KYRGYZSTAN Jogorku Kenesh Kyrgyz parliament in Bishkek via flickr_550x300Kyrgyzstan: Human Rights Watch  has urged Kyrgyzstan’s lawmakers to decisively reject various anti-gay legislative proposals  introduced in parliament recently.

The laws pertain to a restrictive “foreign agents” law, a blatantly discriminatory bill to criminalize “homosexual propaganda,” and a proposed restriction on nonprofit organizations that are seen to particularly target the LGBT community in the Muslim majority country.

These were introduced in May and may be put to a vote in the current parliamentary session, before the end of June.

“These draft laws fly in the face of Kyrgyzstan’s human rights commitments – they would violate the fundamental rights to speech and association,” said Mihra Rittmann, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Adopting this harmful legislation would signify a clear backsliding on human rights in Kyrgyzstan and would seriously undermine the government’s efforts to improve its record.”

The draft “foreign agents” law appears directly aimed at restricting and curtailing the activities of nongovernmental organizations working with the LGBT community.

The “propaganda of homosexuality” bill is blatantly discriminatory against LGBT people and would deny citizens across Kyrgyzstan their fundamental rights to freedom of speech, Human Rights Watch said.

The bill would impose criminal and administrative sanctions on mass media, independent groups, and others that are found to “create a positive attitude toward nontraditional sexual relations, using the media or information and telecommunications networks,” about LGBT people.

The language of the bill is so vague that any information about LGBT people may be classified as “propaganda.”

On May 19 the Justice Ministry registered in parliament legislative amendments to the law on nonprofit organizations that would restrict the right to freedom of association.

Domestic and international human rights bodies have voiced serious concern and have called on the bills to be withdrawn.

Kyrgyzstan should not pass laws that directly or indirectly restrict civil society activities, and should not adopt a prohibition on “homosexual propaganda” they said.

“Kyrgyzstan’s parliament made a pledge to uphold Council of Europe standards when it became a partner for democracy to the council’s Parliamentary Assembly,” Rittmann said. “Now it should give meaning to that pledge by taking a stand against discrimination and resolutely rejecting these restrictive measures.”

In a separate document the Human Rights Watch has described the current environment for LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan as hostile, and documented how LGBT people are frequently targeted for police extortion, harassment, and physical abuse.