Freedom House Protests Interference in Kyrgyz Seminar
Freedom House expressed concern today that the government of Kyrgyzstan appeared to prevent the participation of a human rights defender at a recent Freedom House event.
On February 28, 2003, Freedom House held a roundtable discussion in Bishkek, the Kyrgz capital, on freedom of assembly in Kyrgyzstan. A scheduled panelist, Edil Baisalov, was apparently prevented from participating. Mr. Baisalov is chairman of Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, a Kyrgyz nongovernmental organization.
On February 27, Mr. Baisalov was ordered by the Kyrgyz military to undergo a health examination the next day. Mr. Baisalov was also ordered to undergo similar examinations in January 2003, before a Kyrgyz constitutional referendum. The health examinations were ordered despite previous rulings that deemed Mr. Baisalov ineligible for military service.
In Mr. Baisalov's case, it appears that Kyrgyz authorities used the pretense of a medical examination to interfere in his work as a human rights activist.
"Freedom House is concerned over the apparent restriction of the rights of individuals to freely express themselves in Kygyzstan and calls upon the government to cease creating obstacles to citizens' participation in legitimate activities," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor.
In its latest reports on the Kyrgyz Republic, Freedom House rated the country as "Not Free," noting freedom of assembly is "respected inconsistently" and that a presidential decree allows for the imprisonment of journalists who criticize the government.
Freedom House is a non-partisan organization that regularly monitors the state of political rights and civil liberties around the world.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.