Human Rights Watch urges Kyrgyzstan to reject anti-gay bill

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The Human Rights Watch has urged Kyrgyzstan to reject an anti-gay bill similar to Russia’s anti-gay law.

The Kyrgyzstan parliamentary Committee on Law, Order and Fighting Crime approved the bill on 17 February.

It is similar to one introduced in Russia law in 2013, banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships”.

Human Rights Watch has written to the sponsors of the bill urging the country to stay true to its commitment to non-discirmination as detailed in its consitution.

“Kyrgyzstan’s legislators have a responsibility to put non-discrimination, their constitution, and international law before their personal understandings of traditional values,” wrote Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“This bill would not only violate free speech, it would encourage discrimination and violence against Kyrgyzstan citizens.”

A group of experts from the United Nations last year urged the Kyrgyz Parliament to withdraw an anti-gay bill.

The bill passed the first reading on 15 October 2014 and next goes to the full parliament for a second reading and, if adopted, must pass one more reading before it is sent to the president for signature.