FINAL WORKING MEETING IN BISHKEK
Yesterday, on December 23, a final meeting was held in Bishkek with the participation of representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, investigators of State Committee for National Security, human rights defenders and lawyers.
Gulbarchyn Ormonbekova, representative of the National Center for the Prevention of Torture, presented a brief overview of the facts of torture and ill – treatment. She noted that Kyrgyzstan has taken many positive steps to prevent torture, beginning with signing and ratifying the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and ending with criminalizion of torture. According to the statistics of the NCPR (National Centre for the Prevention of Torture), the number of applications and complaints about torture is decreasing every year, but this does not mean that the problem of torture has disappeared. According to Gulbarchyn, the NCPR conducts a survey for all detainees and according to the results of the latter, every third prisoner stated that he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment.
The representative of the Ombudsman Institute – Anvar Sultanbekov also said that the decrease in complaints of torture is not a decrease in the facts of torture themselves, since now they are committed at a latent level.
The meeting was also attended by the director of the Center for Coordination of
State-guaranteed Legal Aid – Akzhol Kalbekov. He said that there are more than 4,000 licensed lawyers in the Republic, and 2,500 working lawyers. In the register of lawyers of Center for Coordination of State-guaranteed Legal Aid – 380 people. These figures indicate a shortage of lawyers in the regions to provide state-guaranteed legal assistance.
The issue of timely and correct documentation of the facts of torture and ill-treatment caused heated discussions. A representative of the Center for Emergency Medicine said that paramedics are not qualified to fully examine victims of torture. This issue was put on the agenda and will be discussed and worked out in the future.
The participants of the meeting agreed that the Prosecutor General’s Office and human rights defenders are taking positive steps to combat torture, but there are still issues and problems that need to be addressed. And such meetings are a good platform for the exchange of information and discussions.
The Coalition against Torture in Kyrgyzstan expresses its gratitude to the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek for its assistance and support.