Kyrgyz Republic FlagCivic Freedom Monitor: Kyrgyz Republic

Introduction | At a Glance | Key Indicators | International Rankings
Legal Snapshot | Legal Analysis | Reports | News and Additional Resources
Last updated 19 March 2019

Introduction

The civil society sector in the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the strongest in Central Asia. CSO representatives are engaged with the government at the national and local levels through numerous consultative public councils at the state ministries and agencies. There are currently over 17,391 CSOs registered in the country, although only around 5,700 are operational. They work in a wide range of areas, including human rights, support to vulnerable groups, culture and art, health, protection of the environment, youth and sport, and education and advocacy.

CSOs are registered as Noncommercial Organizations (NCOs) under a civil law structure that has its roots in the Soviet system, though many laws have been modernized since the late 1990s. The most popular legal forms are public associations, foundations, institutions, associations of legal entities, and community-based organizations. Although the basic concept of freedom of association is respected and registration of CSOs is quick and easy, the sustainability of the sector remains a deep concern because of diminishing foreign funding and the lack of local financial sources. Currently the majority of Kyrgyz CSOs rely entirely on funding from foreign sources, and still there are several efforts to place restrictions on foreign assistance.

In 2013, there were also efforts to limit civil society space, including the introduction of the draft Law on Money Laundering, which would provide for new reporting requirements for CSOs; the draft Law on Unregistered CSOs, which would prohibit unregistered CSOs; and the draft Law on Treason, which would allow for the designation of any person working with a foreigner as a traitor. Moreover, in 2014, a group of parliamentarians proposed the draft Law on Foreign Agents, which was similar to the Russian “Foreign Agents” Law and would have imposed additional requirements on groups that receive foreign funding, including requiring them to register as “foreign agents.” However, on May 12, 2016, the proposed law was rejected due to CSOs’ strong advocacy efforts, with 46 members of Parliament voting for the bill and 65 voting against it.

In a positive development for civil society, in May 2014, the President signed a new Law on Public Councils of the State Bodies. It guarantees the establishment of citizen advisory bodies in all government agencies and greatly improves the mechanisms for their operation and the selection of their members. In September 2014, the Selection Commission responsible for forming new public councils was elected for a period of five years under this new law. Ten members of the Selection Commission are representatives of CSOs, and five are from different state agencies. The Selection Commission formed 35 public councils of ministries and other state agencies on the national level. The last four years have revealed various gaps in the operation of public councils, leading to proposed changes in a new draft law on amending the Law on Public Councils of the State Bodies developed by the Working Group of public councils, published for public discussion on Parliament’s website on April 17, 2018. In September 2018, the draft amendments were discussed and coordinated with the President’s Administration and Government’s Office. It is likely that the draft law will be adopted by the end of 2019.

In addition, on June 29, 2018, the results of the assessment report conducted by the Mutual Evaluation Group of the Eurasian Group (EAG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of 2016-2017 led the country to amend the Law on Countering Financing of Terrorist Activities and Laundering of Criminal Incomes. The amendments impose additional requirements for CSOs, including to form and keep all internal documentation for five years and compile financial reports on any transactions with funds for a five-year period. The President of the Kyrgyz Republic signed the law, and it entered into force on August 6, 2018. Since the changes do not represent “significant threats” to the CSO sector, leading CSOs in Kyrgyzstan decided not to conduct an advocacy campaign to prevent its adoption.

Further, in September 2018, the FATF EAG Plenary approved the Executive Summary and the Mutual Evaluation Report of the Kyrgyz Republic as part of the second round of EAG mutual evaluations in May 2018. Despite Kyrgyzstan passing the FATF quality and consistency procedures, Kyrgyzstan was overall rated non-compliant with Recommendation 8 (NCOs) in the final FATF EAG report on the 2017 mutual evaluation. According to the report, this is due to the government’s lack of engagement with the NCO sector in combating terrorist financing (TF); lack of a system of oversight, monitoring, and sanctions to prevent TF in the NCO sector; and lack of regular review of the NCO sector for TF risks. In response, in December 2018 the State Financial Intelligence Service (SFIS), the government body in charge of reporting on compliance with FATF recommendations under the National Action Plan of the Open Government Partnership (OGP NAP), created a CSO-government working group (WG) to develop a methodology for conducting risk assessments of the CSO sector of Kyrgyzstan. The WG has started to develop this methodology. In addition, in order to prevent future restrictive laws against CSOs and demonstrate results in complying with Recommendation 8, CSOs joined forces and cooperated with SFIS to assist in preparation of a follow-up report that will be presented during the 30th plenary meeting of the EAG in May-June 2019 as part of the Procedures of the second round of EAG mutual evaluations.

One of the lingering problems for CSOs has been that even though a Law on Social Procurement was adopted in 2008, the volume of financing has been extremely low due to the country’s economic hardships and deficiencies in implementation. Realizing the need for changes, in 2017 the government enacted a new Law on State Social Procurement and four secondary legal acts. The new law provides three forms of social contracting: (i) social procurement, (ii) financing of public benefit projects of NCOs, and (iii) social vouchers. In 2018, the available government funding for social contracts awarded to CSOs has grown, reaching 37 million KG SOMs ($529,000 USD), and in the same year the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, the State Agency on Youth Affairs, Physical Culture and Sports, and the Ministry of Healthcare started implementing social procurement in accordance with the newly adopted law. It is expected that the new law will help to enhance the quality of social services provided to the people of Kyrgyzstan and strengthen government-civil society cooperation.

Philanthropy, another important source of funding for CSOs, is almost non-existent in the country due to economic conditions and poor implementation of tax legislation, which does provide incentives to encourage donations. According to the law on charitable organizations, CSOs have the right to carry out economic activities (selling goods and services), but the resulting income is taxable unless the CSO qualifies as a charitable organization, a status almost impossible to maintain because of operational restrictions. Therefore, CSOs developed a draft of the new Law on Charitable Organizations that would eliminate many shortcomings in the existing regulations to enable charitable organizations to operate sustainably. Currently, CSOs and Members of Parliament are working together to promote the draft law in the Parliament. Tentatively, CSOs expect the draft law to be registered in parliament in the beginning of 2019.

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At a Glance

Organizational Forms Non-Governmental Organizations Social Organizations
Registration Body Ministry of Justice Community-based Organizations
Approximate Number 17,391 (about 5,700 operational) There is no statistical data
Barriers to Entry No legal barriers Ten founding members required.
Barriers to Activities A charitable organization is forbidden to conduct economic activities unless the activities “correspond” to its statutory goals No legal barriers.
Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy No legal barriers, but pressure on media groups critical of the government is growing. No legal barriers; law is silent on political activities; pressure on media groups critical of the government is growing.
Barriers to International Contact No legal barriers No legal barriers
Barriers to Resources Stigmatization of human rights defenders who receive foreign funding Stigmatization of human rights defenders who receive foreign funding
Barriers to Assembly Prohibitions on blocking roads or traffic and on assemblies near certain public institutions. Prohibitions on blocking roads or traffic and on assemblies near certain public institutions.

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Key Indicators

Population 6,140,200 ( (July 2018 est.)
Capital Bishkek
Type of Government Republic
Life Expectancy at Birth Total population: 71.2 years (2018 est.)
Male: 67.1 years (2018 est.)
Female: 75.6 years (2018 est.)
Literacy Rate 99.5% (2015)
Religious Groups Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Ethnic Groups Kyrgyz 73.2%, Uzbek 14.6%, Russian 5.8%, Dungan 1.1%, other 5.3% (includes Uyghur, Tajik, Turk, Kazakh, Tatar, Ukrainian, Korean, German) (2017 est.)
GDP per capita $3,700 (2017 est.)

Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2018.

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International Rankings

Ranking Body Rank Ranking Scale 
(best – worst possible)
UN Human Development Index 122 (2018) 1 – 182
World Bank Rule of Law Index 17 (2018) 100 – 0
World Bank Voice & Accountability Index 33 (2018) 100 – 0
Transparency International 132 (2018) 1 – 180
Freedom House: Freedom in the World Status: Partly free
Freedom Rating: 5
Political Rights: 5
Civil Liberties: 5 (2018)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index 65 (2018) 177 – 1

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Legal Snapshot

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International Agreements Ratification* Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Yes 1994
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1) Yes 1994
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Yes 1994
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention (ILO) Yes 1992
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Yes 1997
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Yes 1997
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Yes 2002
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Yes 1994
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) Yes 2003
International Covenant on Refugee Status Yes 1996
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)  No  
Regional Treaties
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms No
Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the
CSCE
No

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty

Constitutional Framework

On December 11, 2016, a referendum was held on introducing Amendments to the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic of June 27, 2010. One provision (Article 6, paragraph 3, part 2), which stated that “Norms of international treaties on human rights have a direct effect and priority over norms of other international treaties,” did not pass the referendum. A number of other Amendments were adopted.

The current Constitution of Kyrgyz Republic was adopted by referendum on June 27, 2010. Several provisions relate to civic freedoms:

  • Article 4, para 2. Political parties, trade unions and other public associations can be created by individuals based on free will and common interests for enjoyment and protection of one’s own rights and liberties, meeting political, economic, social, labor, cultural and other interests.
  • Article 6. para 1. The Constitution possesses supreme legal power and its norms have direct application in the Kyrgyz Republic. para 2. Constitutional laws, laws and other normative and legal acts are adopted in compliance with the Constitution. para 3. International treaties recognized by the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as generally recognized principles and norms of international law are an integral part of the legal system of the Kyrgyz Republic. Norms of international treaties on human rights have a direct effect and priority over norms of other international treaties. para 4. Official publication of laws and other normative legal acts is mandatory to become effective.
  • Article 20, para. 1. Laws revoking or derogating human and citizen’s rights and liberties shall not be adopted in the Kyrgyz Republic. para. 2. The rights and freedoms of the person and the citizen can be limited by the Constitution and laws for the purposes of ensuring national security, public order, protection of health and morality of the population, and protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons. Imposed restrictions shall be proportionate to indicated purposes.
  • Article 34. para. 1 Every person has a right to freedom of peaceful assemblies. No one may be forced to participate in these activities. para. 2 Everyone has the right to submit a notification form to the state bodies on plans to conduct peaceful assembly. Nobody can prohibit or restrict peaceful assembly. The state bodies may not refuse to provide technical support (fire, police, and emergency services) to organizers of peaceful assembly even if the organizers fail to notify the state bodies or the content, form or term for submission of notification form is not correct. para. 3 Organizers of and participants at peaceful assembly are not responsible for not notifying the state bodies, or for non-compliance with form of notification, content and time of submission.
  • Article 35. Every person has a right to freedom of association.

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:

  1. Amendments to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan (by referendum held on December 11, 2016);
  2. The Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, Part 1 (May 8, 1996, with latest amendments on August 6, 2018);
  3. The Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, Part 2 (January 5, 1998, with latest amendments on August 12, 2018);
  4. The Tax Code of the Kyrgyz Republic (October 17, 2008, with latest amendments on February 4, 2019);
  5. The Labor Code of the Kyrgyz Republic (October 4, 2004, with latest amendments on June 26, 2018);
  6. The Law of Kyrgyz Republic “On Noncommercial Organizations” (October 15, 1999, with latest amendments on April 23, 2016);
  7. The Law of Kyrgyz Republic “On Partnership of Owners of Residential and Non-Residential Premises of Apartment Buildings” (July 9, 2013, with latest amendments on December 12, 2017);
  8. The Law “On Registration of Legal Entities, Branches” (Representative Offices) (February 20, 2009, with latest amendments on December 16, 2016);
  9. The Law “On Political Parties” (June 12, 1999);
  10. The Law “On Freedom of Religion and Religious Organizations” (December 31, 2008, with latest amendments on December 7, 2012);
  11. The Law “On Trade Unions” (October 16, 1998, with latest amendments on August 4, 2004);
  12. The Law “On Associations (Union) of Water Users and Unions of Associations of Water Users” (March 15, 2002, with latest amendments on March 30, 2013);
  13. The Law “On Association of Employers” (May 22, 2004);
  14. The Law “On Jamaats (Communities) and Their Associations” (February 21, 2005, with latest amendments on July 18, 2014);
  15. The Law “On Cooperatives” (June 11, 2004, with latest amendments on July 26, 2018);
  16. The Law “On Local Self-Governance” (July 15, 2011, with latest amendments on February 15, 2018);
  17. The Law “On Philanthropy and Charitable Activity” (November 6, 1999, with latest amendments on May 10, 2017) (Russian);
  18. The Law of Kyrgyz Republic “On Peaceful Assemblies” (May 23, 2012);
  19. The Law of Kyrgyz Republic “On Public Councils of State Bodies” (May 24, 2014) (Russian);
  20. The Law “On State Social Procurement” (April 27, 2017).
  21. The Regulation on the order of conduct of public benefit projects competition for the implementation of SSP (December 15, 2017);
  22. The Order of providing social services though social vouchers (December 15, 2017);
  23. The Order of control, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of public benefit projects within SSP (December 15, 2017);
  24. The Regulation on the web-portal on State Grants for financing Pubic Benefit Projects (December 15, 2017);
  25. The Law on Countering Financing of Terrorist Activities and Legalization (Laundering) of Criminal Incomes (August 6, 2018).

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

1. CSOs have developed a draft Law on Charitable Organizations that would eliminate shortcomings of the current law on charitable organizations. Many CSOs operating today would qualify as Public Benefit Organizations (PBOs) under European law, but they cannot enjoy this status in Kyrgyzstan because of existing gaps in legislation. The draft law has the potential to improve the financial sustainability of CSOs. As of February 2019, CSOs and Members of Parliament are working together to promote the draft law in parliament.

2. The draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Public Councils of State Bodies was published on Parliament’s website for public discussions. On April 17, 2018, the draft law was registered in Parliament and was sent to the Parliament’s committees for review prior to the first reading. The draft law contains provisions aimed at significantly improving the activities of public councils, such as prolonging the service of members of public councils to four years; introducing an annual self-evaluation and other evaluation mechanisms for members of public councils, which would exclude the passive members of the public councils; and moving the deadline for reports from December 31 to the end of January of the following year. In September 2018, the draft law was discussed and coordinated with President’s and Government’s offices. Currently, the draft law is pending consideration in the first hearing at Parliament.

3. The Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Normative Legal Acts, particularly the clause on the “public discussions of draft legal acts,” seeks to remedy the deficiencies of the existing law, including the absence of an effective mechanism for public discussion of draft legal acts. CSOs have prepared a proposal for a more effective mechanism and will submit it to the Members of Parliament for initiation in early 2019.

4. On August 6, 2018, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic signed the Draft Law on Countering Financing of Terrorist Activities and Legalization (Laundering) of Criminal Incomes. The draft law was developed by the State Financial Intelligence Service and is aimed at implementing the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The law requires the government to conduct regular risk assessments in the NGO sector and, based on the results, identify NGOs that are at "high risk" of using finances for terrorist activities. In the future, preventive work will be focused on these "high risk" NGOs.

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Legal Analysis

Organizational Forms

The Kyrgyz Republic recognizes at least 16 distinct organizational forms for noncommercial organizations, including public associations, foundations, institutions, non-profit cooperatives, and community-based organizations. The Civil Code and the Law on Noncommercial Organizations (NCO Law) establish the primary NCO legal framework. Article 2 of the NCO Law defines an NCO as “a voluntary, self-sustained organization created by individuals and (or) legal entities on the basis of community of interests for implementing spiritual and other non-material needs in the interests of its members and (or) the whole society, where the deriving a profit is not a major objective, and the obtained profit is not distributed among members, founders and employees.”

Five types of NCOs that can be recognized as CSOs are most common:

(1) A Public Association is a voluntary association of individuals, united by their common interest in meeting spiritual or other non-material needs. A public association is a membership organization, and its highest governing body is the general meeting of members, which in turn creates the executive body (governing board, directorate, etc.) of the organization. A public association’s potential area of activity is very broad: it may include such things as environmental protection, social support of the disabled, education, addressing national issues (for example, through community organizations), and culture and art.

(2) A Foundation is a non-membership organization, established by individuals and/or legal entities that make voluntary contributions to the organization, which pursues social, charitable, cultural, educational, or other public benefit goals. A foundation may also be created by a last will and testament. In contrast with a public association, a foundation has no membership, and the basis for its creation is the voluntary donation of property transferred by its founders for the pursuit of certain goals.

(3) An Institution is an organization created by an owner for carrying out managerial, social and cultural, educational, or other functions of a noncommercial character and financed fully or partially by its owner. An institution may be the most appropriate organizational and legal form for NCOs such as hospitals, clinics, kindergartens, schools, universities, and museums.

(4) An Association or Union of Legal Entities is an organization created to coordinate the activities of its member organizations, as well as to represent and protect their common interests.

(5) A Community Based Organization is a local community-level organization, representing a voluntary association of members of a local community, residing on the territory of one street, block or other territorial formation of the village or city, for joint resolution of problems of local importance.

Public Benefit Status

According to the Tax Code, a “charitable organization” is a “noncommercial organization (а) created and carrying out charitable activity in compliance with the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic on noncommercial organizations and charitable activity; (b) not participating in the activity on production and/or sale of excise goods and gambling business; and (c) not participating in the support of political parties or election campaigns.”

Although the tax benefits to charitable organizations and their donors are significant, there are no organizations in the Kyrgyz Republic that qualify for them. This is due in part to Article 9 of the Charity Law, which requires that a charitable organization spend 98% of its income for charitable purposes and not more than 2% of its income for general overhead expenses. Most organizations find this provision to be unworkable and therefore do not attempt to qualify as charitable organizations, even if they are otherwise eligible. Another difficulty lies in Article 7 of the Charity Law, which permits a charitable organization to carry out economic activities only to the extent the activities are directed for the achievement of the goals for which it was created and the activities correspond to those goals. The meaning of this provision is uncertain, however, because it has never been applied in practice. Thus, there is uncertainty about its scope, which inhibits charitable organizations from conducting any economic activities at all. By contrast, Article 12 of the Law on Noncommercial Organizations permits NCOs to carry out any economic activity so long as it does not contradict the goals and tasks of the organization.

Barriers to Entry

There are no legal barriers to forming organizations. In contrast to many other countries in the region, NCOs in Kyrgyzstan can exist as unregistered organizations. Without legal entity status, however, organizations will not be able to engage in certain activities in their own name, such as opening a bank account, ordering a seal, and filing a lawsuit. Registration is quick and easy under the “single window” system and generally takes 10 days.

There is no restriction on who can serve as a founder. Founders of an NCO may include any legal entity, foreigner or citizen, or other individuals. Three founders are required to register a public association. There is no minimum amount of assets required to register an NCO.

The procedure for registration consists of 3 steps: (1) drafting incorporation documents and formation of governing bodies; (2) registration under the “single window” system at the Ministry of Justice, which notifies tax authorities, statistical bodies, and other government agencies of the registration and provides the necessary registration numbers for the applicant; (3) opening a bank account and ordering a stamp (which are optional but necessary if the organization intends to conduct significant activities in its own name). After the application for registration is submitted, the Ministry checks the incorporation documents for compliance with the requirements of the Civil Code, the Law on Registration of Legal Entities, Branch (Representative) Offices, and other laws regulating NCOs. After 10 days, if the application is not rejected, the Ministry issues a Certificate of State Registration, and the NCO is officially registered in the Ministry of Justice, Tax Service, and Social Fund.

Generally, the Law on Registration of Legal Entities, Branch (Representative) Offices requires the following documents to be submitted with the application: (1) charter; (2) minutes of meeting of founders; (3) the list of members of governing bodies; and (4) the list of founders. The registration fee is approximately 235 KGS (less than $4). The Ministry can deny registration if the information provided is incorrect or contradicts applicable law, but the applicant has the right to appeal a denial to the Ministry or a court.

Community-based organizations must seek registration with the Local Self-Governmental Bodies and consist of no fewer than 10 founding members (Articles 5(3) and 6(1) of the Law on Jamaats (Communities) and Their Associations).

Barriers to Operational Activity

There are some legal barriers to the operational activity. An NCO may conduct any activity not forbidden in its charter, except that charitable organizations and public associations cannot conduct economic activities unless the activity corresponds to its statutory goals. The government has no right to interfere with the internal self-governance of an NCO, and the law does not require advance approval of activities. Reporting requirements for NCOs are generally the same as for other legal entities, although some additional rules requiring public disclosure are applicable to charitable organizations. NCOs have the same rights and obligations as other legal entities with respect to government inspections and audits. NCOs are subject to dissolution if they conduct an activity that violates the law, such as engaging in activity without a license where one is required.

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

Pressure on media groups has been growing. In 2017, Kyrgyzstan's General Prosecutor brought a series of cases against prominent local media outlets that were critical of the government. The General Prosecutor filed one of the suits on March 6, 2017 against Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, alleging "biased coverage of unchecked, false information that deliberately affected the honor and dignity of the head of state" and requesting it pay compensation totaling 32 million soms ($462,855). Local courts ordered the bank accounts of Radio Azattyk frozen.

Barriers to International Contact

There are no legal barriers to international contact.

Barriers to Resources

Nearly all NCOs in Kyrgyzstan depend on funding from international grants. Draft “foreign agent” laws have been proposed in recent years and subsequently withdrawn.
Kyrgyz legislation does not allow for economic (or entrepreneurial) activities of NCOs.

A Law on State Social Procurement was enacted in 2008, establishing a competitive tender mechanism for government financing (outsourcing) of social services provided by NCOs. Until 2013, however, only the Ministry of Social Development had used this mechanism, even though it was available to other government agencies. In 2013, the Ministry of Migration, Labor, and Youth began using this mechanism. The volume of state financing has been limited due to the country’s economic hardships and deficiencies in implementation.

On May 27, 2017, the new Law on State Social Procurement (SSP) entered into force, and in December 2017 the Government of Kyrgyzstan approved four secondary legal acts on SSP to support its implementation: (1) the Regulation on the carrying out of competitions for public benefit projects; (2) the Order of providing social services though social vouchers; (3) the Order of control, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of public benefit projects within SSP; and (4) the Regulation on the web-portal on state grants for financing pubic benefit projects. The SSP Law and the secondary legal acts on SSP establish a more transparent and competitive mechanism for the use of state budget funds to support CSOs and to deliver quality social services to the people of Kyrgyzstan.

Notably, in the three previous years, social procurement programs were allocated only an average of 22.5 million Kyrgyz Soms ($330,000) each year. In 2018, however, the total amount of funds for social procurement was increased to 36 million Kyrgyz Soms.

On June 29, 2018, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan adopted Draft Laws on Countering Financing of Terrorist Activities and Legalization (Laundering) of Criminal Incomes and on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic on Countering Financing of Terrorist Activities and Legalization (Laundering) of Criminal Incomes in the third reading. The drafts were developed by the State Financial Intelligence Service and were aimed at implementing the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The adopted law proposes to conduct regular risk assessments in the NGO sector and, based on the results, identify NGOs that are at "high risk" of financing terrorist activities. In the future, preventive work will be focused on such "high risk" NGOs. The newly introduced requirements repeat existing requirements in various laws regulating the activities of NGOs and legal entities and are not necessarily restrictive. Nevertheless, they were adopted due to pressure from FATF following low ratings on the mutual evaluation report for Kyrgyzstan conducted by FATF's Eurasian Group.

Barriers to Assembly

There is a ban on conducting gatherings and peaceful assemblies closer than 100 meters from elementary and high schools, hospitals, and properties of the penal system. In February 2013, Parliament introduced amendment into the Code on Administrative Responsibility and imposed penalties on participants who block roads or traffic while exercising the right to assemble.

 

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Reports

UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

UPR (May 3, 2010)
UPR (January 21, 2015)

Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs

Kyrgyzstan

U.S. State Department

2017 Human Rights Reports: Kyrgyzstan

Fragile States Index Report

Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index 2016

ACT Alliance How to Protect and Expand an Enabling Environment in Kyrgyzstan 2013
Human Rights Watch

HRW Report 2017

International Federation for Human Rights Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Annual Report 2009 - Kyrgyzstan
IMF Country Reports Kyrgyz Republic and the IMF
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Library Kyrgyzstan

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News and Additional Resources

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change.  If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

Recent Events

 

1. On August 6, 2018, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed the Draft Law on Countering Financing of Terrorist Activities and Legalization (Laundering) of Criminal Incomes

 

2. On September 8, 2018 the FATF EAG Plenary approved the Executive Summary and the Mutual Evaluation Report of the Kyrgyz Republic as part of the second round of EAG mutual evaluations in May 2018. Despite Kyrgyzstan passing the FATF quality and consistency procedures, it was overall rated non-compliant with Recommendation 8 (Non-Commercial organizations) in the 2nd Round of the Mutual Evaluation.

 

3. On October 16, 2018 the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic signed a Decree on Approval of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Building Open Government for 2018-2020. NAP includes 18 commitments on nine subject groups of OGP engaging 21 state bodies.

 

4. On October 31, 2018, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic signed an Order on Approval of the National Strategy on Sustainable Development for 2018-2020 (NSSD). Among other chapters, NSSD envisages provisions enhancing the role of CSOs.

 

News Items

President offers olive branch to civil society (July 2018)
Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has surprised many in the country by hosting a gathering of civil society’s leading lights to discuss pressing problems. If notes that came out of the closed doors meeting are anything to go by, they gave him a rather long list. Key issues raised according to notes posted on Twitter included judicial, police and penitentiary reform, ecological problems in Bishkek, radicalization and state orphanages.

Kyrgyzstan is leader in Central Asia for civil society development (December 2017)
Kyrgyzstan is the leader in its region and beyond for the development of civil society, Temporary Charge d'Affaires of the US in Kyrgyzstan Alan Meltzer said at the annual conference on assessing the interaction of public councils and state authorities. In his speech, the Charge d'Affaires of the US in Kyrgyzstan stressed that the public councils were created for close cooperation between the state and civil sector in order to make the work of the government more efficient and transparent.

Kyrgyz Government intends to pay special attention to civil society development (December 2017)
The Government of Kyrgyzstan intends to pay special attention to the development of civil society institutions, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov said at the opening of the annual conference on assessing the interaction of public councils and state authorities.

President of Kyrgyzstan attacks human rights defenders and NGOs (April 2017) (Russian)
Kyrgyzstan is threatened by various NGOs financed from abroad, Kyrgyz President Atambayev said. He called on protecting the information security of the state and from foreign influence. "We need to protect the uniqueness and identity of our people," he said, delivering a speech at the 5th meeting of the National Council for Sustainable Development on April 3. Atambaev said that "some figures" hide behind the guise of human rights defenders, oppositionists or NGO representatives who work with money received from abroad, "imposing on people alien values."

Growing Pressure on Media Groups (March 2017)
Kyrgyzstan's General Prosecutor has brought a series of cases against two prominent local media outlets that have been critical of the government, Human Rights Watch said. "Kyrgyzstan's authorities should understand the role of independent media and what it means to respect freedom of expression and drop these lawsuits," said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Kyrgyzstan has a dynamic media landscape, which should be allowed to flourish, and laws that allow these kinds of prosecutions should be repealed."

Termination of Bilateral Agreement with USA (August 2015) (Russian)
On July 27, 2015, the President of Kyrgyzstan supported the termination of a bilateral agreement with the USA and stated that there are "foreign agents... amongst CSOs in Kyrgyzstan" that "shake" the political stability in the country.

Kyrgyzstan's UPR: A Missed Opportunity (January 2015)
The review of Kyrgyzstan’s human rights record by the United Nations, which took place in the framework of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), largely failed to address key issues, challenges and patterns of human rights violations in the country. Given the international community’s lack of attention to the situation in the country in other fora, the UPR of Kyrgyzstan is a missed opportunity.

Concerns over Draft Law (August 2013)
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), expresses concern regarding the draft law on Introducing Changes and Amendments into some Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic, and in particular regarding a provision in Part 2 of Article 3 of the draft law, which would result in the incorporation of an Article 395-2 to the Code on Administrative Liability.

Open Letter to the authorities (May 2013)
We are writing to you to express our concern regarding Article 12 of the draft Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on "Fighting against the Legalization (Laundering) of Criminal Proceeds and the Financing of Terrorist or Extremist Activities". In April 2013, a restrictive Article 12, titled “Preventive measures for [Non-Commercial Organisations] NCOs”, was incorporated in the bill. If adopted, this Article would violate a number of international and regional standards related to freedom of association and result in additional burdens for the Kyrgyz civil society.

Kyrgyzstan to amend extremist and electronic correspondence laws (April 2013)
The Ministry of Internal Affairs is advocating changes in the law to impose liability for extremism online. The ministry would like to amend two laws: the law on fighting extremism and the law on electronic and mail correspondence. However, oftentimes information is hosted outside of Kyrgyz servers, and it is impossible to bring to court people who are spreading extremist materials through social networks from outside the country.

Nookat Idrisov: The destiny of NGO sector will depend on Prime-minister’s decision if the bill on Foreign Gratuitous Aid will be adopted

A new law on foreign funding of NCOs is not needed”, Daniar Terbishaliev, parliamentarian

Experts on the role of civil society to get political stability in Kyrgyzstan.

The Public Councils at the state bodies annually reported on their activity.

The foregoing information was collected by ICNL and the ICNL, LLC Legal Advisor based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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