The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in the Kyrgyz Republic to promote democracy and human rights. For background on the country's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at 2009-2017.state.gov.
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
On April 7, 2010, a sudden and violent change in government occurred in the country. The U.S. Government is working with the new provisional government to renew the country's democratic path. The provisional government plans to hold a referendum on a new constitution in June 2010, to be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections in October 2010. To support this goal, the U.S. Government will provide technical and advisory assistance in the form of training for local officials and capacity-building for the Central Election Commission. U.S. officials will stress the importance of an open, free, and fair electoral process, as well as effective and transparent communication with the Kyrgyz people. The U.S. Government will also support civil society and media to monitor government actions, and to inform the public of important developments.
The U.S. Government's priorities for promoting human rights and democratic principles, practices, and values in the country include: reinforcing democratic institutions; promoting the protection of basic freedoms and human rights; and strengthening the rule of law as a means to combat corruption, particularly in the criminal justice system. The U.S. Government also seeks to provide practical assistance related to freedom of speech and independent media, freedom of assembly, religious freedom and pluralism, and the protection of human rights.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human
Rights and Democratic Governance
Following the April 2010 change of government, the U.S. Government dispatched teams of assistance experts to the country to assess immediate needs and how best to allocate available assistance funds. U.S. officials are providing immediate support to sustain free media, including working with the state television and radio company, and the U.S. officials will also provide financial support, through coordination with other international donors, for the planned June 2010 referendum on the new constitution and expected presidential and parliamentary elections in October 2010.
The U.S. Government will also support activities to promote: diversification of private media; increased citizen access to objective, relevant information; empowerment of civil society, including youth; and encouragement of issue-based dialogue to mitigate social tension. U.S. Government actions will encourage transparency and government accountability, and also increase local access to justice and dispute mitigation and resolution mechanisms. U.S. Government activities will also support civil service reform, including recruitment and training of competent young professionals, and assistance to provide better government services.
Prior to the change in government, the U.S. Government promoted free and fair elections through training of election officials at all levels, support for an NGO coalition to observe local elections, and political party development projects implemented by civil society organizations. The U.S. Government supported information centers throughout the country that offered citizens a reliable source of independent information for learning about local government functions and the elections process, while promoting community discussions and citizen engagement aimed at addressing local problems. U.S. officials advocated for increased religious freedom through contacts with the State Agency for Religious Affairs and representatives of various religious communities and through U.S. exchange visits for Muslim religious leaders to learn about religious freedom and pluralism.
U.S. officials encouraged the government to bring its media laws into compliance with international standards, in particular by rescinding criminal penalties for libel. The U.S. Government funded assistance programs to train journalists on professional standards and the legal framework for media operation, improving production technology, and raising journalism quality. U.S. officials advocated for thorough and transparent investigations of violent attacks against journalists. The U.S. Government continued support for a local institute that provides legal defense and alternative dispute resolution for journalists, as well as for the only independent printing press in the country, the independent Central Asian news syndicate, and media resource centers in the populous Ferghana Valley. U.S.-funded projects contributed to honing the professionalism of female journalists and improving coverage of women's issues and human rights. U.S.-supported satellite programming provides citizens with alternative sources of news and information. The U.S. Government supported open, public Internet access and training programs that increased citizen access to information, including through U.S.-funded resource centers.
The U.S. Government financed assistance and exchange programs to promote judicial reform, transparency, and rule of law, and provided diplomatic support to anticorruption efforts. One program brought judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and members of civil society to learn about the judicial system in the United States. The U.S. Government sponsored judicial training for commercial, criminal, and noncommercial civil judges and conducts anticorruption workshops for prosecutors, law enforcement, and law students. The U.S. Government also provided grants to student and teacher groups to combat corruption within the educational system.
The U.S. Government supported programs designed to strengthen fundamental freedoms, bolster civil society, protect human rights, and combat human trafficking. An ongoing regional project helped more than 300 local NGOs conform to national legislation governing NGOs, to include registration and accounting practices. The U.S. Government also strengthened the capacity of local civil society coalitions through training and assistance in conducting national advocacy campaigns for governance reforms. A U.S.-supported human rights network monitored prisons and pretrial detention facilities for detainee abuse. The U.S. Government funded a legal education program that taught high school and undergraduate students in both secular and religious schools about the law and individual rights. The U.S. Embassy provided small grants to local NGOs to protect human rights, provide civic education, and foster the rule of law. The U.S. Government continued to support antitrafficking efforts by the government and civil society actors, building on a recently completed U.S.-funded antitrafficking project that assisted in repatriation of victims, supported hotlines and shelters for victims, and sponsored information campaigns.