Kyrgyz Republic Takes Key Steps to Combat Torture

Washington
 

Freedom House applauds the government of Kyrgyzstan for recent critical steps it has taken to combat torture, including the creation of a partnership with civil society to work on torture prevention, as well as the passage of a law creating a torture prevention mechanism.

On June 15, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between several Kyrgyzstani government ministries, the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, Freedom House, and thirteen Kyrgyz human rights and other organizations creating a framework for government-civil society cooperation in combatting torture. On June 7, the Kyrgyzstani Parliament passed the Law on the National Center for the Prevention of Torture, legislation that fulfills Kyrgyzstan’s obligation under the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’s Optional Protocol to establish a national mechanism to prevent torture in detention facilities.

“These groundbreaking actions by the Kyrgyz government demonstrate its commitment to eliminate torture and are a very positive step forward in combatting this scourge,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House.

The signing of the MoU and the passage of the anti-torture law strengthen the government’s and civil society’s hand in investigating and preventing torture. For example, signatory organizations will be able to make unannounced visits to detention facilitates to monitor conditions and identify signs of torture or poor treatment. The law passed by the parliament creates a powerful domestic body to monitor detention facilities.

Torture is an issue that has wide resonance in Kyrgyzstan. According to an April 2012 poll, almost 30% of respondents in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, and 25% in Osh noted that torture was the human rights issue that concerned them the most.  Monitoring of all 47 temporary detention centers in Kyrgyzstan conducted in 2011 by Golos Svobody, a local NGO, found that over 30% of detainees interviewed said that they had been tortured. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, following his visit in December 2011, reported that the use of torture to obtain confessions is widespread and the conditions of detention facilities constitute cruel and inhuman treatment.

Kyrgyzstan is ranked Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties. The country is ranked Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012.

For more information on Kyrgyzstan, visit:

Nations in Transit 2012: Kyrgyzstan

Freedom in the World 2011: Kyrgyzstan

Freedom of the Press 2011: Kyrgyzstan

Blog: Freedom at Issue

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