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Bride Kidnapping, Domestic Abuse Rampant In Kyrgyzstan

Victims of domestic violence at a shelter in Bishkek (Courtesy Photo) September 27, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch accuses the Kyrgyz government of allowing domestic violence and the abduction of women for forced marriages to continue with impunity.

The charge is contained in the nongovernmental group's first report on human rights violations in Kyrgyzstan, which was released today in Bishkek.

The 140-report says that although Kyrgyzstan has progressive legislation to protect women against violence, its law enforcement agencies "fail to implement them."

"Human Rights Watch found that authorities do not provide women with adequate protection from violence or access to justice," HRW Central Asia specialist Acacia Shields told a Bishkek press conference today.

The New York-based HRW says its report is based on firsthand accounts of women who have been kicked, beaten, stabbed, or sexually abused by their husbands. The victims say authorities encouraged them to reconcile with their attackers instead of offering them legal protection.

The report also describes how women and girls are being kidnapped -- sometimes by men they do not know -- for forced marriages.

HRW calls on Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's government to make ending violence women a priority and a reality.

Central Asia In Focus

Central Asia In Focus

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