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Kyrgyzstan should withdraw the draft law on the prohibition of so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’

“There is a contradiction between applying for closer relations with the Council of Europe and at the same time preparing legislation on the prohibition of so-called homosexual propaganda,” according to a joint statement by the two rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) responsible for relations with Kyrgyzstan and for LGBT issues.

Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC), who is preparing the Assembly’s response to the Kyrgyz Parliament’s request for Partner for Democracy status, and Robert Biedron (Poland, SOC), PACE’s general rapporteur on the rights of LBGT people, were speaking in the run-up to the Assembly’s final decision on Kyrgyz partnership, due on 8 April.

The draft law currently being discussed in the country would introduce administrative or criminal sanctions for those who “create a positive attitude towards non-traditional sexual relations”, in particular if “using the media or information and telecommunications networks, including the Internet”. In addition, it would amend the legislation on public gatherings to prohibit LGBT Pride marches and similar events.

“As clearly stated by the Venice Commission and the Assembly itself, this kind of legislation is not in line with international standards,” said the two rapporteurs. “It curtails freedom of expression and contributes to a climate of hostility and prejudice on the grounds of people’s sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Both rapporteurs urged the Kyrgyz authorities to be consistent with the political commitments they have made by applying for the Partner for Democracy status and withdraw the draft law.