The National Forum of Diasporas in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Women’s rights and access to justice were discussed at the Forum

The National Forum of Diasporas has been conducted on 12 November 2020. The forum was organised by the EU project “Fighting against discrimination of women from ethnic minorities and ensuring their equal access to public services”, which is implemented by Max Planck Foundation in partnership with Eurasia Foundation for Central Asia. The event was organised in close cooperation with the Assembly of the People of the Kyrgyz Republic. A range of rights of ethnic minority women was addressed at the event.

There were two discussion panels at the forum, the first focused on conservation and increase of cultural diversity in the Kyrgyz Republic, and ethnic communities’ access to justice and the second concentrated on protection and promotion of women’s rights.

95 participants took part in the event, including representatives of the Government, Ministries, regional representatives of the Assembly of the Kyrgyz People and State Agency of Local Self-Government and Interethnic Relations, diasporas, NGO’s and mass media. Deputy Chairperson of the Assembly of the Kyrgyz Republic, Head of the Association of the Women Judges, Head of the “Huaizu” NGO, Head of the Department of the Production and Projects of the “Yntymak” and Osh regional media took part as speakers in the first panel. The speakers of the second panel were Head of the Organisational Department of the State Agency of Local Self-Government and Interethnic Relations, Head of State Guaranteed Legal Aid under the Ministry of Justice, Head of Crisis Centers Association, and Director of the “Danko” Public Fund.

Deputy Chairperson of the Assembly of the People of the Kyrgyz Republic and President of the NGO International Association of Karachais “Ata-Jurt” emphasised the importance of this forum and the need for effective implementation in the future.

The Head of the Cooperation Section of the European Union Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic gave the welcome address highlighting that violence against women and domestic violence in the Kyrgyz Republic had increased dramatically. It is very important to conduct such events as they raise awareness of problematic issues for further discussions, ideas and possible solutions to be delivered by respective state bodies and NGOs.

The Chairwoman of the “Kyrgyz Association of Women Judges” pointed out that the access to justice for representatives of ethnic communities at the legislative level is not problematic, the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic complies with international legislation in the field of protection of the rights of national communities. She equally noted that ethnic communities had a problem with translation in the law enforcement and judicial authorities because legal proceedings were conducted in the state and official languages. The Head of Projects from the Max Planck Foundation spoke about multiple discrimination being one of the problems faced by the representatives of ethnic communities, especially women and children. In the presentation by the Head of the Crisis Centres Association of the Kyrgyz Republic, it was mentioned that their association promoted legislative initiatives, lobbied for amendments that could improve women’s rights protection.

As a result, the aim and goals of the National Forum were achieved; it raised public awareness on access to public services among women from ethnic communities in the Kyrgyz Republic and demonstrated the key relevance of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity for building inclusive and successful governance at all levels.