Kyrgyzstan considers enacting a 'foreign agents' law

Dec. 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM   |   Comments

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch said it was concerned proposed legislation in Kyrgyzstan could undermine the effectiveness of a vibrant civil community.

Kyrgyz legislators last week rejected a proposal for a law related to civil organizations in the country but the bill could resurface on procedural issues, Human Rights Watch said. If passed, the measure would require domestic non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents if they receive funding from foreign governments.

Mihra Rittmann, a researcher on Central Asia for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement she was concerned about Kyrgyzstan's commitments to protecting civil debate. She said Thursday legislators should "stick to the positive precedent they set" in rejecting the proposal and make sure the law is formally rejected.

Groups like Human Rights Watch have expressed concern about similar legislation enacted in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of working to silence his critics through the measure but he defended the action as part of an effort to increase transparency in the country.

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet republic.

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