consideration by the Kyrgyz Parliament would criminalize or sanction dissemination of information “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non traditional sexual relations,” including in print media, radio, television, public assemblies, and on the internet. In addition, the legislation would violate Kyrgyzstan’s own constitution, which in Article 31 states that “Everyone shall have the right to free expression of opinion, freedom of speech and press” and that “The propagation of national, ethnic, racial and religious hatred, gender as well as other social supremacy which calls to discrimination, hostility and violence shall be prohibited.”

The United States values its relationship with Kyrgyzstan and hopes to continue strengthening this relationship. Kyrgyzstan has already made great democratic, constitutional, and economic advancements. The proposed legislation, however, runs counter to the protection of fundamental human rights, which is the cornerstone of American democracy and our relations with foreign countries. We are not alone in this concern – European nations and partners, including the European Parliament, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have already called on Kyrgyzstan to withdraw the draft law.

We believe laws that discriminate and violate human rights threaten the fabric of our global community. We respectfully urge you to prevent further advancement of the “anti-LGBT propaganda” legislation, and to stand for equality, justice, and democracy for all citizens.

Signed,

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Michael M. Honda
Elizabeth H. Etsy
Alcee L. Hastings
Eliot L. Engel
William R. Keating
James P. McGovern
Alan Lowenthal
David N. Cicilline
Steve Israel
Raul M. Grijalva
Adam B. Schiff
Jerrold Nadler
Mark Takano
Jan Schakowsky
Mark Pocan
Ileana Ros Lehtinen
Christopher P. Gibson
Matt Cartwright
Sean Patrick Maloney
Jared Polis
Jim McDermott
Krysten Sinema
Stephen F. Lynch

Letter

Published on May 11, 2015

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