Kyrgyzstan: religious freedom survey from Forum 18

Ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council in January 2015 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Kyrgyzstan, Forum 18 reports that the country has not fully implemented its commitments to implement freedom of religion or belief for all. Despite official promises, the state continues to limit this fundamental freedom and other human rights in both law and practice.

They also┬ánote ongoing violations of freedom of religion or belief and related human rights. These include: a ban on exercising freedom of religion or belief with others without state permission; obstacles such as unreasonably high numbers of required founders and some apparent reprisals against communities including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bahai’s wishing to gain state registration; increasing state control of the Muslim community; raids on some religious communities; the banning of the Ahmadi Muslim community; restrictions on conscientious objection to military service; harassment and mob violence against non-Muslims with the authorities’ complicity, including preventing the dead being buried; state censorship related to freedom of religion or belief; arbitrary expulsions of foreigners; and threats to property.

Officials seem unwilling to implement domestic and international legal obligations, with government proposals for Religion Law and Administrative Code changes contradicting a UN Human Rights Council recommendation to “remove all restrictions incompatible with article 18 of the Covenant [of Civil and Political Rights]”.

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