The European Parliament in Strasbourg
The European Parliament has called on Kyrgyzstan to reject a bill that would censor information on LGBTI issues.
If passed, the draft law will punish the dissemination of information “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations.”
According to the parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, the KyrKyrgyzstan bill closely resembles Russia’s anti-propaganda law, but has harsher punishments. Those found guilty could be imprisoned for up to a year.
In a resolution on Thursday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) called on the Kyrgyz Parliament to reject the bill, and urged politicians to refrain from hate speech against LGBTI people.
“If this bill is passed, anyone who speaks positively about LGBTI issues can be imprisoned,” said Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution. “This is an attack on the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and the right to non-discrimination for the Kyrgyz people, in particular LGBTI people.”
Beatriz Becerra MEP, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, added: “We have all seen the horrible consequences of the Russian anti-propaganda bill: a clampdown on NGOs, forbidden prides and organised hate crime against LGBTI people. We urge Kyrgyzstan not to follow the path of state-sponsored homophobia, and unreservedly support and promote the fundamental rights of all its citizens.”
The bill passed its first reading on 15 October 2014, but needs an additional two readings and presidential approval before it becomes law.
In October, the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan expressed its deep concern about the bill and said that the legislation “fundamentally threatens human rights, Kyrgyzstan’s democratic gains and constitutional guarantees.”
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also urged Kyrgyzstan to reject the bill.