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The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the Kyrgyz government "to refrain from passing draft legislation" against sexual minorities.

The statement that was issued on October 24 said that the draft legislation would "violate fundamental human rights, including the rights to liberty, security and physical integrity and to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association."

Last week, Kyrgyzstan's parliament approved in the first reading a draft law that envisages a punishment to up to one year in jail for "propaganda of same-sex relations."

It says journalists found guilty of "propagating" homosexual relations will be held accountable, too.

The bill bans the creation of groups that defend the rights of sexual minorities.

The law has to pass the parliament's approval in two more readings and then be signed by the president in order to come into force.

Leyla Yunus

The pretrial detention of prominent Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus has been extended.

Yunus's lawyer, Elcin Qanbarov, told RFE/RL that Baku's Nasimi District Court had ruled on October 24 that Yunus must stay in pretrial detention until February 28.

Yunus, 57, is a fierce critic of Azerbaijan's poor rights record. She and her husband, Arif Yunus, 59, were arrested in July and August and charged with high treason, spying for Armenia, illegal business activities, documents forgery, and fraud.

The couple insists the charges are politically motivated.

Human rights organizations have demanded that Azerbaijani authorities immediately release the couple.

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition announced on October 24 that it had nominated Yunus for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

She was a finalist for the recent Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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