Rights of believers and non-believers in Kyrgyzstan

There are new arguments for an interpretation of human rights that are raised by the organized Muslim believers. I heard this argument in relation to homosexuality, that ‘homosexuals violate the rights of 4 million Muslim believers in Kyrgyzstan for whom homosexuality is a sin’. Today the president and the new Constitution are violating the rights of believers, writes 24.kg. First of all, the Constitution states that Kyrgyzstan is a secular state which means that Kyrgyzstan is a ‘godless, spiritual-less and moralless state’ said Akim Toktaliev (source: 24.kg), chair of the committee of protection of the Kyrgyz people’s honor and dignity.

There is an ongoing discussion about wearing hijabs to school in the South. Girls could be dropping out of schools (which has been a trend before) without the possibility to wear what their religion instructs them to do.

From gender point of view, the main concern is freedom of expression and belief. There are more and more women in Bishkek wearing hijabs. People living in Jal district of Bishkek report being woken up at 5 am by visitors from nearby mosque who are asking all men in the family to come for a prayer. If a woman opens the door and her hair is not covered, the male visitors turn away and ask her to call her husband or another male relative to the door. Would it be possible for a woman who chose not to cover her hair or body to speak in Parliament or walk on the streets without ‘violating rights of believers’?

Referendum and parliament to be dissolved

This morning is a surprising morning for me because I am looking at yesterday’s referendum results. It is the usual 80% attendance and 75% voting ‘yes’. It was likely that people would vote ‘yes’ but did they know that there are quotas to be introduced?

The NGOs and political scientists are concerned about the time limits within which referendum was organized and the flawed voting process. President Bakiev decided that the parliament should be dissolved. My concern is whether the  quotas for women and young people will be really implemented in the new parliament and how potential candidates will prepare to elections if they are to happen in a month.

sexual violence: a hidden issue?

When I worked in a research project on domestiс violence, we did not dare to ask the interviewees about their experience with sexual violence. There are no services that I know of in Bishkek that deal with sexual violence. In the coming weeks I am planning to gather information on this issue and provide insights on how it is viewed in Kyrgyzstan.