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Press briefing notes Office 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.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva

Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] or

Jeremy Laurence + +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected] or

Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

In Nairobi

Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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