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HRW Calls On Kyrgyz To Reject 'Foreign Agents' Bill

  • RFE/RL

By RFE/RL

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Kyrgyz lawmakers to reject a bill requiring domestic NGOs that receive foreign funding and engage in "political activities" to register as "foreign agents."

In a statement issued on May 21, the New York-based group said, "Such inappropriate and unjustified interference would be incompatible with the right to freedom of association."

It said the bill “blatantly flouts” Kyrgyzstan’s national and international human rights commitments.

If adopted, HRW added, the bill will “only stigmatize” NGOs working in Kyrgyzstan.

The Kyrgyz parliamentary human rights committee voted on May 19 to send the bill to full parliament for debate, and its first reading is expected in the coming days.

In 2012, Russia passed similar legislation which human rights defenders and Western governments say has been used to crack down on independent groups.

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