Kyrgyzstan urged by human rights groups to scrap anti-gay bills

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The parliament in Kyrgyzstan is being urged to reject legislation which would ban “foreign agents” and “homosexual propaganda”.

The Human Rights Watch (HRC) states that the bills are intended to criminalise “homosexual propaganda”, and to force restrictions onto small charities, in moves which could marginalise minorities.

Introduced this month, the bills could be put to a vote before the end of June.

“These draft laws fly in the face of Kyrgyzstan’s human rights commitments – they would violate the fundamental rights to speech and association,” said Mihra Rittmann, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Adopting this harmful legislation would signify a clear backsliding on human rights in Kyrgyzstan and would seriously undermine the government’s efforts to improve its record.”

One law, if introduced, could allow authorities to suspend any organisation not registered as a “foreign agent”.

A similar law was introduced last year in Russia, and was quickly used to fine an LGBT film festival ‘Bok o Bok’. The festival won an appeal against the fines.

Russia also introduced a law last year banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships”.

Kyrgyzstan’s bill would punish any person or organisation found to “create a positive attitude toward nontraditional sexual relations, using the media or information and telecommunications networks.”

As with the Russian legislation, the language is vague, and it has been questioned what types of information constitute such information.

International human rights groups have already voiced concern over the legislation.