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Jul-27-2013 23:20printcomments

Kyrgyz Republic: Draft Law Would Limit Freedom of Assembly

Article limits religious extremism yet brings de facto prohibition of freedom of association to activists with unregistered public organisations...

Flag of Kyrgyz Republic
Flag of the Kyrgyz Republic

(YORK, UK) - Kyrgyz people would be protected from religious extremism under a draft law authored by the State Committee of National Security in July 2013.

The draft legislation has been supported by the public, however, if adopted, the proposed Article 395-2 will lead to stiff fines being imposed on citizens who lead or participate in the activities and funding of unregistered public organisations.

According to Part 2 of Article 3 of the draft law, an organisation which “has not been registered in accordance with the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic or whose activities have been suspended or banned” can lead to fines between 70-100 of the Kyrgyz calculation index units (about 110-160 Euros).

Participants in such organisations could face fines from 50-70 units (80-110 Euros). The same Article provides that fines for financing such organisations would be ranging from 50-70 units (80-110 Euros) for individuals, 50-200 units (80-315 Euros) for officials and 400-500 units (630-790 Euros) for legal entities.

The broad terms of this Article would actually go beyond the issue of religious extremism and would de facto prohibit the exercise of freedom of association by citizens who participate in the activities of unregistered public organisations, by subjecting them to heavy fines.


Concerns over the Draft law on Introducing Changes and Amendments into Some Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic

To:

Mr. Atambayev A.Sh.
President of the Kyrgyz Republic
E-mail: psp@adm.gov.kg, oip@adm.gov.kg

Mr. Jeenbekov A.Sh.
Speaker of the Jogorku Kenesh of the
Kyrgyz Republic

All Members of Parliament

Re: Concerns over the draft law on Introducing Changes and Amendments into some Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic

Excellencies,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com. I am writing to you to express concern regarding the draft law on Introducing Changes and Amendments into some Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic (henceforth “draft law”), and in particular regarding a provision in Part 2 of Article 3 of the draft law, which would result in the incorporation of an Article 395-2 to the Code on Administrative Liability.

According to the information received, the primary aim of the draft law, authored by the State Committee of National Security of the Kyrgyz Republic (SCNS) in July 2013 and posted for public discussion on the website of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, is to protect the Kyrgyz people from religious extremism. As such, it has been supported by the public.

However, if adopted, the proposed Article 395-2 will impose administrative liability on citizens who lead or participate in the activities and funding of unregistered public organisations. Thus, Part 2 of Article 3 of the draft law specifies that leading an organisation which “has not been registered in accordance with the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic or whose activities have been suspended or banned” can lead to fines between 70-100 of the Kyrgyz calculation index units (about 110-160 Euros). Participants in such organisations risk fines ranging between 50-70 units (80-110 Euros). The same Article provides that fines for financing such organisations would be ranging from 50-70 units (80-110 Euros) for individuals, 50-200 units (80-315 Euros) for officials and 400-500 units (630-790 Euros) for legal entities.

The broad terms of this Article would actually go beyond the issue of religious extremism and would de facto prohibit the exercise of freedom of association by citizens who participate in the activities of unregistered public organisations, by subjecting them to heavy fines.

I recall that the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic in Article 35 reads that “everyone has the right to freedom of association”, and that the law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Non-commercial Organizations explicitly provides citizens with the right to establish unregistered public organisations. In accordance with Part 2 of Article 6 of this law, "Non-commercial organisations can be created with or without the formation of a legal entity in the form of public associations, foundations and institutions".

I further recall that the right of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to freedom of association is a fundamental and universal right enshrined in numerous international treaties and standards, especially Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Although this right is naturally accompanied by certain responsibilities on the part of NGOs, especially in terms of transparency and good governance, as in any other sector of society, legitimate restrictions on this right must always be “prescribed by law” and “necessary in a democratic society”, and respect the primacy of the general interest and the principle of proportionality (Article 22.2 of ICCPR and case-law of the United Nations Human Rights Committee). Moreover, while certain restrictions may be imposed, freedom should be the rule, while restrictions should be the exception.

Excellencies, the proposed Article 395-2 therefore contradicts international law as well as the Constitution and laws of the Kyrgyz Republic. If the draft law is adopted in its current version, I fear that it would establish a set of harsh restrictions towards unregistered NGOs which would go far beyond what is permissible under international law as well as under the Kyrgyz legislation.

Accordingly, I respectfully urge you to:

- Immediately repeal the Article 395-2-related provisions from the draft law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Introducing Changes and Amendments into some Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic;

- Comply in all circumstances with the constitutional rights of the citizens of Kyrgyzstan as well as with international and regional human rights standards, such as the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly;

- Guarantee in all circumstances the development of a safe and enabling environment in which independent NGOs, civil society, and the media can operate free from any hindrances and reprisals.

We hope that you will take these elements into account.

Most respectfully,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Twitter@wnicholasgomes
www.williamnicholasgomes.com

http://williamnicholasgomes.com/

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

_________________________________________




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