Kyrgyz Authorities Promise Not to Persecute Human Rights Advocates Using Foreign Agent Law

Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, Edil Baisalov met with representatives of domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs), where he assured participants that the new Foreign Agent’s Law is not aimed at restricting the work of NGOs. All rights and freedoms have been preserved, and human rights defenders can participate in the political life of the country, Baisalov stated.

“The only thing required is to be on the register. This requirement is common around the world. There will be no persecution; no restrictions on activities. We are interested in the activities of [NGOs] for the benefit of our country,” Baisalov said.

Earlier, the Times of Central Asia reported on human rights activists concerns regarding reputational risks, possible interference by government agencies in the work of NGOs, and the risk of mandatory financial audits. There were also questions about the implementation of new legislative guidelines, most of which, according to opponents of the law, are not viable.

The Kyrgyz Ministry of Justice responded to an inquiry from the Times of Central Asia, with officials saying that bylaws and rule-making for the new law are in the works. However, more detailed information will be provided later, when the updates and amendments are submitted for public discussion.

In early April, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov signed the law “On Foreign Representatives,” which sparked a wave of criticism from foreign organizations, foreign governments, and NGOs working in Kyrgyzstan.
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Askar Alimzhanov graduated from the journalism department of the Kazakh State University named after S. Kirov, then worked as a correspondent for the daily republican newspaper Leninskaya Smen. He then moved to the United States to be a reporter for the daily newspaper "Cape Cod Times" in Hayanis, Massachusetts, (USA) under the journalist exchange program between the Union of Journalists of the USSR and the New England Society of News Editors. Since then, he has helped build transparency and understanding of Central Asia region in various executive level positions at esteemed media organizations including "Akbar"(Alma-Ata) international center for journalism, the Khabar News agency, the Television and Radio Corporation "Kazakhstan" JSC, and MIR- Kazakhstan.

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