Kyrgyzstan: ADC Memorial and Bir Duino targeted after alternative report to the UN

28/09/2018
Urgent Appeal

KGZ 001 / 0918 / OBS 118
Judicial harassment
Kyrgyzstan
September 28, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kyrgyzstan.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment of the human rights organisations Anti-Discrimination Centre "Memorial" (ADC "Memorial") [1] and Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan [2].

According to the information received, on January 2017 an Oktyabrski District Court of Bishkek declared an alternative report submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers as “extremist material” and banned the activities of ADC "Memorial" in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz authorities did not notify either ADC "Memorial" or Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan of the Court’s decision. Thus, the right of said human rights organisations to defend themselves in court and to appeal the decision within legally established deadlines was violated. The information about the court ruling became known to human rights organisations accidentally in May 2018.

An alternative report was submitted to the UN by ADC "Memorial" and Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan in 2015 for the 22th session of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers. Following the Court’s decision, the report which focuses on the violation of rights of Kyrgyz migrants in Russia was placed on the “List of extremist materials”, as published in a specific section of the website of the Ministry of Justice of Kyrgyzstan [3]. Under Kyrgyz law the diffusion of extremist materials entails criminal penalties under Articles 1 and 13 of the Law “On counteracting extremist activities”.

In May 2018, during a visit to Kyrgyzstan, the United Nations Assistant-Secretary General raised the question with the Government [4] and on June 25, 2018, the UN Committee on Migrant Workers addressed the government of Kyrgyzstan to express its concerns regarding this decision. No reaction is known to have followed from the government.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern over the fact that human right reports, including alternative reports submitted to the United Nations, may be qualified as “extremist materials” by governments and that their authors may be banned from entering the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic setting a dangerous precedent for human rights defenders in the region.

Furthermore, the Observatory strongly condemns this unlawful judicial harassment of ADC "Memorial" and Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan, both of which are member organisations of FIDH. Accordingly, the Observatory calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to remedy the violated rights of ADC "Memorial" and Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan who are willing to appeal the Court decision. The Observatory also calls on all international organisations and national governments to support the human rights organisations in their endeavours and to use all possible advocacy instruments to protect human rights defenders working in Kyrgyzstan.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Kyrgyzstan, urging them to:

i. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, used to sanction the human rights work of ADC "Memorial", Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan and all human rights defenders and human rights organisations in Kyrgyzstan;

ii. Declare the judicial decision adopted in January 2017 by the the Oktyabrski District Court unlawful, ensure remedy for the procedural violation due to the lack of notification to the two organisations involved in the case, lift the suspension of the activities of ADC "Memorial" in Kyrgyzstan and take all necessary measures to guarantee the freedom of activities of ADC "Memorial" in Kyrgyzstan;

iii. Ensure that human rights reports, including those submitted to the UN as part of the human rights mechanisms ratified by Kyrgyzstan, are not placed in the list of extremist materials;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(c) and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

Addresses:

• Mr. Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, 205 Chuy Ave., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 66-21-31, +996 (312) 62-23-78, e-mail: pisma@mail.gov.kg
• Mr. Kashkar Dzhunushaliev, Minister of Internal Affairs, 469 Frunze st., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 66-24-50, Fax: +996 (312) 26-62-80, e-mail: secretariat@mvd.kg
• Ms. Ainur Abdyldaeva, Minister of Justice, 32 Molodaya Gvardiya Ave., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 65-18-05, e-mail: ep@minjust.gov.kg
• Mr. Otkurbek Jamshitov, General Prosecutor Office, 139 Toktonalieva st., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 54-24-63, e-mail: statement@prokuror.kg
• Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 51, 1202 Genève, Suisse, Tel: +41 22 707 92 20, Fax: +41 22 707 92 21, e-mail: kyrgyzmission@bluewin.ch
• Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Brussels, Abdijstraat 47 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640 18 68, + 32 2 640 38 83, Fax: + 32 2 640 01 31, e-mail: kyrgyz.embassy@skynet.be
Please also write to diplomatic representations of Kyrgyzstan in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, September 28, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

[1] ADC "Memorial" is a human rights organisation based in Brussels, Belgium, which works on topics relating to discrimination in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
[2] Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan is a human rights movement working on the respect of civil and political rights in Kyrgyzstan.
[3] http://minjust.gov.kg/ru/content/950
[4] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, A/HRC/39/41, par. 54 on Kyrgyzstan, page 11.

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