European Parliament urges Kyrgyzstan to drop anti-LGBTI bill

Protest against Kyrgyzstan's proposed anti-"gay propaganda" law
2014 protest against Kyrgyzstan’s proposed anti-“gay propaganda” law

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights reports:

In a resolution adopted today, the European Parliament calls on Kyrgyzstan to reject a bill which would censor information on LGBTI issues. The draft law would punish the dissemination of information “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations.”

Kyrgyzstan flag
Kyrgyzstan flag

The Kyrgyz bill closely resembles the Russian anti-propaganda law, but foresees harsher punishments: persons found ‘guilty’ face up to one year imprisonment.

The European Parliament – acknowledging general democratic progress in the country – calls on the Kyrgyz Parliament to reject the bill, and urges politicians to refrain from hate speech against LGBTI people.

Furthermore, the Parliament supports the recommendations by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which highlight Kyrgyzstan should combat all forms of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity (see 15.24, 15.25, 15.26).

Earlier, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR) already urged Kyrgyzstan to reject the bill.

Relations between the EU and Kyrgyzstan are organised through the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which includes a clause allowing sanctions in case of human rights breaches.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, reacted: “If this bill is passed, anyone who speaks positively about LGBTI issues can be imprisoned. This is an attack on the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and the right to non-discrimination for the Kyrgyz people, in particular LGBTI people.”

Arrow indicates the location of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia.
Arrow indicates the location of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia.

“If the Kyrgyz parliament is serious about its constitution which protects human and civil rights, it should reject this bill.”

Beatriz Becerra MEP, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, added: “In just one day, over 34 000 people have called on us to denounce this extreme anti-propaganda bill. This sends a strong signal to us, the Commission and the External Action Service to up the pressure on Kyrgyzstan to prevent this bill from turning into law.”

“We have all seen the horrible consequences of the Russian anti-propaganda bill: a clampdown on NGOs, forbidden prides and organised hate crime against LGBTI people. We urge Kyrgyzstan to not to follow the path of state-sponsored homophobia, and unreservedly support and promote the fundamental rights of all its citizens.”

The bill passed the first reading on 15 October 2014, but needs an additional two readings and presidential approval before turning into law.

The Intergroup on LGBTI Rights is an informal forum for Members of the European Parliament who wish to advance and protect the fundamental rights of LGBTI people.

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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