Kyrgyzstan: Lawmakers introduce bill to ban ‘positive attitudes’ about homosexuality

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan have introduced a new bill to make any “positive” statement about homosexuality a criminal act punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

Although sex between men was decriminalised in the state in 1998, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report last month found that gay men face regular oppression and abuse from the police.

Now, according to a new report from the HRW, Kyrgyzstan has issued the new bill to ban any statement that creates “a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation.”

Proposed amendments to the Criminal Code have defined “non-traditional sexual relations” as “sodomy, lesbianism and other forms of non-traditional sexual behaviour.”

Anyone found making such statements “using the media or information and telecommunications networks,” would face up to six months in prison and a penalty fine from 2,000 to 5,000 som (£22 to £55).

Following in Russia’s footsteps, if the offender is found to “create a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations” among minors, or is a repeat offender, the prison term could be as long as a year, and the fine would be 3,000 to 6,000 som (£33 to £66).

Although the bill has not yet been officially registered, it has been published online for public debate.

“This draconian bill is blatantly discriminatory against LGBT people and would deny citizens across Kyrgyzstan their fundamental rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

He added: “The sponsors of this homophobic bill should withdraw it immediately, and the government and political parties should speak out against such legislation, making clear it has no place in Kyrgyzstan.”

A video showing gay victims of extortion, rape and torture by police in Kyrgyzstan was released by the organisation last month.