Restriction of Democratic Freedoms

17/03/2003
Report
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The FIDH is publishing a note on the situation (see enclosed document) of democratic freedoms in Kyrgyzstan, based on the information received from the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (KCHR), a member organisation of the FIDH.


KYRGYZSTAN : SITUATION REPORT (March 2003)


Since several years, Kyrgyzstan has been going through a clear political crisis: the State, at the highest levels, has been trying to restrict democratic freedoms, and to concentrate the power in the hands of the executive.

A new step has just been passed by the authorities in the implementation of this repressive strategy, through the adoption of Constitutional provisions.
Their only purpose is fact to strengthen and legitimise the power of the President of the Republic, as well as the power of local authorities.

This note illustrates this strategy in examining:
- The referendum of 2nd February 2003 on the constitutional reform, which leads to the concentration of powers for the benefit of the President (multiplication of the possibilities of dissolution of the Parliament by the President, quasi-absolute right of veto over legislative activity) and restricts fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of assembly. Besides, the President enjoys immunity from prosecution for criminal offences after his mandate as well as his whole family;
- The recurrent repression of the medias. The multiplication of judicial proceedings, on the initiative of government members, tends to restrict the
activities of the media which express criticism against the government, and often lead to the closure of opposition newspapers;
- The increased repression against political opponents and human rights defenders on the basis of false charges or through of the use of threats and acts of violence,
- The situation concerning death penalty. Even if the moratorium on executions, which came into force in 1998, was extended for another year on 3 January 2003, it has not prevented the judicial authorities from continuing to pass death sentences. Moreover, conditions of detention remain catastrophic.

The FIDH calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to respect, in all circumstances, the principles and provisions set forth in international human rights instruments, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which upholds freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, the right of peaceful assembly and access, on general terms of equality, to public service in one’s country.

The FIDH calls on the international community, in particular the UN, the OSCE and the EU, to exert diplomatic and political pressure on Kyrgyzstan so that it complies with the international and regional human rights standards.

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