Hearing in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Held on Draft Legislation on Forced Marriage and Gender Equality
Monday, March 16, 2009 10:40 AM

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, held a hearing on 3 March 2009 regarding the country’s draft legislation on forced marriage. The legislation intends to curb forced marriage, reduce domestic violence and bride kidnapping, and promote equality between men and women.

One presenter spoke about villages where up to 80 percent of marriages involve bride kidnapping. Sometimes the kidnappings were symbolic, but half of the marriages did not have the consent of the woman. In 2007, 270 cases of bride kidnapping were reported to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but only 85 of those were prosecuted.

On a separate occasion, Kyrgyz Deputy Ombudsman Mamat Momunov said that domestic violence is rising. In 2007, his office received 200 complaints from women, and in just the first eight months of 2008, they received over 300. Most of the complainants live in rural areas and 80 percent were domestic violence cases.

Kyrgyzstan acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1997. The Convention includes provisions on marriage equality and forced marriage (Article 16) and Orzubek Nazarov, a Member of Parliament, stressed the need for the country to work to meet the requirements of the Convention.

Compiled from: OSCE Centre in Bishkek supports parliamentary hearing on gender and legislation to curb bride kidnapping, Press Release, OSCE, 3 March 2009; Women Facing Increased Violence In Kyrgyzstan, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 4 March 2009.