Demonstrators at Women’s March in Kyrgyzstan Assaulted by Masked Men
On the International Women’s Day on March 8, demonstrators rallying against gender-based violence in the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, were assaulted by a group of masked men. Following the assault, authorities detained dozens of the women who were demonstrating; while none of the attackers have been detained.
The unknown attackers provoked the rally by physically attacking the demonstrators, destroying their property and throwing eggs and rocks, leaving some participants and journalists injured.
The police’s inaction during the assault and harsh response aimed at the demonstrators peacefully marching in solidarity for Women’s Day, is a breach of civil rights for peaceful rallies and freedom of assembly.
Civic Solidarity Platform member Public Association “Human Rights Movement: Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan” called upon the Office and of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) to press Kyrgyzstan on their obligation under international human right law to protect the right to peaceful assembly. The authorities should condemn the violent acts against women, actively take measures to protect the right to peaceful assembly, and initiate an investigation into the police officers and those who provoked the assault.
The attack was condemned by Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir ODIHR Director, who underlined the importance of protecting women’s right to have their voices heard and respecting the right to peaceful assembly by the authorities and law enforcement. Noting the questionable action/inaction by the police during the assault at the march to protect demonstrators and even their possible involvement in the assault.
The Civic Solidarity Platform in its Bratislava Declaration of December 2019 called on all OSCE participating states to uphold freedom of assembly. International standards require the protection of peaceful protestors by the authorities. The international community should, both in bilateral and multilateral contacts, urge the authorities to start criminal investigations into the actions of those who violently disrupted the rally rather than into the women demonstrating.