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Kyrgyz Parliamentary Committee Approves 'Foreign Agent' Law

BISHKEK -- A parliamentary committee in Kyrgyzstan has approved a controversial bill that would impose "foreign agent" status on nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from abroad.

Lawmaker Shyryn Aitmatova (eds: a woman) told RFE/RL that the legislative committee approved the bill on March 10 and sent it for further discussions in other committees.

The bill was initiated by a group of lawmakers in November, but the Justice Ministry issued a statement at the time saying there was no need for such a law as existing legislation was sufficient to protect national security.

Many in Kyrgyzstan have criticized the proposal, calling it an attempt to copy Russia, where a "foreign agent" law adopted in 2012 has been criticized by civil society groups and Western governments.

On March 6, the Russian head of a regional security alliance said in Bishkek that Kyrgyzstan should impose strict control over NGOs with foreign funding.

Collective Security Treaty Organization chief Nikolai Bordyuzha said such NGOs are used by foreign countries "to impose threat to a country's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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