Kyrgyzstan backtracking ‘on LGBT rights’

Kyrgyzstan backtracking ‘on LGBT rights’

The former Soviet states of Kyrgyzstan has been criticised by Human Rights Watch and ILGA Europe for backtracking on human rights.


Kyrgyzstan’s human rights record is today coming under scrutiny during the annual EU-Kyrgyzstan human rights dialogue, as well as by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which will decide whether to grant Kyrgyzstan ‘partnership for democracy’ status.


In recent months, officials in the country have stepped up homophobic rhetoric and moved to introduce legislation that would criminalise the dissemination of information about homosexuality or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues – so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’ – in line with Russia and Ukraine.


A court banned peaceful protests in several central locations in Kyrgyzstan’s capital until the beginning of May, and authorities failed to take any meaningful action when activists were harassed and threatened, prompting one to leave the country, fearing for his safety.


More recently, a group of provocateurs harassed representatives of the US-based rights organisation Freedom House in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan. Although the Freedom House team travelled to Osh to discuss a range of human rights issues, a crowd of approximately 30 people gathered outside the hotel where staff were staying, while several individuals held up posters with anti-LGBT slogans and calling NGO workers ‘perverts’.