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Kyrgyzstan’s laws insufficiently protect women and girls

Kyrgyzstan’s laws poorly protect women and girls. In particular, the document «On the protection from domestic violence» has shortcomings and gaps. This conclusion was made by experts based on the results of a study conducted by Civil Union Public Association within the framework of the EU-UN initiative «Ray of Light».

They analyzed the extent to which the norms of the law comply with international standards in the field of elimination of violence against women and girls, and also examined the impact of these norms on the actual protection from violence.

The report notes that in 2003 Kyrgyzstan was the first among the CIS member states to adopt a special law on protection against domestic violence. In this regard, state and municipal officials stopped saying that domestic violence does not exist.

In 2017, the law was thoroughly revised, a new version was adopted.

«The new regulations have improved protection for victims of domestic violence, but there are still significant gaps in the law. For example, it does not include the concept of «sexual assault». Although international bodies recognize that sexual violence can occur in the family and is one of the most common forms of violence in it. The law defines persons who are included in the concept of «family member» and «persons equated to family members», including «persons who are in a de facto marriage relationship» and «other relatives living together». In general, this is in line with international standards, but cohabitation of persons, for example, former spouses, should not be a mandatory criterion for qualifying certain acts as «domestic violence,» the experts said.

The Civil Union calls for amendments to the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence to ensure better protection of women and girls from domestic violence.

In particular, it is necessary to supplement the definition of domestic violence in the law and state it in the following wording: «domestic violence is an act characterized by intentional criminal acts and / or inaction, accompanied by physical, psychological, sexual, economic and cultural violence, threats, and also negligence and / or coercion to commit certain actions that cause physical and psychological suffering, as well as a threat to life, committed by one family member in relation to another family member / person equivalent to him ».

At the same time, the legislation should apply at least to:

  • Persons who are or have been in an intimate relationship, including spousal relations, civil marriage, separation;
  • Persons in family relationships;
  • Members of one household.

Since the beginning of the year, the internal affairs bodies have registered 7,665 cases of domestic violence in Kyrgyzstan.