Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan): Human Rights Office Critical of Draft LGBT Law

(Oct. 28, 2014) On October 24, 2014, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for the abandonment of a draft law being considered by the Kyrgyz Parliament because, the U.N. body asserts, it would discriminate against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered communities. Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the OHCHR, stated, “[e]veryone is entitled to equality before the law, without any discrimination, and it is the State’s responsibility to protect all individuals from discrimination. We thus urge the authorities not to pass this law.” Shamdasani also noted the proposed law would violate rights protected by treaties Kyrgyzstan has ratified and that these rights include the rights to “liberty, security and physical integrity and to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.” (Press Release, OHCHR, Press Briefing Notes on Kyrgyzstan, Libya and Mexico (Oct. 24, 2014); Kyrgyzstan: UN Urges Country to Scrap Draft Law Violating Rights of LGBT People, UN NEWS CENTRE (Oct. 24, 2014).)

The draft was approved in committee in June and passed its first reading in the legislature on October 15, with a vote of 79-7. It will have to be passed twice more by the Kyrgyz legislature and signed by the country’s president before it can become law. (Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament Passes Draft Anti-LGBT “Propaganda” Law, HRC BLOG (Oct. 15, 2014); Aaron Day, Kyrgyzstan: Anti-Gay “Propaganda” Bill Passes First Reading Despite US Embassy Warning, PINK NEWS (Oct. 15, 2014).)

The legislation would ban dissemination of any information advocating positive attitudes concerning non-traditional relationships. The proposed legislation was defended by one of its authors, Kurmanbek Dykanbayev, who said, “[w]e supported this bill, because it reflects the hopes and expectations of our voters willing to protect the traditional family. And from now on, there will be no possibility to arrange gay clubs, gay cafes or to hold gay rallies.” (Day, supra.)

The OHCHR also noted that there has been an uptick in attacks and discrimination against LGBT individuals, particularly young people, in countries that have adopted similar laws banning pro-LGBT speech. Furthermore, the OHCHR argues that the legislation could have a negative effect on persons with HIV and those at risk of contracting the disease, as well as on the availability of information on the reproductive rights of women. (Kyrgyzstan: UN Urges Country to Scrap Draft Law Violating Rights of LGBT People, supra.) In addition to the OHCHR, Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group, has criticized the legislation, calling it dangerous and describing it as a copy of Russia’s earlier law on the subject, with potentially harsher punishments. (HRC Condemns Kyrgyzstan for Passing Draft “Gay Propaganda” Law, PINK NEWS (Oct. 15, 2014); Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament Passes Draft Anti-LGBT “Propaganda” Law, supra.)