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   The UN Link / The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan
# 252
June 24, 2005

In this issue:


  • Human Rights and Elections: Problems, Priorities and Initiatives
  • Press trip to Jalal-Abad province: Focus on poverty reduction and environment protection


Human Rights and Elections: Problems, Priorities and Initiatives

Round Table “Human Rights and Elections: Problems, Priorities and Initiatives” held 10th June, 2005 in Bishkek under the auspices of UNDP, OSCE and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

The motive for this discussion was the need to put human rights and freedoms and democratic values of open society in the basement of any reforms the country is undertaking and will even be reinforced in the nearest future after the March’s revolution and July’s presidential elections.

“Human rights – is a main landmark of activity of the whole world democratic community, therefore their recognition, observance and protection is an obligation of any State. – said Jerzy Skuratowicz, UNDP Resident Representative in his welcoming address. They provide for stability, sustainable development of society, its normal vital activity on the basis of legal forms, proven by historic experience, for cooperation of people, he said.

How the officials from state institutions and civil society leaders see the initiatives that the future government may undertake in order to stabilize the existing situation in the country and ensure the security of the population during and after the election campaign was the general theme of the round table.

Leading political actors and strong analysts from human rights and policy institutions gathered around one table in order to present their opinions and views on the current situation with human rights in Kyrgyzstan. Through this dialogue, the attempt was undertaken to join and strengthen mutual efforts on the development of a strong human rights system and the enhancement of personal security in Kyrgyzstan.

“It is obvious, that deficit of trust is existing currently in Kyrgyz society, - said Cholpon Baekova, Chairperson of the Constitutional court of the Kyrgyz Republic. People of Kyrgyzstan don’t trust the state power and we don’t trust each other. But the recent events in the country showed that the fundamental human right – to elect and be elected Kyrgyz – people will assert for sure, she said.

“The siege of the Supreme court of the Kyrgyz Republic lasting for more than two months shows that the country needs urgently a thorough reform of the court system, - said Tursunbek Akun, Chairperson of the Commission for human rights under the presidential administration of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The dialogue was concentrated on the ultimate role of human rights in democratic states and the indigenous functions of the state institutions dealing with human rights. The current human rights situation in different layers of Kyrgyz society, including vulnerable groups and national minorities and the role of NGOs, political parties, law enforcement bodies and media were in the focus of discussion.

“Civil society saved the country from moral degradation. Relying on NGOs we will be moving towards such state where human rights are defended and guarantied. – said Ishengul Boldjurova, vice-prime minister of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The non-governmental human rights organizations occupy an important place in the system of human rights protection. During the last years the role of civil society has significantly increased. The international community emphasizes the bigger importance of the NGO activity, since they are important human rights defenders at the national-State level.

It was underlined at the Round Table that the paramount objective of the actual period of developing and improving the legislation in the Kyrgyz Republic is to secure the legal status of an individual, the system of her or his rights and freedoms.

Participants stressed, that in order to secure the human rights a single, clearly coordinated system of legal mechanisms and procedures for the implementation of human rights and freedoms, principles and norms in the Constitution of Kyrgyz Republic regulating these rights and freedoms, is required. To increase the prestige of court and effectiveness of justice it is necessary to carry out systematic measures in the framework of the judicial-legal reforms, being undertaken in Kyrgyzstan.

There is a legislative base defining the rights and interests of women in Kyrgyzstan. Nevertheless women are often barely aware of their rights and stereotypes and incrusted traditions have a strong presence in the patriarchal society. The electoral right of women and other vulnerable groups is first and foremost and belong to a group of political rights and freedoms, emphasized participants of the Round Table.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Relations Officer by phone 61-12-13. Mobile: 0 (502) 51-22-99. Email address:

Press trip to Jalal-Abad province: Focus on poverty reduction and environment protection

Between June 13 and 18, 2005 members of the UN press-club visited Jalal-Abad province invited by UNDP Kyrgyzstan.

The program of the visit was focused on the UNDP activities in the areas of poverty reduction and environmental protection. Taking into consideration that the Country Programme has entered a new program cycle (2005-2010), the poverty reduction activities will accentuate the support of entrepreneurship, small and middle-size business.

That’s why the program of the visit was concentrated on the results achieved in pilot communities in the previous programme cycle and on the way to implement the further support. Another important aspect of the journalists’ visit was the effect of poverty on the degradation of environment and the involvement of local communities in the Small grant programs (GEF/UNDP) aimed at rehabilitation of biodiversity, nuts-and-fruits forests, their flora and fauna.

The program of the visit started in Kyzyl-Beyit village in the Aksy district where the UNDP Poverty Reduction Programme works since 2001. Kyzyl-Beyit is one of the most isolated villages in Kyrgyzstan and is located high in the mountains. In order to get to the village it is necessary to cross a reservoir by boat and then to climb 8 kilometers up a narrow mountainous path. During the Soviet time it was possible to reach the village along a road in the adjoining canyon but after the USSR’s collapse the road was destroyed by mudflows and not reconstructed since then.

In the Soviet time the village was known for its successful goat breeding but after independence privatization started and all kolkhoz property was distributed equally among villages who, fearing that the property will be taken away, sold it. Waiting for state support resulted in nothing and villagers stayed left alone with their problems. Only with the start of the UNDP Poverty Reduction programme the hope came back and the situation started to change step by step. UN volunteers trained villages on how to work out business plans and get profit out of micro credits. People got micro credits from the Kyrgyz Agriculture Finance Corporation, a UNDP partner in the programme, and started again to breed goats. Results of the programme are significant considering the isolated and vulnerable location of Kyzyl-Beyit. When the programme started, most families had no livestock but now every household has 30-40 goats besides cows, horses and donkeys.

There are still lots of problems in the village. There is no electricity, people do not have access to basic social services, but people lost their apathy and hopelessness. Villagers, media professionals and UNDP staff gained a lot from meeting each other lively discussing the challenges of the village and ways of addressing them.

During the next three days the journalists visited six villages of the Suzak, Bazar-Korgon and Aksy districts of Jalal-Abad province. In every village people showed to the media their achievements, spoke of their successes and difficulties and shared their plans for the future.

One of the most impressive visits was the one to Kenchirigi gorge where local community organization with support of the GEF/UNDP Small Grants Programme succeeded in decreasing the habitat destruction rate of endemic epiphyte species of Uzunakmat (Vitis Usuachmatica Vass) vine grape by stopping cutting and grazing. Kenchirigi is located in the walnut forest belt of South-West slope of Ferghana range. Just forty years ago this area was well known for its dense reeds of grape but now only single bushes exist. “We started to be wiser! – Journalists were told, - and the next generation will enjoy this Red Book specie.

The most remarkable in this trip were meetings with people of Aksy known now for their great perseverance, who changed their lives and the life of whole country to better, diligently fighting for justice and future of their children. They amazed the journalists by their sincerity, kindness and frankness, warm-heartedness and their striving for the truth.

Note: Practice of the press trips to the UNDP grass roots became a good tradition and proved its effectiveness. It is obvious that instead of press conferences or briefings in the capital of the country journalists covered thousand kilometers throughout the country and met programme beneficiaries, after seeing their own eyes those tremendous changes in people living in target villages turn themselves into a change agents create masterpiece of journalism and disseminating UNDP best practices.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Relations Officer by phone 61-12-13. Mobile: 0 (502) 51-22-99. Email address:

     Millennium Development Goals Progress Report - 2003

     Common Country Assessment - 2003

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