Kyrgyzstan UPR Outcome
Agenda Item 6, Human Rights Council, 45th Session
United Nations Watch
Video speech delivered by M. Luis Cohn Pelaez,
28 September 2020
United Nations Watch welcomes this debate over the report on the human rights record of Kyrgyzstan.
We note that of the 89 country statements in the report, no less than 78 praised the government’s human rights record.
Let us consider the report’s claims.
First, in paragraph 121, the report quotes the Government claiming that they are trying to form a trilingual generation of citizens, which will preserve the native language of ethnic communities.
The truth, however, is that the government suppresses the culture and opportunity of Uzbek children, by mandating high school examinations to be in the Kyrgyz or Russian languages. According to the State Statistics Committee, the number of Uzbek schools for grades 1 through 11 fell from 141 in 2002, to just 43 in 2018.
Second, in paragraph 129, we are told the Constitution protects journalists. In fact, however, the Kyrgyz government curtails freedom of expression, using vague counter-terrorism laws to block internet access, shut down independent news agencies like Ferghana, and arrest or exile journalists like Ulugbek Babakulov.
Third, in paragraph 132 we are told that the new Code of Criminal Procedure had established that “evidence obtained through torture was inadmissible.”
Why then did the Kyrgyz Supreme Court, just this May, uphold the unjust sentence against human rights activist Azimjan Askarov? This was done in contempt of the UN Human Rights Committee, which found that that he had been “arbitrarily detained, held in inhumane conditions, tortured, mistreated, and prevented from adequately preparing his trial defense.” Tragically, just two months ago, he died in prison.
We ask Kyrgyzstan: When will you release others convicted through the use of torture?
And we ask this council: Does a report that overwhelmingly praises Kyrgyzstan for alleged human rights progress accurately reflect the situation?
I thank you, Madam President.