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Kyrgyzstan plea: Please help oppose anti-gay bill

As reported in June, Kyrgyzstan has moved to the verge of aligning itself more closely with Russia by making it a crime to say anything positive about homosexuality. The Kyrgyz bill is harsher than Russia’s law, because it would apply to all types of communication, not just statements made in the presence of minors.
Now, activists from Kyrgyzstan have launched a call to action.  They ask international LGBTI communities to mobilize support for their efforts to defeat the proposed homophobic propaganda law.  In a recent communiqué to the global community, they propose five ways to support these efforts. These are the means proposed by the Kyrgyz activists:

Anti-LGBT protest at Kyrgyz parliament (Photo courtesy of Dastanik.Juk.com)
Anti-LGBT protest at Kyrgyz parliament (Photo courtesy of Dastanik.Juk.com)

Five ways the global community can support efforts by the LGBTIQ activists in Kyrgyzstan to stop the proposed homophobic propaganda law.

1. Get the word out on the Kyrgyz propaganda law

Use all means to contact international organizations, foreign ministries and mass media to inform them about the propaganda law bill in Kyrgyzstan.
Use social media to speak up against the law bill. You can receive more information about the situation from local LGBTI activists in Kyrgyzstan. Here’s the list of English-speaking activists and their contacts (this is public information and can be shared):

Focus on the following issues:

  • Negative effects of the bill on the LGBTI communities, their health, rights and freedoms, as well as on the general political and social situation in Kyrgyzstan.
  • The bill is one of many other anti human rights legislative initiatives that contribute to a shrinking space for civil society.
  • Relate the propaganda bill to other draconian laws, e.g. on foreign agents, espionage, etc.
  •  The bill is part of a legislative package imported from Putin’s Russia. Mention pressure and intrusion by Russia into the political life of Kyrgyzstan and the possible threat to independence of the country.

2. Speak up and act up

Activists ask you to organize, join and participate in all offline and online campaigns/flashmobs/demonstrations against the bill .  They also ask you to organize meetings in front of Kyrgyz embassies and consulates to create international pressure on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan as well as on Parliament. You may also want to meet with and discuss the bill with diplomats in your area, or with officials in your home country’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

Kyrgyzstan is located between Kazakstan and China (Map courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Kyrgyzstan is located between Kazakstan and China (Map courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Activists say they have “exhausted almost all domestic means to stop the bill”, including internal procedures by Jogorku Kenesh, the Parliament. Now there’s a need for strong international pressure. They are calling for public statements to be issued particularly by officials from “non-Western” countries in Asia and in Latin American. Outreach to friendly Imams and Islamic religious leaders to openly condemn the law bill would also be very helpful.
Messages must be well articulated and evidence-based. They should always mention the progress achieved by the Kyrgyz Government and Parliament in achieving parliamentary democracy, fighting corruption and devoted to universal human rights standards.
They call for all to demand that multinational corporations present in Kyrgyzstan speak up against the bill, to express their concerns for the safety of their own employees.  This includes Coca Cola, Nokia Tietoliikenne Oy, Apple, and Kumtor Gold Company.
For any action taken, please, let LGBTIQ activists in Kyrgyzstan know by informing them and sending them copies.  They will insure that all statements are translated and delivered to decision-makers.

3. Ask donors to review their policies and programs in Kyrgyzstan 

Kyrgyz activists demand donors carefully assess their programs in Kyrgyzstan and make sure that their local partners do not support homophobia and transphobia. We demand donor organizations review their funding to organizations that fail to respect human rights and/or support the bill, propagate hate or encourage violence against LGBTI.
They also oppose any cuts in general funding for crucial services; instead we prefer reviewing and re-structuring policies to make sure that they are human rights based and prioritize the most vulnerable communities. If donors support service providers, they must demand the service providers address the needs of LGBTI communities. Donors also must prioritize funding urgent advocacy, community mobilization and politicization, movement building, forming public opinion, security for LGBTI human rights defenders, and alternative mass media that focus on human rights.

4. International organizations and governments must impose sanctions on public homophobes

Narynbek Moldobaev (Photo courtesy of Dastanik.Juk.com)
Narynbek Moldobaev, member of the Kyrgyz parliament, who said he would like to shoot LGBT people. (Photo courtesy of Dastanik.Juk.com)

They demand sanctions such as visa restrictions, denied entry, and freezing the financial assets of public homophobes, who have expressed hate speech in local media and incite violence and hatred against LGBTI. Many of these homophobes travel a lot as part of various developmental programs and even programs on human rights.
The Kyrgyz activists ask international organizations not to support these public homophobes financially and avoid inviting them to meetings and conferences until they overcome their homophobia and publicly condemn the bill.  The updated list of public homophobes is on this link.

5. Advocate for better asylum policies for LGBTI from Kyrgyzstan

We ask you to advocate for more transparent, as well as abuse and violence-free asylum procedures and for your countries to prioritize the granting of asylum to LGBTI from Kyrgyzstan.
Links to support and resource materials:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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