Kyrgyz Parliament considering homophobic ‘anti-propaganda’ law

Monday, 31 March 2014

On 26 March, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan published a draft bill that would impose tough sanctions for any speech or action leading to “a positive attitude towards non-traditional sexual relations”, i.e. non-heterosexual relationships.

Kyrgyzstan flagThe draft is one of the most sweeping ‘anti-propaganda’ bills ever published. It would amend the Criminal Code, the Code of Administrative Responsibility, the Law on Peaceful Assembly and the Law on Mass Media.

Similar to existing laws in Russia, the draft seeks to limit the dissemination of information on different sexual orientations, restrict the right to freedom of assembly for LGBT people, and prohibit ‘propaganda’.  Those found guilty will be punished with fines and up to 6 months in prison.

The bill was condemned by the two rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe responsible for relations with Kyrgyzstan and for LGBT issues, Andreas Gross and Robert Biedroń.

Nicole Kiil-Nielsen MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to Kyrgyzstan and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “It’s only been 16 years since Kyrgyzstan decriminalised homosexuality. It is unacceptable that people might again be put in jail for being who they are, or even for sharing objective information about different sexual orientations.”

“I urge the Parliament not to go back to state-sponsored homophobia.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “In a country where LGBT people are already marginalised and need to hide for fear for arbitrary violence—and not the least by police forces—, this draft bill is an appalling move to further curtail the rights of LGBT people, and those who support them.”

“I call upon political parties as well as the government to speak out against this bill, and clearly support the fundamental rights of all its citizens.”

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