Kyrgyzstan: stop spreading hatred towards the LGBTI community

Press release
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This week Kyrgyzstan sees a heated debate on the rights of the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community. The debate has been triggered by a legal opinion (fatwa) against same-sex relations issued on 29 January 2014 by Kyrgyzstan’s acting grand mufti, Maksat Hajji Toktomushev. Referring to same-sex relations, he calls on all Muslims to ’stay away from this big guilt’, asserting that the prophet Muhammad called on all Muslims to kill persons involved in same-sex acts.

’This fatwa is an extremely dangerous message that sows hatred towards the LGBTI community in Kyrgyzstan”, said Tolekan Ismailova, FIDH Vice-President and the head of Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino”. “The authorities of Kyrgyzstan must ensure the respect of rights of all citizens of Kyrgyzstan”.

On 31 January 2014, “Bir Duino” wrote to the General Prosecutor of Kyrgyzstan, urging him to address the publication of the fatwa and to take measures to guarantee the safety of the LGBT community. The Prosecutor has not yet responded.

FIDH notes that in a separate statement published on the website of the Kyrgyz Muslims’ Spiritual Directorate on 30 January 2014, the mufti called on the Kyrgyz authorities to ’pay particular attention to the activities of public organisations that seed social hatred using humanitarian ideas’. It referred to the recent report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) on police violence against gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan. In this report HRW calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to investigate allegations of violence and establish victim and witness protection programs. The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyrgyzstan has flatly rejected the allegations as unfounded.

FIDH is very concerned about such statements and the quality of the surrounding debate which is characterised by hatred and thinly veiled incitements to violence. The religious authorities of Kyrgyzstan should realise their responsibility for the violence they might provoke. The national authorities of Kyrgyzstan should ensure the rule of law, duly investigate allegations of violence and instances of hate speech and prosecute those responsible.

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