Kyrgyzstan follows bad example set by Russia: foreign agents

September 13, 2013

On 6 September 2013 members of the Kyrgyzstan‘s Parliament Mr Tursunbay Bakir Uulu and Mr Madaliev introduced a draft law on “non-commercial organisations fulfilling the role of foreign agent” for public discussion.  The text of the draft law is inspired by [the ‘success’] similar provisions adopted in the Russian Federation in 2012.  The non-commercial organisations founded in Kyrgyzstan which receive their funding from abroad and participate in political activities on the territory of Kyrgyzstan would be called non-commercial organisations fulfilling the role of foreign agent. An NGO would be regarded as engaging in political activities if it participates in organising and undertaking political actions aimed to influence decision-making of state organs, at changing current state policy on certain issues or creating public opinion on those issues. The text of the draft law does not provide any definition of “state policies” or “political actions,” thus making it unclear how the law would be enforced.

Activities regarded as ‘non-politica’l would include those in science, culture, art, health protection, social support and protection of people, social support for persons with disabilities and similar work. Therefore organisations receiving foreign funding for these activities will not be regarded as organisations fulfilling the role of foreign agent. The “foreign agents” would need to register with the executive body. The draft law also introduces a requirement to mark all publications produced or distributed by NGOs acting as ‘foreign agents’ as such.

Under the new provisions, NGOs acting as ‘foreign agents’ would be required to submit documents containing an activity report and information on their personnel in their governing bodies to the federal executive body in charge of NGO registration once every six months. Documents related to the expenditure of funds and resources, including from foreign sources, should be submitted on a quarterly basis, while audit reports should be submitted annually. These NGOs would be required to publish reports on their activities in the media or on the Internet every six months.

The implementation of a similar law in the Russian Federation has led to numerous inspections, frequent confiscation of equipment, and court cases, some of which were referred to in this blog. It has severely restricted and paralysed the work of many non-governmental organisations, in particular those dealing with the protection and promotion of human rights.

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedand other human rights groups express their concern that organisations working to protect human rights in Kyrgyzstan could suffer the same effects if the new amendments are eventually adopted.


2 Responses to “Kyrgyzstan follows bad example set by Russia: foreign agents”

  1. […] Kyrgyzstan follows bad example set by Russia: foreign agents ( […]

  2. […] Human rights defenders find it difficult to function with a fair and functioning legal regime for the creation and administration of associations (NGOs). In my post of yesterday on Russia I drew attention to the draft law declaring some NGOs ‘undesirable”. Today Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Kyrgyz lawmakers in the coming days not to follow Russia’s bad example of passing a Foreign Agents law [see also my earlier:…%5D. […]

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