Alert: Urgent call to lift Covid-19 related restrictions in places of detention

Kyrgyzstan: Implementation of the Convention against Torture

The OMCT jointly with its partners in Kyrgyzstan - Coalition against Torture and the Association for Protection of Human Rights in the Criminal Proceedings “ARTICLE 9” - have submitted alternative reports on the situation in Kyrgyzstan to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) for its 72nd session.

Since the submission of the second report by Kyrgyzstan in November 2013, a number of steps have been taken by the government to combat torture and impunity, including the introduction of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment in the national legislation; the limitation of grounds for exemptions from liability for the crime of torture; the implementation of principles of the Istanbul Protocol into national legislation; and the adoption of its first Human Rights Action Plan for 2019-2021.

Even with these steps, the practice of torture remains widespread in the country. The following problems contribute to this situation:

  • The definition of «torture» in article 143 of the Criminal Code has not been brought into accordance with article 1 of the Convention against Torture;
  • The practice of prompt, impartial and full investigation of allegations of torture and ill-treatment is lacking;
  • Recent legislative changes introduced to the criminal and criminal procedure regulation deteriorate human rights standards;
  • The Kyrgyz Republic has not made the declaration for individual complaint procedure under article 22 of the Convention against Torture and has not established an effective mechanism for the implementation of the decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee;
  • Quarantine measures under Covid-19 decreased the independent oversight over closed institutions and led to the increased risk of ill-treatment toward detainees.

Women, children, ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups continue to face an increased risk of torture and ill-treatment and have less access to effective remedies.

Finally, serious concerns are expressed regarding the continued campaign aimed at discrediting and intimidating civil society organisations and human rights defenders. New legislative initiatives may have negative impacts on the work of human rights defenders. The government has also not ensured the effective and prompt investigation of the death of human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov in detention in July 2020.

Full versions of the joint report with the Coalition against Torture can be found here in English and Russian, and with the Association for Protection of Human Rights in the Criminal Proceedings “ARTICLE 9” here.

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