On Kyrgyz Independence Day, Human Rights First calls for Protection of the Human Rights of Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT Community
Washington, D.C. –On the 23rd anniversary to Kyrgyzstan’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, Human Rights First today urged the U.S. Government and the international community to work to protect the human rights of Kyrgyzstan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by preventing the passage of a proposed discriminatory anti-“propaganda” law. The bill, which emulates Russia’s infamous law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” was proposed in the Kyrgyz parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) in May of this year.
“Many hoped that Kyrgyzstan’s independence would bring a new era of respect for human rights for all people, but that has not always been the case for vulnerable minority groups including Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT community,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “The effects of propaganda laws like the bill proposed in Kyrgyzstan are broad and far reaching, reinforcing cultural homophobia and creating an institutionalized environment of discrimination and violence. The United States and the international community must make clear to Kyrgyz authorities that the passage of this bill would be a major step backward for the nation.”
The draft anti-“propaganda” bill was recently approved by the Kyrgyz Parliament’s Human Rights Committee and is scheduled to undergo the first of three parliamentary readings in late September. Alarmingly, the proposed legislation would be a broader incarnation of the Russian law, with harsher penalties including prison terms in addition to administrative fines. Additionally, the draft bill would ban any and all information regarding nontraditional sexual relationships, regardless of whether or not it has been presented to minors.
During the past two years, Russia’s homophobic laws and policies have spread throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government work to prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region.