January 29, 2014

Recommendations

To the Government of Kyrgyzstan

  • Publicly acknowledge the scope and gravity of the problem of police violence and extortion against gay and bisexual people in Kyrgyzstan, and commit to taking all necessary steps to end these abuses.
  • Continue to issue and widely publicize high-level directives stating that acts of torture, other forms of ill-treatment, and extortion by law enforcement officials will not be tolerated, that reports of police abuse will be promptly and thoroughly investigated, and that those found responsible will be held to account. The directives should highlight the particular problem of police abuse targeting minorities and other vulnerable groups, including gay and bisexual people.
  • Direct the general prosecutor’s office to fulfill its responsibility under Kyrgyz law to investigate in a thorough, impartial, and timely manner all allegations of torture and other abuse involving law enforcement officials, regardless of rank and whether the victim has filed a formal complaint.
  • Ensure that victims of torture or ill-treatment can receive appropriate compensation and rehabilitation from the government in accordance with Kyrgyz law.
  • Engage with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights groups in Kyrgyzstan to develop law enforcement and prosecutor’s office training programs on human rights, LGBT rights, and nondiscrimination; rights awareness-raising campaigns among gay and bisexual men and others; and other measures to prevent and remedy police abuse against gay and bisexual people.
  • Ensure that the National Center for Prevention of Torture and other torture prevention measures include an effective mechanism in place for receiving complaints from victims of abuse who are not in detention, including LGBT people and members of other vulnerable groups who require their personal information to be kept confidential. 
  • Ensure that the staff of the National Center for Prevention of Torture and other torture prevention institutions engage with LGBT rights groups and receive training about LGBT rights and nondiscrimination.
  • Examine, in consultation with the ombudsman for human rights, civil society, and the Office for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) whether the Office of the Ombudsman could, if appropriately mandated and resourced, take on the role of an independent national police complaints body.

To the Ministry of Internal Affairs

  • State publicly that the Ministry of Internal Affairs deplores and will no longer tolerate torture, ill-treatment, and extortion by police and that it will punish all those responsible. Highlight the particular problem of police abuse of gay and bisexual people.
  • Ensure that when allegations of torture, ill-treatment, or other misconduct are made against a police officer, the officer is suspended pending an investigation. In addition, the unit to which the officer belongs should be immediately excluded from any role in conducting the police investigation of the incident beyond that of providing witness statements. Authority should be immediately handed over to the prosecutor.
  • Discipline or prosecute superior officers who know, or who should have known, about such acts and failed to act to prevent and punish them.
  • Inform victims about the results of internal investigations and disciplinary measures and publish statistics on the outcomes of investigations and prosecutions to show that the ministry will not tolerate abuse.
  • Ensure that all members of law enforcement agencies are identifiable through name and rank tags on their uniforms.
  • Ensure that all law enforcement officers comply with and implement laws on policing, including with regard to length of detention, registering detainees, and other procedures and protections for detainees.
  • Combat the practice of failing to register detentions by ensuring that surveillance devices are installed and hold officers to account for failing to properly complete arrest protocols, as recommended in the 2012 report on Kyrgyzstan by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

To the General Prosecutor’s Office

  • Investigate promptly and impartially all allegations of torture, ill-treatment, extortion, and other abuse by police and other law enforcement officials, and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any official found responsible for ordering, carrying out, or acquiescing to torture or ill-treatment.
  • Facilitate reporting of abuse by ensuring that victims who file complaints, including gay and bisexual men, are guaranteed confidentiality and respect for their right to privacy.
  • Ensure that every investigation is conducted promptly and impartially and that prosecutors investigate all those responsible, including superiors.
  • Ensure prompt and independent forensic medical examinations of detainees who allege that they have been subjected to torture and other abuse.
  • Establish a separate investigative body directly under the prosecutor general that would investigate allegations of crimes committed by police and other law enforcement officers, including torture, ill-treatment, unacknowledged or arbitrary detention, extortion, and other crimes.
  • Appoint and train liaison officers within each local prosecutor’s office who could serve as point persons for LGBT people and other vulnerable groups who suffer abuse at the hands of the police.

To the Ministry of Justice

  • Review compliance of national legislation with provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on nondiscrimination, in particular with regard to women and persons of minority ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity, in line with recommendations made under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.

To the Office of the Ombudsman

  • Receive and investigate human rights complaints by LGBT people against the police on a confidential basis.

To the National Center for Prevention of Torture

  • Focus torture and ill-treatment monitoring efforts on vulnerable groups including LGBT people and investigate on a confidential basis all complaints of ill-treatment and torture, including against LGBT people, irrespective of whether they are in detention or at liberty.

To LGBT Rights Organizations in Kyrgyzstan

  • Urgently develop programs addressing police abuse of gay and bisexual men, including by providing rights-awareness trainings and materials and services to victims of police abuse, including legal and psychological support.
  • Engage with other human rights groups, relevant government institutions, and international organizations in these types of programs.
  • Raise awareness among LGBT communities about police abuse, individuals’ rights under Kyrgyz and international law, and mechanisms for reporting police abuse.

To Human Rights Organizations in Kyrgyzstan Working on Police Reform, Torture, and Related Issues

  • Engage with and support LGBT organizations in documenting cases of extortion, harassment, arrest, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, torture, and sexual violence against gay and bisexual men by police, and provide legal and other services to gay and bisexual men who are victims of police abuse.
  • Include the problem of police torture, ill-treatment, and extortion of gay and bisexual men on the agenda of pressing issues to discuss with Kyrgyz government officials, international organizations, and partner organizations.

To Domestic and International Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Organizations Working on HIV Prevention

  • Include police abuse against vulnerable groups, including gay and bisexual men, among priority issues for programming and advocacy.
  • Actively involve LGBT rights organizations in human rights and LGBT rights trainings and advocacy efforts with law enforcement officials, judges, and prosecutors.

To the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

  • In consultation with LGBT rights groups, include LGBT rights as an integral part of police reform and training programs supported by the OSCE in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Continue to prioritize prevention of police abuse in police reform programming in Kyrgyzstan, and ensure that OSCE-funded programs include clear timelines and benchmarks for eliminating police abuse.
  • Communicate to senior officials within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other government officials the need for public declarations of a policy of zero tolerance for police abuse, including against gay and bisexual men.

To the Governments of the United States, the European Union, and Individual EU Member States

  • Publicly condemn police acts of violence against gay and bisexual men and raise this issue in routine and high-level meetings with relevant government counterparts.
  • Make available financial and other support to LGBT rights and other human rights organizations in providing legal, psychological, and other services to gay and bisexual men who have been victims of police abuse.
  • In line with the June 2013 EU guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, contribute to combating any form of anti-LGBTI violence by seeking assistance and redress for victims of such violence and by supporting civil society and governmental initiatives to monitor cases of violence, and by educating law enforcement personnel.
  • Include issues of nondiscrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, in legal trainings conducted as part of the EU Central Asia Rule of Law Initiative.

To the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

  • Include LGBT rights among the priority issues to be addressed by the Regional Office for Central Asia, in line with the OHCHR “Free and Equal” campaign launched in July 2013, which “aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and encourage greater respect for the rights of LGBT people.”
  • Engage with the government of Kyrgyzstan to develop amendments to ensure all relevant national legislation concerning torture and nondiscrimination is consistent with international human rights standards, including on LGBT rights, as identified by UN treaty monitoring bodies and other UN mechanisms.
  • Publicly show support for and meet regularly with LGBT rights groups and take into consideration LGBT rights groups’ recommendations concerning government policies and other issues. Involve LGBT rights groups in OHCHR-facilitated civil society coalitions.