Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan should protect its LGBT citizens from violence and discrimination, not limit their rights through a law that infringes on freedom of expression, association, and assembly rights, says Human Rights Watch.
On March 26, Kyrgyzstan’s national parliament published a draft bill that imposes criminal sanctions for spreading information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
The bill aimed to introduce a range of criminal and administrative sanctions on those who speak or act in a way that it says creates “a positive attitude toward nontraditional sexual orientation using the media or information and telecommunications networks.”
Provisions in the bill would violate Kyrgyzstan’s constitution as well as international human rights law on nondiscrimination, Human Rights Watch said.
“This draconian bill is blatantly discriminatory against LGBT people and would deny citizens across Kyrgyzstan their fundamental rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“The government of Kyrgyzstan should protect its LGBT citizens from violence and discrimination, not limit their right to speak about their lives and the violations they experience,” Williamson said in a report that appeared in eng.24.kg. “Attempting to exclude LGBT people as ‘nontraditional’ is cynical and dangerous, and tries to make them less than human.”
The sponsors of this bill should withdraw it immediately and the government and political parties should speak out against such legislation, making clear it has no place in Kyrgyzstan, he said.
In their explanatory note to the draft bill, the sponsors defined “non-traditional sexual relations” as “sodomy, lesbianism and other forms of non-traditional sexual behavior.”
They said it was needed to be introduced “to safeguard and protect the traditional family, human, moral, and historical values of Kyrgyz society.”
The bill would amend the Criminal Code, the Code of Administrative Responsibility, the Law on Peaceful Assembly, and the Law on Mass Media as people found guilty of violating it would face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to 5,000 som (US $91).
Kyrgyzstan is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to guarantee citizens the right not to be discriminated against, and to freedom of assembly, association, and expression.
The environment for LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan is hostile, and LGBT people are frequently targeted for police extortion, harassment, and physical abuse, said a recently released Human Rights Watch document.