Header image for news printout

Kyrgyzstan: UN expert calls for long-term vision to advance health rights

GENEVA/BISHKEK (31 May 2018) – Kyrgyzstan has made good progress in advancing the right to physical and mental health, but more work needs to be done on long-term implementation, transparent practices and national ownership, said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras. 

He expressed concerns at the high rates of maternal mortality and adolescent pregnancy. Puras also highlighted limited access to healthcare by different groups in vulnerable situations, including refugees, minorities and the LGBT community.

“Advances include an anti-discrimination bill, which I hope will be adopted soon, and guidelines for non-discriminatory healthcare services to transgender people,” said the expert at the end of a 10-day country visit to the Kyrgyz Republic.

“I was also encouraged to learn about the commendable efforts to address, control and reduce prevalence of tuberculosis and about the particular support of the donor community within the penitentiary system,” said Pūras. “However, I trust that the same energy will be now allocated to sustainable efforts to keep up with the progress and, in addition, to addressing increasing rates on sexually transmitted HIV cases.”

While commending a pilot mental health strategy for providing outpatient multidisciplinary services at the community level, the Special Rapporteur indicated that a comprehensive long-term vision was needed in the field of mental health to decrease and eventually eliminate reliance on large segregated institutions.

“At this moment, the system in Kyrgyzstan does not seem ready to undergo a full closure of such outdated institutions,” Puras said. “However, it is crucial to start investing national and international funds in community-based outpatient services.”

He said the ultimate responsibility for promoting and protecting the rights of persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities lay with the State.  

Puras said that for the full realization of the right to physical and mental health, the Government must focus on effective implementation, to promote transparent practices in a sustainable long-term strategy where the State takes ownership of the programmes developed with international cooperation.

The UN expert highlighted the role of national and local civil society that should be treated as equal partners in the formulation of legal and policy guidelines, and in the implementation of measures that have proven more effectively instrumented by civil society organizations.


The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to help States, and others, promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health (right to health). Dainius Pūras (Lithuania) is a medical doctor with notable expertise on mental health, child health, and public health policies. He is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child psychiatry social paediatrics at Vilnius University, and teaches at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International relations and political science and Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, Lithuania. Learn more.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

OHCHR Country page – Kyrgyzstan

For press inquiries and additional information, please contact:
In Bishkek (during the visit): Mr. Bakai Albanov (+996 312 388249, ext.229 / balbanov@ohchr.org) Lucía de la Sierra (+ 41 79 444 4552/ ldelasierra@ohchr.org)

In Geneva (during the visit): Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / bvukovic@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)      

This year is the 70th anniversaryof the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages –is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.