The Kyrgyz Republic has a parliamentary form of government intended to limit presidential power and enhance the role of parliament and the prime minister. On October 4, voters elected new members of parliament in peaceful elections. Observers, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), concluded the election was competitive, advancing the country’s democratic development, although it was not without procedural shortcomings. Independent observers considered that election transparent and competitive, despite irregularities. Civilian authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over the security forces, particularly in the provinces of Jalal-Abad and Osh.
The most important human rights problems included routine violations of fundamental procedural protections in all stages of the judicial process; law enforcement officers’ use of arbitrary arrest and torture; and attacks, threats, and systematic, police-driven extortion of sexual and ethnic minority groups.
Additional human rights problems included poor prison conditions; harassment of both local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), activists, and journalists; pressure on independent media; restrictions on religious freedom; pervasive corruption; discrimination and violence against women, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; child abuse; trafficking in persons; and child labor.
Underscoring the country’s human rights problems was an atmosphere of impunity for officials in the security services and elsewhere in government who committed abuses and engaged in corrupt practices. This situation reflected the central government’s inability and unwillingness to hold human rights violators accountable, allowing security forces to act arbitrarily, and emboldening law enforcement officers to prey on vulnerable citizens.