January 29, 2014


The report is based on in-depth interviews with 40 gay and bisexual men in four different cities in Kyrgyzstan.

Human Rights Watch researchers conducted the interviews during research missions to Bishkek, Kara-Balta, Osh, and Jalalabad in July and August 2012, and to Bishkek and Osh in October and November 2012. Human Rights Watch also interviewed three gay men from Kyrgyzstan living in Moscow, Russia in August and October 2012. Human Rights Watch conducted additional interviews with a group of gay activists from Kyrgyzstan in New York in February 2013. One of these men was abused by police shortly after he returned from his trip to the United States. A Human Rights Watch researcher interviewed this man again after his return home, along with one other gay man in February 2013.

At least 12 gay men who told LGBT organizations that they experienced police abuse declined to be interviewed by Human Rights Watch out of fear of retaliation.

Almost all of the interviews were conducted in Russian by two Human Rights Watch researchers who speak fluent Russian, and in a few instances in Uzbek with the use of an interpreter who translated from Uzbek to Russian. Human Rights Watch provided no incentive for interviewees to participate.

Human Rights Watch worked closely with four Kyrgyz LGBT organizations based in Bishkek, including: Labrys, Kyrgyz Indigo, Pathfinder, and the Mozaika Initiative Group at the Anti-AIDS Association. Human Rights Watch also worked with Gender Vector, a gay and bisexual rights organization based in Karabalta, and two HIV prevention organizations based in Osh. All these organizations helped to introduce Human Rights Watch to gay and bisexual men who experienced various types of police abuse. 

The researchers interviewed eight representatives of LGBT organizations and other human rights NGOs in Kyrgyzstan. Human Rights Watch researchers also met with the former human rights ombudsman of Kyrgyzstan and officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The report also draws from relevant court materials, medical reports and local media articles.

Most interviewees’ names were changed for security reasons. Pseudonyms are represented by a first name and initial throughout the report. In some cases, Human Rights Watch has withheld additional identifying information to protect interviewees’ privacy and safety. First and last names were used when requested, primarily in the case of LGBT rights activists who were willing to disclose their names and affiliations.