Lawmakers reject controversial NGO law in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK (TCA) — The parliament of Kyrgyzstan has voted to reject a draft law on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding.

After the bill’s third reading on May 12, lawmakers voted 65-46 against the legislation, which rights activists denounced as discriminatory and contrary to international human rights standards, RFE/RL reported.

Originally proposed in 2013, the bill was based on Russia’s 2012 “foreign agents” law, which NGOs say has been used to silence dissent.

In April, the latest draft of the proposed Kyrgyz legislation switched the controversial “foreign agent” label to “foreign noncommercial organization”. It also watered down the heavy reporting burden for NGOs that receive foreign funding to a simpler requirement to publish annual expenditure and funding reports online.

Despite the changes, rights advocates continued to oppose the text.

The Kyrgyz public and international organizations have repeatedly asked the parliament and president of Kyrgyzstan to reject the controversial law, as it would affect practically all Kyrgyz NGOs because they are all dependent on foreign grants.    

Speaking during the consideration of the law on May 12, Janar Akayev, a parliament member from the pro-presidential Social Democratic Party, said that adoption of the bill would cause a serious damage to the image of Kyrgyzstan.  

“Many international organizations have expressed concern about this document, because they assist us in developing our economy sectors, and we need their assistance,” quoted the MP as saying.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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