• KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01181 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09411 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 6

NGOs in Kyrgyzstan Have Two Months to Register as “Foreign Agents”

Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Justice has approved the creation of a register for "non-governmental organizations performing the functions of a foreign representative", which gives authorities the right to inspect their activities. All non-profit agencies that receive foreign funding have been given two months from 16 May to submit documents to the ministry. Kyrgyz president Sadyr Zhaparov signed the law "on Foreign Representatives" on April 2, despite over 100 organizations and civil society figures appealing for him not to do so. Zhaparov made assurances at the time that non-governmental organizations would not be persecuted. Local NGOs funded from abroad that are engaged in political activities in Kyrgyzstan are now recognized as "performing the functions of a foreign representative", and are placed in a separate register. Organizations included in this register -- so-called 'foreign agents' -- may be subjected to various unscheduled inspections. Several international organizations, as well as the United States and certain countries in the European Union, have voiced criticisms of the new law. After it came into force, the Soros-Kyrgyzstan Foundation announced that it would be terminating its activities in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan’s Law on NGOs: What Alarms Human Rights Activists?

In April 2024 Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov signed a law on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Now all NGOs must submit full financial reports and register with the Ministry of Justice. Despite the authorities' statements about the need for a document regulating the financing of such organizations, the law has numerous opponents. President Japarov himself claims that some NGOs have deceived donors by using foreign funds -- meant for roundtable discussions, training sessions and projects -- for personal purposes. "If you say that this is not true, I can prove it. Why do NGOs in developed countries register with the Ministry of Justice, tax service, open a bank account and do not do the same when they come to us? Or are we a second-rate country? No, we are not. We will not allow such dubious actions anymore," Japarov said after criticism from NGO representatives. Under the new legislation, an NGO that has received foreign aid will be called a "foreign representative". Public activists claim that the rule is consonant with the Russian law on foreign agent status for nonprofits that accept foreign funding. Such a situation will carry certain reputational risks: according to the law, organizations that receive funding from abroad and deal with political issues must be included in a special register and operate under the control of state bodies. In an interview with The Times of Central Asia, Azisbek Ashurov, head of the NGO 'Lawyers of Fergana Valley Without Borders' and a human rights activist, spoke about the pitfalls of the law. In Ashurov's opinion, the document is designed to limit the activities of the private sector. "We are concerned about the re-registration procedure itself. Either it is just an application procedure, or someone will approve, make decisions. When decisions are made, how transparent and non-corrupt will it be?" he asked. Ashurov gave the example that in Kyrgyzstan there are NGOs providing legal assistance to citizens. If there is a dispute with a government body, the decision is challenged in the courts. However, now such structures will be dependent on the state and will not be able to work fully independently. "State bodies have been authorized to interfere in the activities of NGOs. This is participation in their internal activities. We discuss some of our cases [via] collegiums, when lawyers discuss the strategy for different cases. Now, imagine, a representative of the state will sit and listen to confidential information that in the interest of the citizen we should not disclose. The balance is grossly upset. The adversarial principle is violated if we are preparing for court hearings against state bodies, for example, against the Ministry of Justice," Ashurov added. According to him, the Ministry of Justice was given the opportunity to suspend the activities of NGOs for violations. However, the current legislative framework doesn't specify the violations for which an NGO can be suspended. The law prescribes that state bodies may request information from NGOs -- however, it's not specified what kind of information should be provided. In...

Open Society to Close its Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, Citing Law on Foreign-Funded NGOs

The Open Society Foundations said it will close its national foundation in Kyrgyzstan after the country’s parliament passed a new law that tightens control over non-governmental groups that receive foreign funding. Open Society, which was founded by billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, said Monday that the law“imposes restrictive, broad, and ill-defined regulations” on internationally funded NGOs. The decision to pull out of Kyrgyzstan came two weeks after the country’s president, Sadyr Japarov, signed the law, saying more rigorous registration requirements and financial oversight would make non-governmental groups more accountable. The dispute between the government of Kyrgyzstan and foreign-funded groups represent a wider struggle over the direction of the Central Asian country. Opponents of Japarov believe he is systematically rolling back relative freedoms inKyrgyzstan. The president says local NGOS are embezzling money from foreign donors, an allegation denied by civil society groups. The Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan has spent more than $115 million on projects in education, public health, criminal justice, supplying water to rural communities and other areas since it opened in 1993, a year in which the Central Asian nation was mired in crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union, Open Society said. Under the new law, foreign-funded NGOs must “report broadly defined ‘political’ activities to the authorities” and risk uncertain consequences, Open Society said in a statement. Its president, Binaifer Nowrojee, said “this repressive new law will see civil society operate in a climate of uncertainty and intimidation.” The Open Society Foundations, which funds activities in more than 120 countries, says it aims to promote justice, human rights and democratic governance. It says it joins “policy debates on controversial issues that other funders might avoid” and the group has attracted criticism from conservative and authoritarian leaders in a number of countries. The United Nations has expressed concern about Kyrgyzstan’s so-called “foreign representatives” law. Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on April 8 that many affected NGOs could close to avoid possible arbitrary checks by the authorities or having to pay for annual audits, or might end up self-censoring if they continue operations.

Bishkek Tightens Grip on NGOs

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyzstan´s President said on Tuesday that he has approved a law that tightens control over non-governmental organizations which receive foreign funding, despite concerns that the measure could erode basic freedoms and services. President Sadyr Japarov defied international pressure to refrain from signing the law, which was passed by an overwhelming margin in Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament on March 14. In a Facebook post, he said the measure would make NGOs more accountable and increase transparency, an assertion that critics say is misleading. For decades, NGOs “just opened bank accounts, took money from foreign donors and used it as they saw fit, including for personal purposes,” Japarov said. “From now on they will be registered with the Ministry of Justice like everyone else. They will open bank accounts. They will start to work openly. There will be no more confusion.” NGOs “spread false information, saying 'we will be persecuted, we will be arrested as agents of a foreign state'. And the donors believed it,” said Japarov, adding that “there will be no persecution” of the groups. Critics say the law represents a slow-moving crackdown that rolls back efforts to develop civil society with the help of foreign governments and other institutions. “We're deeply disappointed that Kyrgyzstan's president Sadyr Japarov has signed the repressive law on 'foreign representatives,' citing misleading, untrue arguments about NGOs,” said the International Partnership for Human Rights, a Brussels-based group.  “At least get the facts straight,” Syinat Sultanalieva, a Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said of Japarov’s statement, adding that it was wrong of Japarov to suggest that NGOs “never registered and did not submit reports and basically ran amok unchecked.” In his statement, Japarov bristled at criticism from Western-affiliated institutions and said there was a double standard. “Why do non-governmental organizations in developed Western countries register with the Ministry of Justice, the Tax Service, open a bank account and not do the same when they come to us?” he said. “Or are we a second-class country? No, we are not. We will no longer allow such dubious actions.” Japarov had previously accused NGOs of spreading “inaccurate information,” emphasizing that the draft law “is close to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) adopted in 1938 in the United States.”. Some opponents claim it is based on Russia´s “foreign agents” law, and could be used as an instrument of oppression.

Kyrgyzstan Tightens Control Over Foreign-Funded NGOs

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyzstan´s parliament has passed a law that tightens control over foreign funded non-governmental organizations despite international concerns that the measure would further erode rights and access to basic services in the Central Asia country. Supporters of the law have characterized the law as a way to ward off foreign interference in Kyrgyzstan, while critics say it represents a slow-moving crackdown that rolls back efforts to develop civil society with the help of international governments and other institutions. The Jogorku Kenesh, or parliament, approved the law by a vote of 66-5 on Thursday. The government has said the law would assign the status of a foreign agent to NGOs, media and other institutions, as well as individuals in some cases, that are financed from abroad. Furthermore, materials posted on behalf of foreign principals on the Internet will be required to contain the phrase: “Materials (information) were produced, distributed and (or) sent by a non-profit organization performing the functions of a foreign representative.” Violations of the law could lead to criminal penalties. President Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyzstan has said that “only a small number, but a [quite] vociferous group, of these structures financed by foreign states… is a source of inaccurate information for their grantors”. Last month, Japarov pushed back against concerns about the draft law that were expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a written response emphasizing that the draft law – which MPs initiated and adopted in its first reading – “is close to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) adopted in 1938 in the United States”. “My only request is that you do not interfere in the internal affairs of our country,” Japarov said. Some opponents claim it is based on Russia´s “foreign agents” law and could be used as an instrument of oppression. Members of non-governmental groups and other critics strongly opposed the draft law as it moved toward ratification in the parliament. On March, 15 groups wrote to four international finance institutions that are backing projects in Kyrgyzstan and asked them to join their efforts to block it. “The law would inevitably create a climate of fear, preventing people, including workers, human rights defenders and civil society organizations, from speaking out due to fear of reprisals,” the groups said in their letter to the Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and World Bank. Separately this week, the government in Kyrgyzstan withdrew a draft law on the media that critics said would have restricted free speech. Among the terms of the measure was the right of government agencies to revoke a journalist’s accreditation if it disapproved of the reporter’s coverage of an issue.

Why Are You Allowed and We Are Not? Japarov Responds to U.S. on Foreign Agents Law

The Kyrgyz presidential administration published a letter of response from Sadyr Japarov to U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. It follows a letter to the Kyrgyz leader in which the top U.S. diplomat expressed concern about the draft law titled "On Non-Profit organizations," which tightens control over their activities in Kyrgyzstan. In his response letter to Blinken, Japarov thanked the American official for his appreciation of the work of the 78th UN General Assembly last September, where the Kyrgyz President urged the international community to support Kyrgyzstan's environmental and green projects. But, he also noted with regret that U.S. authorities are interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs, emphasizing that the desire for justice and freedom is a distinctive feature of his home nation. "Regarding your concerns about the draft law on foreign agents... there are tens of thousands of non-governmental (NGOs)/non-profit organizations (NPOs) that are successfully working throughout Kyrgyzstan, addressing many problems on which the state previously had neither the will nor the desire to do something. At the same time, it should be recognized that some NGOs/[NPOs] receive funding from abroad, and not only from the U.S. and EU countries," the president wrote. According to Japarov, the Kyrgyz state, by legal definition, intends to control such organizations - namely, where their money comes from and for what purposes it is used. The president emphasized that the draft law - which MPs initiated and adopted in its first reading - is very similar to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) adopted in 1938 in the United States. According to the president, the analogous American law assigns the status of a foreign agent and controls not only the mass media but also any individuals and legal entities financed from abroad. At the same time, violations of this law or delays in registering an organization in the United States are fraught with not only administrative but also criminal penalties. "In this connection, the question cannot [help] but arise: why are you allowed and we are not allowed?" the Kyrgyz President asked rhetorically. In his letter, Japarov said that in accordance with the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan, human and civil rights and freedoms - including the right to freedom of speech and the right to association - may be restricted by law to protect national security, public order, health and public morals, as well as to protect the rights and freedoms of others. In this right, Kyrgyzstan is no different from other countries. Japarov noted that it seems to him that when Blinken addressed him, he relied on unreliable information from NGOs who had earlier criticized the draft law. Japarov said that this information didn't allow the U.S. foreign policy chief to draw an objective picture of the situation with human rights and freedoms in Kyrgyzstan. "Only a small number, but a [quite] vociferous group, of these structures financed by foreign states... is a source of inaccurate information for their grantors. In addition, these nongovernmental structures often spread false, inaccurate information among the people, which...