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   The UN Link / The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan
# 242
December 03, 2004

In this issue:


  • Commemorating the victims of HIV/AIDS in Kyrgyzstan and worldwide


  • Towards the World AIDS Day: Second Conference of Religious Leaders of Kyrgyzstan


  • Best Radio and TV Stories on the Rights of the Child - 2004


Commemorating the victims of HIV/AIDS in Kyrgyzstan and worldwide

Journalists, Artists, HIV/AIDS activists and UN community came together to express their solidarity with People Living with HIV/AIDS and congratulate the winners of the Jonathan Mann Award 2004.

On the eve of the International HIV/AIDS Day, in the National Fine Arts Museum, the staff of the UN Agencies and the World Bank in Kyrgyzstan, journalists and NGOs working in the area of HIV/AIDS came together to commemorate victims of the HIV/AIDS and express their solidarity with people who have to live with the HIV.

The guests together with actors of the Kyrgyz Theatres and the well-known Kyrgyz poets went through feelings of those who live with HIV, try to find a job, retain friends and those who have infected their beloved people.

Jerzy Skuratowicz, UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic, read a message of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and stressed the responsibility of each agency to take care of its staff and join the efforts against HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.

At the end, before the Hall was lit up with candles, Richard Young, the Chairperson of the UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS handed over the Jonathan Mann Award to this year’s winners: NGO “Sotsium” and Kifayat Askerova, journalist of the newspaper ‘Slovo Kyrgyzstana’.

It is also meant as an encouragement to all the organizations and individuals in Kyrgyzstan to step up their efforts and address the impact of the pandemic, to help those who suffer from HIV/AIDS and protect themselves and their beloved ones. 1st December is marked as World AIDS day to remember that in the world about 39 million people are living with Virus and 6 people get infected every minute.

"Sotsium" is one of the most recognized NGOs working with Injecting Drug Users (IDU) in the field of HIV/AIDS for several years. IDUs account for most of the infections with HIV in Kyrgyzstan. "Sotsium" is renowned by its statewide and international activities, and its achievements are well-known not only by government and civil society, but professionally recognized by medical institutions on harm reduction and rehabilitation.

Ms. Kifayat Askerova is a prominent and committed journalist writing on HIV/AIDS. She has published a series of articles on various aspects of HIV/AIDS in Kyrgyzstan, focusing on problems of vulnerable groups, people living with HIV/AIDS. Ms. Askerova touches upon the most controvert matters and has demonstrated humanism and tolerance and thereby mitigated stigma and discrimination.

The International Jonathan Mann Award in Central Asia has been awarded since 1999 to assist the global fight against HIV/AIDS. It is supported by UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNODC and UNICEF. For the last 6 years, the award went to winners from Kyrgyzstan, which is an indicator of a clear commitment both in governmental and non-governmental organizations.


Towards the World AIDS Day: Second Conference of Religious Leaders of Kyrgyzstan

Islamic leaders in Kyrgyzstan are ready to put the topic of HIV/AIDS on their agenda.

On the Second National Conference “Islam leaders and theologians of Kyrgyzstan against AIDS” on 1st of December 2004 in Bishkek, Murataly Aji Jumanov Azreti Mufti of Muslims in Kyrgyzstan encouraged believers to talk about HIV/AIDS to their communities. “Islam is the religion of purity and does not accept shame – he said, addressing the participants of the Conference. A mother should not be ashamed to talk to their children about this decease, a teacher should not be ashamed to talk to their students and we all have to talk to believers the whole truth about this tragedy”.

The conference was conducted by the State Commission on Religious Affairs under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and Spiritual Department of Muslims in Kyrgyzstan with UNVP support.

“No matter where the person lives, what education he or she received, what religion the person practices – the problem is of concern to everyone, - said Oskon Osmonov, the chairman of the State Commission at the opening of the Conference.

Members of the Council of Ulama, spiritual community leaders from all over the country, women and senior citizens, members of the Kyrgyz Parliament, representatives of state, international and non-government organizations – in total more than 130 people participated.

“Several years ago we mistakenly assumed that this disaster will not touch us. Now due to the openness of country and therefore vulnerability for the spread of this infection we can and we must join efforts to resist it, - said Toktobubu Aitikeeva, Vice-prime-minister of the Kyrgyz Republic. “The government in its activities is counting on the support of religious leaders”, she said.

According to official statistics as of 1st December 2004, 642 cases were registered in Kyrgyzstan of whom 22 people died. The epidemic has begun to grow considerable since 2001. This year Kyrgyzstan counted 150 newly infected cases until now but UNAIDS experts estimate that the real numbers are 10 times higher than the statistics show.

“AIDS is not only a medical problem; it is a problem of development- said Jerzy Skuratowicz, Resident Representative of UNDP in Kyrgyzstan. - Religious leaders can and should play a crucial role in changing the traditional negative attitude to People Living with HIV/AIDS. They should convince communities to avoid discrimination and stigma of those affected by the disease”, he said.

Jerzy Skuratowicz also read the appeal of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan on occasion of World AIDS Day.

The involvement of religious leaders in HIV/AIDS prevention started in 2003 with the “First National Conference of Religious Leaders” initiated by the State Commission and Spiritual Department and supported by UNDP. This event started activities to mobilize religious community leaders to fight against AIDS.

During the year seminars were held for religious leaders in all provinces of the country. In these seminars Muslim leaders discussed ways of HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness of believers towards this topic and behavior change health.

At the second conference spiritual community leaders, shared their experience of improving social services and assistance to prevent HIV/AIDS in local communities.

The participants agreed on and signed the Second Declaration to Muslim Community in Kyrgyzstan appealing to believers to render every possible support to HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.

For more information, please contact: Ekaterina Paniklova, Programme Manager, UNDP HIV/AIDS Prevention programme or Ashir Chikeev, Information/Communication Specialist, tel.: (996 312) 62-04-49, tel/fax: (996 312) 66 36 91, e-mail:


December 3, 2004, the Concert Studio of the Kyrgyz National Broadcasting Corporation (KNBC): On the occasion of the International Children’s Broadcasting Day (December 12th), there was conducted an awarding ceremony for winners of the Kyrgyz National Contest – 2004 on the Best Radio and TV Stories on the Rights of the Child.

The Kyrgyz National Contest announced in June 2004, invited all the broadcasting companies and production studios of the Republic and received more than 40 works. Professional jury, young people and representatives of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), KNBC, Soros-Kyrgyzstan Foundation, Internews-Kyrgyzstan selected the following winners: Roman Milovatski, TV-Radio Station “Tatina”, Rustam Nazarov, Radio Station “LW”, Ludmila Gribentshikova and Anara Birismanova, TV Studio of the Kyrgyz Turkish “Manas” University and Artem Kmet and Olga Lutykh, Mass-Media Centre at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University.

Sergei Mokrynin, Director of the Broadcasting Association and a member of the Professional Jury said: “This year, there have been a number of interesting stories and programmes about children’s rights but it is a great pity that not all of them were submitted to the Contest”.

At the awarding ceremony the heads of the companies-organizers together with the members of the professional juries handed over the prizes. Students of the Kyrgyz Russian Slavonic University and School No. 12 performed a play on children’s rights. The guests met with Harry Potter, his friends and Freddy Kruger.

Throughout the world, on this date, TV and Radio companies open their doors to children, give them microphones and let them make their own stories and programmes. It is deemed as an opportunity for children to actively participate in the work of professional broadcasters.

“To this end”, says Richard Young, UNICEF Resident Representative, “in Kyrgyzstan, together with our partners, we have supported National Contests for the last three years and are please to point out that every year, we receive more and more professional works. We hope that Mass Media who play one of the major roles in the society, will be providing all necessary support to make children’s voices be heard, and help to build a safe environment where all the rights of the child are fulfilled”.

For additional information, please contact: Galina Solodunova, UNICEF Communications Officer. Phone: (996 312) 611 211 (ext.139); 611 224...7, e-mail:

     Millennium Development Goals Progress Report - 2003

     Common Country Assessment - 2003

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