Tursunbek Akun reminds me of hunger strikes, bragging about his experiences during Chechen war and senseless speeches. Same old faces, same politics, maybe a little bit easier on gender than Bakir uulu. I still wonder why his State Human Rights Commission had to be dissolved?
Nominated by the President for this seat and elected, it seems that things are going to be this way from now on. Once the President nominates someone, the dominating party Ak Jol supports them and then we play democracy.
Irony: usually human rights activists challenge the state which infringes upon human rights and freedoms. Why do then representatives of the State vote to elect the new Ombudsman?
I head complaints about the ombudsman’s office over and over. Local women’s NGOs uniting against Ombudman’s initiatives and other NGOs complaining about lack of understanding of what the rights actually represent.
Yet the Office does respond timely to letters and requests in person and people do file complaints to them about their rights violations. The Ombudman’s office estimated that the number of received complaints over the five years of its existence constituted over 130 thousands. Most of the complaints came from people claiming their land property (11000), 1600 complaints about courts, over a thousand about quality of goods and services. The most unpopular rights turned out to be – education, women, religion, children. Compaints about gender-based discrimination constituted about 150 in 2007. This, of course, does not mean that there are no violations. There is no culture of documenting and reporting along with realizing that the discrimination somebody experiences is something that can be challenged.
The good news is that the Ombudsman elections are coming up with nominations being accepted until 10 February. President nominated Tursunbek Akun who is currently the head of Kyrgyz National Human Rights Committee. So it’s very likely that he is going to win. My concern about Akun is the same as with Bakir uulu. Their offices are covered with green flags and verses from Koran. In Kyrgyz context it means that ‘human rights’ will be interpreted based on Koran which is a scary development.