In its early days, Kyrgyzstan demonstrated a strong commitment
to observation of human rights, from which it has subsequently
stepped back. Nevertheless, the republic remains generally more
sensitive to human rights than are the states in its immediate
The republic's constitution provides very strong guarantees of
personal liberty, protection of privacy, freedom of assembly and
expression, and other hallmarks of democratic societies. On several
occasions, the government has violated or abrogated the constitution,
raising the possibility of abuse of human rights.
In practice, however, the Akayev government has proven itself
generally responsive on issues of human rights, at least in part
because of the republic's dependence upon the approval of Western
financial supporters. The present legal system, which remains
based almost entirely upon Soviet-era practices, does permit pre-trial
detention of up to one year (there is no bail), which in one or
two celebrated cases has appeared abusive. However, international
monitoring organizations have found no evidence of political arrests,
detentions, disappearances, or extrajudicial punishments. There
have been some unsubstantiated complaints by political activists
of wiretapping and other illegal surveillance.
In a celebrated case in 1992, Uzbekistani security forces arrested
two Uzbek delegates to a human rights conference held in Bishkek.
Although this arrest was subsequently found to be in technical
agreement with Kyrgyzstani law, the public manner in which the
arrest was conducted demonstrated Kyrgyzstan's lack of resources
to defend human rights activists.
Data as of March 1996