Kyrgyzstan: Attack against WHRD and other NGO workersEvent
- Initial Date
- Jan 29, 2020
- Event Description
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about an attack and threats against Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova and other representatives of the non-governmental human rights organisation “Legal clinic ‘Adilet’” (Adilet)
during a public discussion of a controversial draft law amending the current legislation on non-governmental organisations.
According to the information received, on January 29, 2020, representatives of the Adilet convened a roundtable to facilitate public discussion of the draft law № 6-28018/19, which was introduced to the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan (Jogorku Kenesh) in December 2019. Adilet had earlier criticized the proposed amendments in media and on its website as tightening the State control over the nonprofit sector and undermining the freedom of association in Kyrgyzstan.At 9 am on January 29, 2020, just prior to the beginning of the roundtable, a group of 11 unknown individuals attempted to break into the conference room of the “Europa Hotel” in Bishkek, where the event took place. The perpetrators were shouting threats and insults directed at employees of Adilet, securing the entrance, and their attempts to get in persisted for more than two hours. Around 11.30 a.m., the perpetrators managed to break in pushing away the employees of Adilet. One of the employees sustained bruises as a result of the assault. After entering the room, the perpetrators started threatening the employees with physical attacks — including by menacing to beat them with bricks and armatures, — and with the dissemination of false messages alleging that Adilet employees belong to the LGBT+ community and thus promote LGBT+ rights; a sensitive field of work association with which could cause a violent backlash against human rights defenders among the general public. They also shouted insults at the director of the Adilet Ms. Cholpon Dzhakupova and other participants, including the Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Tokon Mamytov and Ms. Asel Arzybaeva, the Representative of the President’s Office. The representatives of the United Nations Development Programme office in Kyrgyzstan, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, German and the United States diplomatic missions present at the event witnessed the assault. Partly, the incident was captured on video by the attendees of the event and a number of Kyrgyz media published them.
The Observatory is particularly concerned with inaction of the authorities regarding the protection of Adilet members: one of the attendees called the police, however police officers remained at the venue for 20 minutes and left, without taking any concrete measures in securing the safety of participants of the round table, including by arresting the assailants. As of the date of publication of this Urgent Appeal, the identities of these individuals remain unknown, however, they presented themselves as civil society activists and claimed that they received information about the roundtable from one of the authors of the draft law, deputy Mr. B. Raiymkulov. On January 30, 2020, Adilet lodged a complaint before the Internal Affairs Office of the Sverdlovsk District of Bishkek requesting impartial investigation into the case and urging the authorities to ensure the safety of the human rights defenders employees of Adilet. The authorities registered the complaint in the appropriate manner.
The Observatory fears that these attacks constitute a reprisal for the critical attitude of Adilet and its employees towards the legislation, including the above mentioned draft law, which limits the independence of civil society organisations. The attack against the human rights defenders seems particularly disturbing against the backdrop of systematic attempts by the Kyrgys authorities to tighten State control over civil society and the rising number of far-right groups harassing civil society activists and independent journalists.
The Observatory strongly condemns the attack against the Adilet members and the inaction of the authorities regarding the increasing attacks, acts of harassment and provocations against human rights defenders, and urges the State to take swift and stern measures to reverse the current trend detrimental to the independence of the civil society and democracy in Kyrgyzstan.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Intimidation and Threats
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of association
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to protect reputation
- NGO staff
- Public Servant
- Extremist group
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 29 January 2020, Cholpon Dzhakupova, WHRD, thr national ombudsman and other staff from the NGO Adilet were raided, threatened ad vilified by a group of unknown extremists while holding an event to discuss the new law on NGOs in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.