The Observatory: Kyrgyzstan: Assault against participants to an anti-homophobia event organised by Labris
URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
KGZ 002 / 0515 / OBS 043
Harassment / Assault / Ill-treatment
Obstacles to freedom of peaceful assembly
May 21, 2015
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), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kyrgyzstan.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about an assault against participants to an event organised by Labris, a local NGO advocating for the respect of the rights of the LGBTI community in Kyrgyzstan.
According to the information received, on May 17, 2015, the organisers and the participants to the event held to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia were verbally and physically attacked and one participant was injured. The group of men responsible for the assault is allegedly associated with Kalys and Kirk Choro, two groups well known for their anti-LGBTI positions.
Afterwards, both assaulters and participants were taken under police custody. Upon their arrival at the police station, the participants faced further harassment by the police officers, who denied them medical care and subjected them to humiliating personal searches. On the other hand, the assaulters were treated respectfully. Moreover, two lawyers called to the police station by activists were denied access. A third attempt to request lawyer’s presence was only partially complied, as the lawyer was denied access to the interrogation room.
After more than five hours of questioning under police custody, finally a criminal case was opened against the assaulters, while the participants were released. The participants are planning to file a complaint against the police officers.
The Observatory recalls that Kyrgyz LGBTI rights defenders have been recently facing constant harassment. One month ago, the premises of the NGO Labris were set on fire.
The Observatory is further concerned about the consideration by the Kyrgyz Parliament of a highly controversial law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. If passed, the law shall provide for administrative and criminal sanctions in the form of fines and imprisonment up to one year. The draft law, that was condemned by civil society, international human rights bodies and other international actors as being inherently discriminatory and infringing freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and other fundamental rights protected by Kyrgyzstan’s Constitution, was largely approved in the first reading in October 2014.
The Observatory is also extremely concerned by the fatwa launched on January 29, 2014, by Kyrgyzstan’s acting grand mufti, Maksat Hajji Toktomushev, against same-sex relations. Back in 2014, the mufti alreadycalled on the Kyrgyz authorities to “pay particular attention to the activities of public organisations that seed social hatred using humanitarian ideas”.
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the above-mentioned events and more in general about the intensification of harassment against the LGBTI community and its supporters, and fears that participants and organisers of the event on May 17, 2015 were attacked as a result of their human rights activities.
The Observatory calls for an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the assault, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law.
Please write to the authorities in Kyrgyzstan, urging them to:
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of members of Labris NGO and, more in general, of LGBTI rights defenders and organisations in Kyrgyzstan;
ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against members of Labris NGO and, more in general, against LGBTI rights defenders and organisations in Kyrgyzstan;
iii. Ensure in all circumstances that members of Labris NGO and, more in general, LGBTI rights defenders and organisations are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
iv. Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into all acts of violence against members of Labris NGO and, more in general, against LGBTI rights defenders in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal sanctions provided by the law;
v. Drop the bill criminalising LGBTI rights defenders and organisations;
vi. Conform with the provisions of the Kyrgyz Constitution that entitles each citizen a right to equal treatment and the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association;
vii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on December 9, 1998, especially:
· Its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
· Its Article 5(b) and (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others “to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups” and “to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations”;
· Its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others […] as provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms and […] to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”;
· Its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;
viii. Comply with the Resolution of the UN Human Rights Council A/HRC/22/L.13 on protecting human rights defenders, adopted on March 15, 2013, which “urges States to create a safe and enabling environment in which human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, in the whole country and in all sectors of society, including by extending support to local human rights defenders”;
ix. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Kyrgyzstan.
· Mr. Almazbek Atambaev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Chuy Ave, 205, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Tel: +996 312 63 91 17, Fax: + 996312626191
· Mr. Melis Turganbayev, Minister of Internal Affairs, Frunze st. 469, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: 0996 312 66 24 50, Fax: + 996312682044 / + 996312623853, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Ms. Jyldyz Mambetalieva Jeenbaevna, Minister of Justice, 32 M.Gandi Str., 720010 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 656490 , Fax: +996 (312) 656502, email: email@example.com
· Ms. Indira Joldubayeva, General Prosecutor Office, 39 Erkindik Avenue, 720040 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan ,Tel: +996 (312) 663373, Fax: +996 (312) 661734
· State Committee of National Security, Erkindik blvd 70, Bishkek 720040, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 66 04 75, Fax +996 (312)66 00 24
· Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue Maunoir 26/Rue du Lac 4-6, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: +41 22 707.92.21
· Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Brussels, 47 rue de l’Abbaye, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640 18 68 / + 32 2 640 38 83, Fax: + 32 2 640 01 31, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to diplomatic representations of Kyrgyzstan in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, May 21, 2015
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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