Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic

Zero tolerance towards torture – uniting efforts of the government and society

09/02/2018 - 10:04

On February 9, a press conference took place in Bishkek to launch a three-year joint project, funded by the European Union, and aimed at strengthening the efforts of the Government and Civil Society Organizations on torture prevention.

Kyrgyzstan is the member – state of international treaties and has its obligations aimed at eradication of torture in closed institutions. In 2018, the country will submit its third periodic report to the UN Committee against tortures.

“According to International Center for prison studies, more than 10,500 detainees now serve their sentence in penal correction facilities. Kyrgyzstan stands 93rd in the world index by prison population with a rate of 166 convicted per 100,000 total populations. However, people might be subjected to torture in any closed institution,” - said Regional Director of the Penal Reform International (PRI) in Central Asia Azamat Shambilov.

Statistics of research conducted by NGOs and data from the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health show that most of the illegal actions are committed at the pre-trial stage - at least 85 cases out of 100. In 2016, the General Prosecutor's Office, for example, received 435 allegations on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment from citizens throughout the country. A total of 33 criminal cases were initiated. As for the statistics on cruel treatment, in 2012-2016 the courts considered 51 cases and sentenced 62 officials. At the present time, the courts are considering 48 criminal cases of 116 people accused of torture.

“During the period of 2017, the National Center for the Prevention of Torture received 217 applications, of which 104 for torture, and 25 for ill-treatment. From the applicants' data - 95% on the use of torture in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 8% - in the institutions of the State Committee for National Security (GKNB), 1% - State Service on enforcement of sentences (GSIN). According to 2 applications, criminal cases were instituted (institutions of the Issyk-Kul and Chui oblasts),” - said Director of the National Center for the Prevention of Torture Nurdin Sulaimanov.

UN Special Rapporteur Juan Méndez, in his statement of 2016, noted: “The country-specific measures that have been taken provide the basis for building a policy of zero tolerance for torture, stressing Kyrgyzstan's readiness to continue dialogue and work with UN mechanisms, which gives hope that through persistent efforts effective means of investigating, documenting, combating and ultimately eradicating torture can be developed and implemented.”

During this time, Kyrgyzstan has taken a number of measures to eradicate torture. However, there are still a number of issues that require special attention and consolidation of efforts of both the state and society, since despite all measures taken, torture continues to occur.

The press conference was devoted to the launch of mutual cooperation between State agencies, human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations in issues related to countering torture. The participants of the press conference presented the current situation with observance of the right to freedom from torture and expressed their readiness for cooperation.

The three-year project is implemented by the Penal Reform International in cooperation with the Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic, National Center for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or  Punishment, human rights organizations Kylym Shamy, Bir Duino Kyrryzstan, Child's Rights Defenders League.

Also state institutions such as the Supreme Court, Interior Ministry and State Committee for National Security and Prosecutor General's office will be involved into implementation of the project.



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