Press briefing notesOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Kyrgyzstan: Concerns over a proposed law on society organization
13 October 2023
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
We have serious concerns over a proposed law before Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament that will impact the work of numerous civil society organizations and would risk violating fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association.
The draft “Foreign Representatives” bill provides for criminal liability and jail sentences of up to 10 years for actively participating or supporting a non-commercial organization whose work is considered to “incite citizens to refuse to fulfill their civic duties or commit other unlawful acts.” This offence is ill-defined, broad and open to subjective interpretation. It may result in the selective prosecution of legitimate human rights advocacy.
The proposed law also grants the Ministry of Justice broad powers to conduct unannounced inspections of premises, check activities and to seize documentation. It also requires non-commercial organizations involved in what are termed “political activities” and which receive funding or other property from foreign sources to register as “foreign representatives”. Failure to do so can lead to suspension of their operations for up to six months, without a court order.
We call upon the Kyrgyz Parliament to reject the draft law.
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