Female head of Kyrgyz Central Election Commission resigns over threats

Today Klara Kabilova, former head of the Central Election Commission, made a statement about receiving threats from Maksim Bakiev, son of President Kurmanbek Bakiev. In her statements she mentions that he swore at her and threatened her safety.

I am not surprised that this happened. Kyrgyz masculinity is very violent, quite a few men find it acceptable to threaten other people, swear at them and use violence to pressure a person into agreeing or submitting. It is seen as part of being a man and hardly challenged. I want to give credit to Klara for speaking up against abuse. In her statement she highlights power dynamic between her and the president’s son.  She is older than him, a woman, a mother, a daughter of elderly parents and holds an important government position. I hope she is feeling safe where she is right now. I am so glad that I am away from political opposition now and am dealing with ‘soft issues’ though who knows what is going to happen after CEDAW session or OSCE Human Dimension Meeting.  Again thank you to Klara for speaking up, I hope more people will do that to make the state transparent and to put an end to abuse of authority and nepotism.

Vigil on the occasion of Transgender Remembrance Day in Bishkek

Candles at Ala Too Square on Transgender Remembrance Day 

Every year around 40 transgender people are reported to be murdered worldwide.  Dozens and maybe hundreds more go unreported.  Since 1998 transgender movements all over the world commemorate 20 November as a Transgender Remembrance Day.Policeman who wanted to know what was happeningPoliceman who wanted to know what was happening  

Bishkek activists, mostly lesbian, bisexual women and transgender people gathered at Ala-Too square to honor those transgender people who were killed in hate crimes.  In Kyrgyzstan transgender people often experience violence from their families, police and street gangs.  There were no murder cases reported, but the activist community is aware of dozens of cases of severe violence against transgender people. The Kyrgyz cases include death threats, persecution and severe beatings from families. One transgender woman had to flee Kyrgyzstan fearing for her life.

Participants of the event lit candles for 26 murdered transgender people and released 26 baloons with the victims’ names on them.  Each event participant had two candles and balloons with case information.

 Transgender Remembrance Day

 The organizers of event feared that the police might detain them for an unsanctioned meeting, yet the policeperson who stopped by only asked what was happening.

Policeman who wanted to know what was happening