A report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has charged Kyrgyzstan with allowing systemic human-rights violations due to "a culture of abduction, rape, and forced marriage."
The report, in the form of a confidential inquiry conducted by two committee members, was commissioned after reports from 14 rights organizations accusing Bishkek of failing to protect victims or adequately punish perpetrators of so-called bride kidnapping. It was issued in Geneva on September 18.
The report found that victims are further hindered in their efforts to seek justice by their legal illiteracy and by the biases of many officials.
"Abduction of girls and women for child- or forced marriage should not be accepted as a cultural tradition, but must be prosecuted and punished as a crime that regularly involves rape of the victim," said report co-author Lia Nadaraia.
The UN committee called on Kyrgyzstan to bolster its legislation on the topic and to prevent, investigate, and punish crimes stemming from abductions and other sexual violence.
Kygyzstan has been ordered to report back to the committee by March 2019 on its actions.