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The opening of the so-called "clean zone", an area within the colony for inmates who have decided to quit drug consumption, drew in a wide array of Kyrgyz authorities and media together with representatives of the EU-funded Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP) and relevant international partners, such as the German development agency GIZ and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.
The clean zone project, launched in autumn 2016, aims at increasing the quality and efficiency of services delivered within the female colony no. 2. The total sum that was allocated to the project under CADAP 6 amounts to 150 000 euros. The term "clean zone" itself refers to a separate area within the colony that offers female prisoners better living conditions, together with possibilities for educational and vocational training. Prisoners can move into the zone if they agree to give up drug abuse and undergo regular screening to confirm that they remain free of drugs. The overall capacity of the center is 50 people. In 2008, with the support of CADAP 4, a similar service was provided for male colony no. 31 in the village of Moldovanovka, but this is the first time that a zone with such concept has been opened in a Kyrgyz female colony.
The First Deputy Chairperson of the State Service for Punishment Execution, Zhorobek Duishembiev, drew attention to current inmate statistics and upcoming changes in legislation: "At the moment we have 344 women in the prison, convicted in most cases of drug use or murder. Now a new draft law is being prepared, after the adoption of which the number of convicted women will hopefully decrease."
The Head of the Political Section of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic, Raimonds Vingris, considers the clean zone project an example of the numerous results that have already been achieved during the first four years of CADAP implementation in Kyrgyzstan.
"Today, with the finalization of the works of a new clean zone, the EU will continue supporting Kyrgyzstan in increasing the quality and the efficiency of the treatment and of the rehabilitations services within the prison," he added.
The main Kyrgyz partners of the 6th phase of the CADAP programme include the Kyrgyz State Service for Punishment Execution, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Health.
The clean zone serves also as a good example for the whole region of Central Asia concerning the advantages of international cooperation.
"With the creation of the clean zone, the European Union supports Kyrgyzstan in increasing the quality of care for drug users within prison cells," Ernest Robello, the Leader of CADAP, mentioned during his speech. "The availability and provision of these comprehensive measures for drug users make the female colony in Kyrgyzstan one of the most advanced in the whole Central Asian region."
Mr. Robello also thanked the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development for having commissioned GIZ to implement CADAP. Germany has been strongly supportive of the programme since 2010 when it took on a coordination and steering role.
Today CADAP is considered an EU flagship programme in the region of Central Asia. For already 15 years it has provided a framework for exchanging the EU’s best practices and experience with Central Asian partners in the sphere of drug policies.
The beneficiaries of the ongoing CADAP 6 include policy makers, drug experts, penitentiary and hospital staff, media professionals, teachers, drug users, prisoners, young people and the general public. Kyrgyzstan continues to serve as an example for all its neighbors in adopting international standards in drug policies.