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   The UN Link / The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan
# 183
March 07, 2003

In this issue:


  • Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights visits Kyrgyzstan
  • A Trade Exhibition of Handicrafts Made by UNDP and UNHCR beneficiaries


  • UNDP Retreat “2003 Challenges of the UNDP Country Office in Kyrgyzstan”


  • The Third Intergeneration Dialogue


  • How To Guide project on implementation of reproductive health activities in the field


The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Bertrand Ramcharan, visited Kyrgyzstan from 5 to 7 March 2003, as part of his official visit to countries in Central Asia to enhance dialogue and technical cooperation between the governments of the region and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and in follow-up to the Secretary-General’s visit to the region in October 2002.

In Bishkek, the Deputy High Commissioner met with the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Askar Akaev; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Askar Aitmatov; the Ombudsman, Mr. Tursunbai Bakir uulu; the Head of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee Ms. Oxana Malevanaya; the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Ms. Cholpon Baekova; and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ms. Nelya Beishenalieva.

Mr. Ramcharan also met with representatives of civil society and local non-governmental organizations, and held fruitful discussions with the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz and heads of UN Agencies; relevant programme officers of the United Nations Country Team; and with representatives of the OSCE, other international organizations, and the diplomatic community in Bishkek.

The President of Kyrgyzstan and other Government leaders developed upon the President's National Human Rights Programme for the period 2002 – 2010 which emphasizes the constitutional values of human freedom, dignity and honour. They underlined the significance of the establishment of the post of Ombudsman and noted the announcement that very week of the establishment of a Council on Democratic Security, which would work on the elaboration of a Kyrgyz code of democratic values.

The Deputy High Commissioner welcomed these initiatives but stressed the importance of actual implementation of human rights. He urged that the Ombudsman be given the resources and support he would need to fulfill his mandate. He recalled that the Human Rights Committee had indicated a number of problems in the functioning of the judiciary; the treatment of arrested persons, detainees and prisoners; freedom of association and freedom of expression; and in relation to violence against women. He urged tangible corrective measures on these continuing problems, and on the issue of registration of refugee children.

The Deputy High Commissioner urged that the recently revised Constitution, as well as relevant laws, be interpreted and applied in the letter and spirit of international human rights norms. He noted the value of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, which has met until now, and the importance of the practice, until now, whereby the Constitutional Court could hear individual petitions on human rights issues. He expressed the strong hope that individual petitions to the Constitutional Court would continue. He encouraged the development of human rights education, and the dissemination of international human rights norms in local languages. He suggested that international norms on the rights of minorities be applied in practice.

During the discussions, the issue was raised of United Nations support and advice in following-up on treaty obligations, and in helping to place the institution of the Ombudsman on solid foundations. The Deputy High Commissioner undertook to follow-up on this, including through contacts with those who might be in a position to assist.

The Deputy High Commissioner also recalled the regional project for Central Asia of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which focuses on human rights education through a training of trainers approach and supporting the development of materials for teaching human rights in schools, and foresees the establishment of a high level expert in human rights, based in the region, to provide advice and work at the policy level in the field of human rights. He applauded the support that UNDP is providing to the Ombudsman and hoped that the project would be generously supported in the future.

Throughout his visit, the Deputy High Commissioner stressed that the real test of a national human rights policy was the extent to which it promoted genuine respect of human rights.

Contact: Arkady Divinsky, UN Coordination Associate. Phone: (996 312) 61 12 13; e-mail:

A trade exhibition of handicrafts made by UNDP and UNHCR beneficiaries was officially opened today in the UN House by Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, the UN Resident Coordinator. In his opening speech he pointed out that gender equality is recognized as a path to the Better world and is thus acknowledged as critical to attaining all eight Millennium Development Goals. He congratulated all the present women with the International Women’s Day and officially opened the exhibition that was attended by representatives of the international community, President’s administration, women-parliamentarians, journalists, the UN staff, and partners.

Needlewomen, women-artisans from all seven oblasts of Kyrgyzstan and Afghan women – refugees from “Sairon” and “Sukh” NGOs residing in Chuy oblast, presented their handicrafts. The exhibition was a good chance for women beneficiaries from oblasts to sell their goods. Though being good in doing souvenirs, carpets and other handicrafts, they often face the problem of selling them, as they live in remote areas. The exhibition would hopefully help them to promote their skills and craftsmanship. Besides, the exhibition helped to gather the needlewomen from remotest regions of Kyrgyzstan, including Leilek rayon of Batken oblast. This will help them to orient themselves properly at the market and promote their goods at higher professional level.


“We are effective, but can be more effective”, said Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, UNDP Resident Representative, addressing the participants of the UNDP Retreat “2003 Challenges of the UNDP Country Office in Kyrgyzstan”. The changing situation in the country, new requirements of donors and increasing expectations of counterparts, lack of core resources and need for cost-efficiency, increase of UNDP competitiveness and requirement to be demand driven – this chain of challenges led to the necessity for the UNDP Staff Retreat that took place at the shore of Issyk-Kul lake on 2-5 March.

As Mr. Skuratowicz noted in this speech, the overall slogan of the Retreat was “team building in a working environment” - “we need to look into the issue on how to identify clearly our partnerships, cooperate with the civil society and address specific issues in the field efficiently, - he said. Our programme should be more selective and our focus – more clear. We need to bring the knowledge and be results-oriented.”

The Retreat was preceded by the two-weeks Mid-term Programme Review undertaken by the group of specialists including Benjamin Allen and Jonathan Brooks, experts from the UNDP RBEC Regional Support Center in Bratislava, Abdiraim Jorokulov, Preventive Development Regional Coordinator in the South of Kyrgyzstan, Raya Kadyrova, head of the Tolerance International NGO, Jotham Mdingi and Amar Sainju, International United Nations Volunteers.

As the result of discussions, presentations, field trips to UNDP sites and meetings with UNDP counterparts and beneficiaries, the comprehensive Report on UNDP programme effectiveness reviewing use of resources, programme structure, as well as overlaps and duplications was prepared by the mission. The mission’s recommendations on the changes to the programme structure, clarification of programmes’ objectives, and efforts to be taken to strengthen the programme impact and reach results sustainability were discussed extensively during the Retreat. As the participants noted, it is crucially important not to destroy that positive impact that UNDP has created in the country and use lessons learnt to maintain UNDP leadership in the area of development support.

All participants of the Retreat including UNDP programme and project staff together with supporting units contributed a lot into the Retreat’s successful results by working out a clear vision for further UNDP role in supporting the country in the complex period of transition.

Another success of the Retreat was that in the snowy and cold Issyk-Kul, the event made to discover UNDP staff’s numerous talents. As it turned out, UNDP team apart from the daily intensive discussions related to work could also sing songs professionally, compose poems, dance and even contrive to issue a wall newspaper. This brought the staff closer and helped to build a team that would succeed in accomplishment of the tasks in implementing the decisions made during the Retreat in the most effective way.


The Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of UNICEF hosted the third Intergeneration Dialogue held on 28 February. It was aimed at discussing participation of children and young people in implementation and monitoring of the State Programme on Realization of Children’s Rights “New Generation”. This meeting convened young people from 10 youth organizations, representatives of the Minister of Education and Culture, the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, the Deputy Minister of Health, the Chair of the State Committee on Tourism, Sport and Youth Policy, the Head of the “New Generation” Secretariat, the Deputy Minister of Justice (responsible for the Children’s Code), Parliamentarians and the UNICEF Regional Director, Mr. Philip O’Brien.

The dialogue differed from the previous ones by the complexity of the topic. It required young people to express their opinions, as well as the opinions of their organizations. Adults are expected to have capacities to respond appropriately to the messages and opinions of young people and to effectively elicit their views.

Based on the Programme Matrix, the discussion touched upon the rights of the child, environment and care, leisure time, awareness and ecology.

Awareness was placed in the forefront. Though, Programme Plan of Action was developed together with children at Children’s Forums, far from all the schoolchildren know about its implementation process and have opportunity to participate in it.

Representatives of different youth organizations have already concrete suggestions. For instance, representatives from Association of Young Leaders would like to take part in developing and distributing information materials on the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Young people from “Manas Jashtary” youth organization consider it important to focus the work of school parliaments on out-of-school leisure time for developing creativity of children.

“Media Center” and “Aidanek” newspaper are already widely involved in reporting about child rights realization through their media channels. Young people from rural areas could take part in organizing ecological actions to promote healthy lifestyle and decrease the level of alcoholism among teenagers. Using “children to children” method, members of Karmel Organization communicate with their peers who once break the law to adapt and start a new life.

The UNICEF Regional Director, Mr. Philip O’Brien, who met with the President and key Ministers responsible for children’s issues and visited projects under UNICEF support during his one week visit in Bishkek, pointed out that Kyrgyzstan’s children and young people must be given opportunities to actively participate in the life of the state and the society. Their active position and intention to realize their right to be heard helps the adults to change their attitude towards children and take them as equal interlocutors in discussing difficult issues. And UNICEF will continue to support such initiatives.

Contact: Richard Young, Resident Representative. Phone: (996 312) 61 12 24, 61 12 25; e-mail:


To increase HIV/AIDS awareness among refugee population in Kyrgyzstan UNHCR in Bishkek implemented the project involving 3 organisations: UNHCR, UNFPA and the Family Planning Alliance. Different areas of specialisation and unique capacities of these organisations contributed to the success of the project. At the end of last year under How To Guide project on implementation of reproductive health activities in the field was completed by Dr. Robert Zielony, UNFPA consultant on peer education and health promotion.

The UN agencies, implementing NGOs, refugee trainers, refugee leaders and training participants participated in this project were involved in the creation of this guidebook. This guide describes the process used to design, implement and adapt the reproductive health programme for adolescent and adult Tajik refugees in Kyrgyzstan in 2001-2002. The How To Guide describes the development of the HIV/AIDS Refugee Youth Initiative, collaboration of the two UN agencies and the executing NGO, the challenges faced, and how they were addressed. Field experience and innovative approach to the HIV/AIDS awareness training and community education on specific matters described in the guide might of interest to those involved in developing preventive/educational health services using a peer education component.

Contact: James Lynch, UNHCR Head of Office. Tel.: (996 312) 61 12 64, 61 12 65, e-mail:

     Millennium Development Goals Progress Report - 2003

     Common Country Assessment - 2003

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