The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decided today to grant the Kyrgyz Parliament Partner for democracy status, the third time that this status has been granted since being created in 2009. For the Assembly, obtaining this status is “an important incentive to further develop democracy, the rule of law and protection of human rights in Kyrgyzstan”, the only central Asian country to have opted for a political system based on parliamentary democracy.
In a letter from its speaker, the Kyrgyz Parliament emphasised that it shares the Council of Europe's values, as evidenced, in particular, by the abolition of the death penalty in 2007 or efforts to promote the equal representation of women and men in public and political life. PACE also welcomed the country's resolve to implement “deep constitutional, institutional, political and legal reforms in order to strengthen democracy”.
The resolution adopted on the basis of the report by Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC) does however list a number of areas where progress is expected, including: consolidating the institutional framework, with separation of powers and strengthening the role of the Parliament; holding of free and fair elections; fighting corruption, and reforming the justice system to ensure the independence of the judiciary. The other measures deemed essential include preventing torture, improving detention conditions and promoting the rights of ethnic minorities. “Kyrgyzstan still has a long way to go towards democracy,” said Mr Gross.
The Assembly will follow up the situation in the country and will review the progress made in these areas within two years.
The Parliament of Morocco and the Palestinian National Council were the first to be granted this status – in June and October 2011 respectively – created for parliaments of non-member States in neighbouring regions wishing to benefit from the Assembly’s experience in democracy building and debate common problems and challenges.