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UN expert visits Kyrgyzstan to assess rights of minorities


GENEVA (4 December 2019) – The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, will visit Kyrgyzstan from 6 to 17 December 2019 to gather first-hand information on the situation of minorities, and to identify good practices as well as key areas that require improvement.

He will look at laws, policies and practices that affect persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, with issues including equality and non-discrimination, effective participation and representation, access to quality education and the status of minority languages, including sign language.

He will also explore the situation of religious minorities, and measures to address hate speech and incitement to inter-ethnic and religious hatred.

“I look forward to engaging with the authorities, civil society and others to assess the legislative, institutional and policy framework for promoting and protecting the human rights of minorities,” said de Varennes.

“This constructive dialogue will identify good practices as well as areas for improvement in the country’s efforts to ensure full implementation of its international human rights commitments.”

During his 12-day mission, the Special Rapporteur will travel to the capital Bishkek and to other regions where minorities live, Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken. He will meet senior government and regional officials, representatives of civil society and members of minorities, including of the deaf community.

At the end of his visit, on Tuesday 17 December 2019, de Varennes will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a news conference at the UN House, 160 Chui Avenue, Bishkek 720040, at 12:00 local time. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of his visit to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.


Mr. Fernand de Varennes was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues by the Human Rights Council in June 2017. He is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council, to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, among other things.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof 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.

Read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

UN Human Rights country page: Kyrgyzstan

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
Ms Iulia Votslava (+996 312 388 249 / ivotslava@ohchr.org ), or
Mr. Damianos Serefidis (+41 79 752 04 81 / dserefidis@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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