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Kyrgyzstan: Experts urge ‘few more steps’ to ensure full protection from enforced disappearance

Kyrgyz versionRussian

GENEVA (28 June 2019) – “Kyrgyzstan is just a few steps away from ensuring a full protection from enforced disappearance and respect for the 1992 Declaration on the Protection of All Forms of Enforced Disappearances,” a delegation of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said today.

“We welcome that Kyrgyzstan has recently introduced a crime of enforced disappearance in the criminal legislation,” the experts said in a statement at the end of a five-day visit to the country.  “While some elements of the definition could still be improved, it is remarkable that under this new provision a single act of enforced disappearance amounts to a crime against humanity.”

The experts said, however, there are still issues that could be improved for the prevention of and protection from enforced disappearances.

“It transpired from a number of stakeholders met during the visit that both legislation and practice in Kyrgyzstan do not comply with the principle of non-refoulement as enshrined in the Declaration. It is of outmost importance that the authorities ensure that a person be never expelled, returned or extradited to another State where there are substantial grounds to believe that she/he would be in danger of enforced disappearance,” the Working Group said.

As safeguards during the first hours of deprivation of liberty are essential to prevent possible abuses, including enforced disappearances, the experts welcomed new legislation requiring registration and notification of family members as soon as an individual is deprived of liberty, while stressing the importance of working to ensure that these provisions are systematically implemented.

“This is particularly important given information we received that there continue to be frequent cases of delays in registration and notification, in some instances in order to extract confessions, which may amount to short-term disappearances. All deprivations of liberty should be registered effectively and promptly from the moment of the first apprehension,” they said.

“A swift ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which contains useful guidance for the States to build a more solid and robust legal and institutional framework, would help Kyrgyzstan to overcome these gaps.”

During the visit from 25 to 28 June, the delegation travelled to Bishkek and Osh. They met with Government officials, lawyers and representatives of civil society organisations.

The Group welcomed the Kyrgyz Republic’s openness to engage with the mandate and for organizing meetings with nearly all requested authorities. 

A final report on the visits will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2020.

ENDS

The Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances is comprised of five independent experts from all regions around the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Canada) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea); other members are Ms Houria Es-Slami (Morocco), Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina) and Mr. Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania).

The Working Group was established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It endeavours to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned, to ensure that individual cases are investigated, with the objective of clarifying the whereabouts of people who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law. In view of the Working Group’s humanitarian mandate, clarification occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person is clearly established. The Working Group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. It also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Kyrgyzstan

For more information and media requests:
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Ugo Cedrangolo (+41 22 917 9286 - ucedrangolo@ohchr.org)  
In Bishkek (during the visit): Kieran O Reilly (+996 770 111 674) –
koreilly@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Jeremy Laurence – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org