Posts Tagged ‘Tolekan Ismailova’

OSCE and Human Rights Defenders at the Warsaw meeting: no smooth sailing

September 28, 2016

The Diplomat wrote under the title “OSCE Manages to Irritate Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Human Rights Advocates, Too” a good piece summarizing the situation at the latest annual human rights conference (officially the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting), taking place from 19-30 September 2016, in Warsaw.

Most attention should go to the recurring reprisals against HRDs and in particular (when they are out of reach through exile) against their family: Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Lira Ismailova, Human Rights defender from Kyrgyzstan

September 21, 2015

ISHR-logo-colour-high on 21 September 2015 carries an interview with Lira Ismailova, a human rights defender from Kyrgyzstan.

She starts by crediting her mother, Tolekan Ismailova – a celebrated Kyrgyz human rights defender, with influencing her. Lira, previously a lawyer advocating for a wide range of human rights related issues, currently works at Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan – which focuses on defending freedom of association and protecting human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan.

‘My first position in the field of human rights was with an NGO working for the protection of the rights of internal migrants. I then advocated for the repeal of the death penalty in Kyrgyzstan. I participated in a working group to prepare a draft law for reforming our criminal legislation, and on several reforms for the penitentiary system which included monitoring prisons in Kyrgyzstan.’ Lira’s work on the death penalty was ultimately successful in 2007 when President Bakiyev abolished the death penalty. However, this achievement did not herald a significant practical improvement in the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan. Instead, since then, it is ‘much more difficult’ for human rights defenders on the ground.

Lira recalls numerous occasions when she and her family had to temporarily leave Kyrgyzstan for safety reasons. Lira highlighted the restrictions imposed on Bir Duino’s operations and recalled that its Kyrgyzstan office has been burgled twice in connection with attacks on ‘nationalists’. Bir Duino’s activities were also ‘supervised’ by authorities during the trial of well-known human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov in 2013 who is currently serving a life sentence in a Kyrgyz prison [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/fury-about-us-award-for-askarov-in-kyrgyzstan-backlash-or-impact/].

Lira considers that the Kyrgyz government’s moves to create new restrictive legislation, along with the State Committee for National Security putting direct pressure on lawyers and human rights defenders, has added to the shrinking space for civil society. See also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/draft-laws-on-civil-society-restrictions-also-pending-in-kyrgyzstan-and-cambodia/

‘We need help from international institutions to raise awareness of the Government’s attempts to implement these restrictive laws and help us to stop these laws from passing in Parliament’ 

 

…..According to Lira, it is critical that, among other international mechanisms, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders visit Kyrgyzstan.  Some of the main aims of such visit would be to observe the effect of Russian-derived legislation on civil society space and support human rights defenders, such as Askarov a defender who needs urgent humanitarian aid.

Lira adamantly talks about what needs to be done in Kyrgyzstan – the Government needs to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in accordance with the UN Declaration on human rights defenders; ensure that national legislation complies with this Declaration, including by repealing legislative barriers to obtaining financial resources, independence, freedom of association, assembly and expression; and create a parliamentary committee on observance of the situation with the human rights defenders.

Source: Lira Ismailova: Human Rights defender from Kyrgyzstan | ISHR

Russian court declares ADC Memorial formally as “foreign agent” – others to follow

December 16, 2013

 

On December 12, 2013, the Anti-Discrimination Centre (ADC) “Memorial was officially declared a “foreign agent” by the Leninsky District Court of St Petersburg, and was ordered to register as such with the Ministry of Justice, according to  information received by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Today, the court unexpectedly established that all the activities of ADC “Memorial” fall under the definition of “performing the functions of a foreign agent”. Accordingly, for the first time, a court has directly labelled a human rights NGO a “foreign agent”, and did not just order it to register as such. This decision could pave the way to increased harassment of all human rights organisations in the Russian Federation. Read the rest of this entry »

Threats against organisers of human rights film festival over documentary on HRD Azimjan Askarov detained in Kyrgyzstan

October 3, 2013

On the morning of 19 September 2013, a group of unidentified women threatened and harassed the organisers of human rights film festival “Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan” (One World Kyrgyzstan) demanding that the documentary about imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov  – produced by Freedom House –should not be projected. The film festival opened in Bishkek on 18 September 2013. The annual film festival is organised by human rights group Bir-Duino Kyrzystan, led by human rights defender Ms Tolekan Ismailova, the director of Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’.

Azimjan Askarov is a human rights defender who spent 25 years documenting human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan until his arrest in 2010. He is currently serving a life sentence after an unfair trial during which he was beaten in detention and denied access to his lawyer. The film festival organisers do not share the opinion of some politicians that he film could provoke inter-ethnic clashesFrontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

[On 28 September 2012, at previous festival edition, the organisers were banned from screening a documentary on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Islamic world, after a complaint was lodged by the Prosecutor’s Office, which considered the film to be “extremist, inciting religious hatred and aimed at dishonouring Muslims”. Following this decision, Tolekan Ismailova was targeted with a defamation campaign in the media and the Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’ received threats. Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on this case on 19 October 2012 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/20249, and an update on 4 December 2012 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/21003%5D

Defamation campaign and threats against human rights defender Tolekan Ismailova

October 26, 2012

On 14 October 2012, TV channel LTR broadcast a program in which human rights defender Ms Tolekan Ismailova was depicted as spreading propaganda for homosexuality in Kyrgyzstan and being destructive to Kyrgyz values. Similar accusations were published in several Kyrgyz-language newspapers. Ms Tolekan Ismailova is the director of Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’. These accusations refer to the documentary ‘I Am Gay and Muslim’, which was part of the human rights film festival Bir Duyno – Kyrgyzstan (One World  Kyrgyzstan), organised annually in Bishkek. The documentary was scheduled to be shown on 28 September 2012 in Bishkek. The film explores the problematic issue of gay rights in the Islamic world, taking the example of Moroccan young men who speak about their sexual and religious identity.

On 26 September 2012, the organisers of the festival had received phone calls and text messages threatening them with physical harm while the director of the cinema was threatened that the building would be set on fire unless the film’s screening was cancelled. Dublin-based Front Line Defenders condemns the smear campaign and threats against Ms Tolekan Ismailova and the other organisers of the human rights festival, and is concerned for their physical and psychological integrity and security.

For actions see: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/20249/action


This information was received through the International Secretariat of Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition.