03/17/2023, 09.12
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Kyrgyz parliament calls for death penalty for paedophiles

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Popular referendum proposed on the issue. President Sadyr Žaparov's approval needed. Humanitarian activist opposed: no to punishment contrary to international conventions. Violence against minors on the rise in the country. Parents often go abroad for work and children are left without family protection.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Members of the Kyrgyz parliament have put forward a proposal to introduce the death penalty for paedophiles. They propose a popular referendum, which now depends on President Sadyr Žaparov's approval. A very large majority of parliamentarians gave the initiative the green light.

However, humanitarian activist Nazgul Turdubekova, director of the League for the Defence of Children's Rights, did not approve the proposal, as she explained in an interview with Currentime. Turdubekova recalls that 'Kyrgyzstan is a democratic and civilised country, which has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other UN conventions, rejecting this kind of personal punishment, such as the death penalty'.

Turdubekova notes that the growth of sexual violence against children in the country is worrying, and that 'our legislation on the defence of children is so morally outdated that it is incapable of dealing with the current challenges'.

His foundation has repeatedly approached Parliament to urge a redrafting of the children's code, which would include the training of special forces to defend children against sexual violence in their localities, allocating a significant percentage of social workers to this task.

In the 30 years of Kyrgyzstan's existence, 'there has never been a single worker to deal specifically with this problem, and support for families at the local level,' the activist recalls, while this is absolutely necessary. "In the conditions in our country, in one in four families, children grow up practically without parents," due to labour migration to support the families. Children are entrusted to grandparents and various relatives, without any real parental protection.

Turdubekova notes that the experience of various nations where the death penalty has been applied shows that the problem of sexual violence is neither solved nor mitigated: 'It is not an effective method of preventing violence against children. It would be much better to insist on the institution of social control in the territory, but the deputies have not listened to these proposals, as the League leader repeats, while 'it is precisely relatives and neighbours who are the main threat to children'.

Not to mention that the death penalty 'would cost much more than social care, because to enforce the sentence you have to create special prison sections, and hire executioners'. In conclusion, Turdubekova states that 'we are in danger of losing our image as a country with a human and democratic face, and in general we are worsening the situation in the defence of human rights, as we also observe a great increase in errors in court rulings'. In his opinion, miscarriages of justice can also be seen in the more developed countries in this respect, "what can we say then about Kyrgyzstan?".

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