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Kyrgyz Report: May 11, 1999

11 May 1999

Ramazan Dyryldaev, Chairman of the Kyrgyz Commitee for Human Rights (KCHR), announced in Bishkek on 10 May that the Ministry of Justice registered another committee, also called Commitee for Human Rights on 21 April 1999. Chairman of the new registered organization is Sardarbek Botaliev, former deputy of Dyryldaev.

That same day, on 10 May, several members of the KCHR, led by Dyryldayev, visited the Justice Ministry and were receved by Minister Nelly Beishenalieva. According to Alexander Fomenko, member of the KCHR, Beishenalieva could not answer why the other organization under the name of KCHR has been registered. However, she promised to investigate the case.

The following day, on 11 May, the KCHR announced that its members and their supporters would picket the government building in Bishkek on 12 May. They will demand the resignation of the Minister of Justice, Nelly Beishenalieva, and that the KCHR be re-registered with the ministry.

The KCHR was founded in 1996 and was registered with the Ministry of Justice the same year. But last October, the ministry deprived the KCHR of its registration, saying there were some errors in the commitee's registration documents two years ago. The KCHR appealed both to the Supreme Court and to local courts of the country, but they have not considered the case. Recently, the KCHR appealed to the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan, but the latter also declined to be involved. After that, the KCHR prepared its new package of registration documents and handed them to the Ministry of Justice on 25 March, but the commitee has not received any answer from the ministry yet. Former MP Ramazan Dyryldaev has been chairman of the KCHR since the beginning. BotAliyev was deputy to Dyryldaev on economic matters in 1996-1998.

According to Fomenko, Dyryldaev accused BotAliyev of mismanagement and sued him in 1998. However, the Pervomai district court in Bishkek acquitted BotAliyev in 1998. Fomenko says, BotAliyev had been acquitted upon an order from the government.

MP Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights, told our correspondent in Bishkek on 11 May that the KCHR has misused a grant from the US embassy to Kyrgyzstan. Also, according to him, the main problem of the KCHR is its internal quarrels.

There have been 4 human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan before: the independent Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan (founded in the early 1990s, chairman is Tursunbek Akunov); the independent Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law (founded in 1993, chairwoman is Natalia Ablova); the independent KCHR; and the pro-governmental Presidential Commission on Human Rights (formed in 1997).

According to the presidential press service, CIS Executive Secretary Yri Yarov will arrive in Bishkek tonight, May 11. On 12 May he will be received by President Askar Akayev, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev and Foreign Minister Muratbek Imanaliev. Reforms of the CIS bodies will be discussed.

A delegation of British parliament, led by Donald Anderson, arrived in Bishkek on 11 May. According to the presidential press service, they will meet on 12 May with President Askar Akayev, Prime Minister Amangeldi Muraliev, Foreign Minister Muratbek Imanaliev. Bilateral relations between the two states, cooperation between the British and Kyrgyz parliaments, and conditions for foreign investments in the country will be discussed.

Bread prices have been increased by 25-30 per cent in Bishkek in last 2-3 days. According to local experts, there could be two reasons for this. Tariffs for electricity have been increased in the country recently; and also, because of the exhausting of grain reserves in Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz citizens and organizations have begun to buy flour from neighboring Kazakhstan.

A delegation of the international diabetics association, led by its chairwoman Maria del Alva, arrived in Bishker on 11 May. According to the parliamentary press service, they met with MP Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission, in Bishkek on the same day. Bakit Uulu announced at the meeting there are 16,190 registered diabetics in Kyrgyzstan now. This is more than in 1997, an increase of15 percent. According to the parliamentarian, 770 diabetics died in the country in 1997. The total number of diabetics could be 3-4 times more.

The international "Kyrgyzstan-1999" exhibition-fair was opened in Bishkek on 11 May. According to the Kyrgyzexpo company, organizer of the fair, 124 companies from different countries are taking part. Most of them are from Russia, but there are also companies from Switzerland and other countries represented.

The presidential press service announced in Bishkek on 11 May that President Askar Akayev signed a special decree, appointing Kyrgyz Ambassador to Austria Kamil Bayalinov as Ambassador to Israel as well. Bayalinov, based in Vienna, is also responsible for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The Asaba weekly will carry an article on former Mayor of Bishkek Felix Kulov in 12 May edition. According to the article, Kulov is about to join the Bei-Bechara party. Also, parliamentarians Dooronbek Sadyrbaev and Alevtina Pronenko, as well as former member of parliament Omurbek SubanAliyev will also join the Bei-Bechara party. Asaba writes that the two other prominent parliamentarians, Daniyar Usenov and Adakhan Madumarov, have already become party members.

The Bei-Bachara party was founded by Melis Eshimkanov, owner of the Asaba weekly, in 1995. Felix Kulov resigned from the post of mayor of Bishkek on 26 April, accusing President Askar Akayev of anti-democratic policies.

Member of Parliament Jypar Jeksheev announced in Bishkek on 10 May that he visited the Jeti-Oguz district of the Issyk-Kul region last week and met with residents of several villages that had suffered from the chemical accident in May 1998. According to Jeksheev, residents of the Barskoon, Tamga and Tosor villages picketted the buildings of local authorities on 6-9 May demanding to consider their cases. No officials have contacted them.

Jeksheev says he had shot a 15-minute video-film of the people and their problems. According to him, a group of residents had handed a letter of protest to the public Commitee to Protect Lake Issyk-Kul , saying there are about 60 people in the disctrict now who are still suffering from poisoning.

A truck with 20 tons of sodium cyanide crashed into the Barskoon river, which flows into the Issyk-Kul lake, on 20 May 1998. Between 20 May and 1 August, 4 people died, about 2,600 people were poisoned, more than 1,000 of them were hospitalized, and more than 17,000 people (residents of the villages situated in the Barskoon valley) applied for medical assistence. About 5,000 residents of the Barskoon village were evacuated to the northern side of Lake Issyk-Kul for a week in June 1998. the owner of the truck was a Canadian company. The driver was tried in Kyrgyzstan early this year and sentenced to several years imprisonment, but was immediately given amnesty.

A 3-day international conference on mountains in Central Asia began on 10 May Bishkek. According to the organizers, representatives from all five Central Asian states, as well as experts from Nepal, Russia and Switzerland, are taking part in the conference. President Askar Akayev delivered a speech at the opening of the conference.

The presidential press service announced in Bishkek on10 May that President Askar Akayev would travel to the Jalal-Abad region the following day. Akayev will visit several sites which could be suffering from the spring calamities.

About 2,000 war veterans took part in a meeting on the central Ala-Too square in Bishkek on 9 May. President Askar Akayev delivered a speech on the occasion of the 54th aniversary of the victory in the World War Two. According to a decision of the government, the Finance Ministry has allotted 13.7 million soms (about $390,000) as one-time allowances to participants of the War. Each person will receivel 100 to 600 soms (about $3 to $17).

A conference on cooperation between the government and non-governmental organizations was held in Bishkek on 8 May. Gerard Stodeman, director of the OSCE bureau on Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, took part in the conference. The new Electoral Code of Kyrgyzstan, recently passed in parliament, was discussed. Ramazan Dyryldaev, Chairman of the Kyrgyz Commitee for Human Rights, told the meeting that the Kyrgyz government limits the rights of observers from independent organizations during elections and referendums. According to him, no matter how good the election laws are, if there are no independent observers, the government could forge any results it desired. Stodeman told the meeting that OSCE observers would attend the next elections in Kyrgyzstan. The parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in Kyrgyzstan next year.

Exchange offices in Bishkek sold one US dollar for 38.9 soms on 8 May. According to the press service for the National Bank, only $36,000 were sold at the inter-bank market in Bishkek on 7 May. The rate of the som was 38.6 to $1 at the market. The National Bank did not take part in Friday's trading.