The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release


Kyrgyzstan: Don't Stifle Dissent

Parliament Targets Commission Chief, Website


Two resolutions recently adopted by the Kyrgyz parliament could undermine freedom of expression in Kyrgyzstan, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to parliamentary leaders on June 21, 2011, Human Rights Watch urged them to rescind the resolutions.

In one resolution, on May 26, parliament gave instructions to bar from the country the chairman of a commission investigating the violence in June 2010 in southern Kyrgyzstan. In the other, on June 16, parliament instructed the Culture and Justice Ministries and the prosecutor general to "take measures to block the site in the informational space in the republic." The site extensively covered the June events, often challenging the official version of the events.

"Allowing open and free discussion in Kyrgyzstan is more important than ever," said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Stifling voices that do not agree with the government version of last year's violence will only exacerbate those tensions and could cause unforeseen consequences."

The May 26 resolution contended that Kimmo Kiljunen, chairman of the independent international Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC), had provided the international community with unconfirmed and partial information about the June events. The commission was established on a request from President Roza Otunbaeva. Its mandate was to explore the facts and circumstances relating to alleged violations during the June 10 violence.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.