President Almazbek Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan took an important step toward curbing violence against women when he signed a new domestic violence law and accompanying legislation on April 27, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, which replaces a 2003 version, includes measures to improve protections for victims of domestic abuse and strengthen police and judicial response.
The new Law on the Prevention and Protection against Family Violence requires police to register a domestic abuse complaint from anyone, not just the victim. The law recognizes not only physical and psychological abuse but also “economic violence,” which in Kyrgyzstan often takes the form of restricting access to and use of financial resources, property, or other assets. The accompanying Law On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic on the Prevention and Protection changes elements of the Administrative Code and other relevant laws.
“By enacting this new law, the Kyrgyz government has shown a commitment to the rights of domestic abuse victims and is setting a standard that others in the region should follow,” said Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Now government agencies should demonstrate leadership by putting into practice, and enforcing, these new measures that can literally save women’s lives.”