Kyrgyzstan: Attack against Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova & other Adilet members

06/02/2020
Urgent Appeal

KGZ 001 / 0120 / OBS 010
Attacks / Harassment / Threats
Kyrgyzstan
February 6, 2020

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.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about an attack and threats against Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova and other representatives of the non-governmental human rights organisation “Legal clinic ‘Adilet’” (Adilet) [1] during a public discussion of a controversial draft law amending the current legislation on non-governmental organisations.

According to the information received, on January 29, 2020, representatives of the Adilet convened a roundtable to facilitate public discussion of the draft law № 6-28018/19, which was introduced to the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan (Jogorku Kenesh) in December 2019. [2] Adilet had earlier criticized the proposed amendments in media and on its website as tightening the State control over the nonprofit sector and undermining the freedom of association in Kyrgyzstan. [3]

At 9 am on January 29, 2020, just prior to the beginning of the roundtable, a group of 11 unknown individuals attempted to break into the conference room of the “Europa Hotel” in Bishkek, where the event took place. The perpetrators were shouting threats and insults directed at employees of Adilet, securing the entrance, and their attempts to get in persisted for more than two hours. Around 11.30 a.m., the perpetrators managed to break in pushing away the employees of Adilet. One of the employees sustained bruises as a result of the assault. After entering the room, the perpetrators started threatening the employees with physical attacks — including by menacing to beat them with bricks and armatures, — and with the dissemination of false messages alleging that Adilet employees belong to the LGBT+ community and thus promote LGBT+ rights; a sensitive field of work association with which could cause a violent backlash against human rights defenders among the general public. They also shouted insults at the director of the Adilet Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova and other participants, including the Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Tokon Mamytov and Ms. Asel Arzybaeva, the Representative of the President’s Office. The representatives of the United Nations Development Programme office in Kyrgyzstan, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, German and the United States diplomatic missions present at the event witnessed the assault. Partly, the incident was captured on video by the attendees of the event and a number of Kyrgyz media published them. [4]

The Observatory is particularly concerned with inaction of the authorities regarding the protection of Adilet members: one of the attendees called the police, however police officers remained at the venue for 20 minutes and left, without taking any concrete measures in securing the safety of participants of the round table, including by arresting the assailants. As of the date of publication of this Urgent Appeal, the identities of these individuals remain unknown, however, they presented themselves as civil society activists and claimed that they received information about the roundtable from one of the authors of the draft law, deputy Mr. B. Raiymkulov. On January 30, 2020, Adilet lodged a complaint before the Internal Affairs Office of the Sverdlovsk District of Bishkek requesting impartial investigation into the case and urging the authorities to ensure the safety of the human rights defenders employees of Adilet. The authorities registered the complaint in the appropriate manner.

The Observatory fears that these attacks constitute a reprisal for the critical attitude of Adilet and its employees towards the legislation, including the above mentioned draft law, which limits the independence of civil society organisations. The attack against the human rights defenders seems particularly disturbing against the backdrop of systematic attempts by the Kyrgys authorities to tighten State control over civil society and the rising number of far-right groups harassing civil society activists and independent journalists.

The Observatory strongly condemns the attack against the Adilet members and the inaction of the authorities regarding the increasing attacks, acts of harassment and provocations against human rights defenders, and urges the State to take swift and stern measures to reverse the current trend detrimental to the independence of the civil society and democracy in Kyrgyzstan.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Kyrgyzstan asking them to:

i. Guarantee under all circumstances the physical integrity and the psychological well-being of Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova, all the members of the Adilet and the other civil society actors who were attacked during the above-mentioned event;
ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment against Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova, the other members of the Adilet, and all the human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan;
iii. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the above-mentioned attack in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, sanction them as provided by the law and provide the victims with effective remedies;
iv. Ensure that human rights defenders and human rights organisations are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
v. Stay the course of engagement and liberalisation of civil society and abandon the attempts to tighten the control over the civil society actors;
vi. Withdraw the above mentioned draft law № 6-28018/19 from December 30, 2019, as contrary to the State’s domestic and international obligations;
vii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1 and 12;
viii. 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, Chuy Ave, 205, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Tel: +996 312 63 91 17, Fax: + 996312626191;
• Mr. Kashkar Junushaliev, Minister of Internal Affairs, Frunze st. 469, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +(996 312) 26 60 54, Fax: + 996312682044 / + 996312623853, email: secretariat@mvd.kg;
• Mr. Marat Dzamankulov, Minister of Justice, 32 M. Gandi Str., 720010 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 656490, Fax: +996 (312) 656502, email: jm.26@mail.ru;
• Ms. Otkurbek Dzhamshitov, General Prosecutor Office, 39 Erkindik Avenue, 720040 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan,Tel: +996 (312) 663373, Fax: +996 (312) 661734;
• Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 51 (3rd Floor) 1202 Geneva, Tel: +41 22 707 92 20, Email: kyrgyzmission@bluewin.ch, Fax: +41 22 707.92.21;
• 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, Email: aitmatov@infonie.be;
• Mr. Mamytov Tokon Bolotbekovich, Kyrgyz Republic Akyikatchy (Ombudsman), +996 (312) 66-32-80 ombudsman@inbox.ru;
• Ms Bolormaa Amgaabazar, World Bank Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic, niosipenko@worldbank.org, dpccsecretariat@outlook.com;
• Mr. Michaël Roux, French Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Embassy’s coordinator Guzel , Email : guzel.ishenova@diplomatie.gouv.fr;
• Ms. Natalia Gherman, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Central Asia, @Natalia_Gherman / press contact: muhiyeva@un.org;
• Mr. Peter Burian EU Special Representative for Central Asia, @EUSR_CA;
• Mr. Eduard Auer, Head of EU Delegation, Eduard.AUER@eeas.europa.eu;
• Mrs. Charlotte Adriaen, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to the KR, charlotte.ADRIAEN@eeas.europa.eu.
Please also write to diplomatic representations of Kyrgyzstan in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, February 6, 2020

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] Public Foundation “Legal Clinic “Adilet” is a one of the largest human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan. Founded in May 2002, it employs around 20 lawyers and attorneys-at-law supported by a developed volonteer network. Since 2010, the Adilet is organisation member of the FIDH. The mission of the organisation is human rights protection and promotion of democratic values and the rule of law.
[2] See: https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/kyrgyzstan/kyrgyzstan-amendments-to-ngo-law-would-threaten-freedom-of-expression
[3] https://kaktus.media/doc/403926_uristy:_zakonoproekt_depytata_rayymkylova_naryshaet_konstityciu_i_mejdynarodnye_normy.html?fbclid=IwAR2S34puy-1xAZLIHAVQYPSn2cOUAzJYwQUGiSNgLfw6iSAfkITdYnSiABA ; http://adilet.kg/ru/news/full/394
[4] https://kaktus.media/doc/404968_na_kryglom_stole_po_nko_proizoshla_potasovka_video.html ; https://24.kg/obschestvo/141934_vorvalis_vzal_itolkalis_naforume_pravozaschitnikov_proizoshla_potasovka/

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