11/25/2022, 11.42
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Kyrgyz civil society questions rights and freedoms

by Vladimir Rozanskij

According to the participants of the 5th Civil Forum, government restrictions impede the development of society. President Zaparov is targeted, accused of weakening parliamentary democracy. The danger of one man in charge. Minimal public debate on proposed media law.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The 5th Civil Forum entitled "Maga baari bir emes!" ("I am not indifferent!") was held in Biškek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. It addressed the issues of the relationship between the state and citizens, the importance of personal rights and freedoms, and the consequences of the indifference of the masses in the development of Kyrgyz society, with the participation of activists, politicians, entrepreneurs, experts and journalists.

Political scientist Emil Džuraev, one of the protagonists of the meeting, said that the restriction of rights and freedoms hinders the development of society: 'We must realise what Iskhak Razzakov [famous Kyrgyz politician from Soviet times] used to say that if you are clean and I am clean, then society will also be clean'. He recalls the slogans of Kyrgyzstan's authorities, starting with President Sadyr Žaparov, who constantly repeat that 'people are the country's main wealth', but 'for this to be realised, we must care about the rights of our people', Džuraev concludes.

The previous four forums were not as full of tension as this year, assures humanitarian activist Baktybek Abdullaev. He notes that 'our country's legality rate is 87th in the world rating, which means that the law is only enforced for some, as recent events in Kyrgyzstan testify'. The situation could degenerate into conflicts at all levels, according to Abdullaev, 'repeating the experience of 2005, 2010 and 2020'.

The former deputy of the Žogorku Keneš (National Parliament), Abdyvakhap Nurbaev, believes that the limitation of parliamentary democracy and the concentration of power in the hands of one, has led to the weakening of social control. This would be the result of the change in the system of government under Žaparov: 'All politicians and parties that come to power talk about the people, then become selfish and change their nature... the more civil society is able to control the rulers, the cleaner they will act'.

The sociologist and researcher Gulnara Ibraeva commented on the results of a survey on the current state of civil consciousness in Kyrgyzstan, noting that 'Kyrgyz society is increasingly oriented towards traditional values, albeit in a rather superficial way, looking more at outward manifestations than at the substance of ethical dimensions'.

Much was also discussed about solidarity between all citizens, the ways of dialogue to reach shared decisions, and the strengthening of social control at all levels, seeking the most appropriate ways to re-establish a true confrontation between the ruling class and the entire civil society of Kyrgyzstan.

There are signs from the state authorities of a possible revision of some points of the much-discussed draft media law by forming a joint working group to which at least 20 representatives of the media sector are invited. A document will be drafted to be submitted to the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe 'for democracy through law', which is also the result of a round-table discussion held in Biškek a few days ago on 'Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Express One's Own Opinions: Legislative Initiatives'.

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