Kyrgyzstan: UN urges anti-gay draft law to be scrapped

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The United Nations (UN) has today urged the Kyrgyz Parliament to withdraw the draft legislation that would discriminate against LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan.

In June, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan’s Human Rights Committee approved the bill banning the dissemination of information “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations.”

Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Ravina Shamdasani said: “We call on the Kyrgyz Parliament and authorities to refrain from passing draft legislation that would embed in law discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).”

She added: “The proposed law would also violate fundamental human rights, including the rights to liberty, security and physical integrity and to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. These rights are protected by human rights treaties ratified by Kyrgyzstan.”

In January, leading human rights group the Human Rights Watch reported widespread physical and sexual abuse of gay men by Kyrgyz police.

Ms Shamdasani’s statement highlights the concern expressed by the UN with regards to previous incidents of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan. She said:

“The draft law adds to those concerns and may lead to further violations.”

Ms Shamdasani further pointed out that: “The adoption of this law would also go against the commitments made by Kyrgyzstan during its Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council in 2010.”

The UN has documented that similar laws elsewhere have had negative impacts on human rights, including increased attacks and discrimination against LGBT individuals, notably children and youth.

The law would also likely have a negative impact on national public health responses, in particular among people who live with HIV and those most at risk of contracting the virus, as well as on access to information about women’s reproductive rights.

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.