Center activities

"Strengthening Resilience to Radicalization and Disinformation in Central Asia"

Project goal: To promote respect for freedom of religion or belief, and to prevent religious discrimination and persecution by supporting lawyers and others who provide legal assistance to victims of abuse.

Period: November 2019-July 2021

Target group: Attorneys and others providing legal assistance to victims of wrongdoing.

Project Objectives:

1. Improve access to justice for victims of religious discrimination.

2. Addressing the lack of legal knowledge of discrimination and prosecution based on religion.

Project Outcomes:

1. Developed 10 articles on mechanisms and tools to respond and protect victims of discrimination and religious persecution. Each article includes article-by-article commentary on relevant NLAs, tools and mechanisms of protection, analysis of local law enforcement practice. All articles are also available at defendingforb.org in Kyrgyz, Russian and English.

The articles cover the following topics:

Also during the preparation of articles were identified conflicts of provisions of certain normative legal acts in the state and official languages. The conflicts were reflected in the table, which can also be found at defendingforb.org

2. Conducted training on "Freedom of Religious and Other Beliefs: Protection of Victims of Discrimination and Persecution on the Basis of Religion" for 18 local court judges;

Participants of the training in Bishkek during the discussion

3. Conducted 3 trainings on "Mechanisms and tools for the protection of victims of discrimination based on religion" for lawyers and legal professionals. A total of 64 lawyers from the territorial offices of Bishkek, Osh, Batken, Jalal-Abad, Issyk-Kul, Osh, Talas and Chui regions participated in the training.

What I take in knowledge here, I carry it all over to our students. And today's topic was freedom of religious and other beliefs: the protection of victims of discrimination and persecution on the basis of religious affiliation. Now it is considered very relevant in our difficult time, and we are very, very grateful to this center that these trainings are being held and organized in a timely manner. Thank you very much.

Training participant Nurgul Mukambetova, lawyer, lecturer at J. Balasagyn Kyrgyz National University

4. Two lawyers who participated in the training received legal advice on discrimination on the basis of religion;

5. Support was provided to attorneys and lawyers in three cases related to discrimination on the basis of religion. The first case concerned citizens of Baptist Christianity who faced discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, the investigation was eventually terminated by the investigator's decision for reconciliation of the parties. A case involving a teacher's prohibition on a student from wearing a religious headscarf was resolved through administrative procedures. The case related to the prohibition to go to the pool in a Muslim bathing suit (burkini) is still under investigation;

Meeting of the expert working group on the development of the new draft law

6. A draft of a new version of the law on freedom of religion and religious associations in the Kyrgyz Republic was developed. For this purpose IDRC supported 5 experts to develop the draft law. A justification statement and a draft law on amendments to related legal acts were also developed for the draft law. The draft law underwent five types of expertise (gender, legal, human rights, anti-corruption, and conflict-sensitive). The draft law, justification and conclusion of the legal expertise were translated into the Kyrgyz language;

7. As part of the inventory of legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic, expert assistance was provided to the State Commission on religious affairs under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. For this purpose an expert was supported to conduct legal expertise of the current Law of the Kyrgyz Republic "On Freedom of Religion and Religious Organizations in the Kyrgyz Republic" from 2008. Conclusion of legal expertise was sent to all stakeholders involved in the assessment of this law (Ministry of Justice, experts from the Ministry of Justice, Public Council of the Ministry of Justice, civil society organizations, UN organizations);

8. Presentation and discussion of assessment of the current Law of the Kyrgyz Republic "On Freedom of Religion and Religious Organizations in the Kyrgyz Republic" from 2008 and draft of new version of the Law was held with participation of stakeholders, including experts from the Ministry of Justice, Interagency Expert Group on legislation inventory, Public Council of the Ministry of Justice, civil society organizations and UN bodies.