Human Rights Awareness Campaign Begins in Kyrgyzstan
Friday, August 17, 2007 11:29 AM

On July 5, human rights activists began circulating a petition entitled Let Us Defend Freedom, Dignity, and the Personal Inviolability of People in Kyrgyzstan.  Ending on Human Rights Day, December 10, this six month campaign aims to raise awareness of the persecution of female human rights activists by collecting one million signatures. Tolekan Ismailova of Citizens Against Corruption Center and Aziza Abdrasulova of the Torch of the Century (Kylym shamy), both among women recognized as nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, are human rights activists who support the petition and have voiced concern over increased pressure on female activists. Rachel Denber, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch on Europe and Central Asia, also voices concern about government pressure on non-governmental groups and human rights activists.

Kyrgyzstan has no women representatives in parliament and only a few women serve in the cabinet. Nonetheless, many women own small businesses and hold leadership positions in human rights organizations and non-governmental organizations. Thus far, organizers have collected about 100,000 signatures.  Signatories also are encouraged to give one som, which will be donated to various social service agencies. 

 Kyrgyzstan: RFE/RLs Kyrgyz Service -- Women Activists Report Increasing Harassment, Janyl Chytyrbaeva, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 3 August 2007. Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.