|Occupation||Human rights defender|
Tolekan Asanalievna Ismailova (Kyrgyz: Төлөкан Асаналиевна Исмаилова; born 17 June 1954)is a Kyrgyz human rights defender and director of Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan (formerly known as Citizens Against Corruption) since May 2000, the Executive Secretary of the Kyrgyzstan NGOs Forum and founding president of Kyrgyzstan's Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society.
Ismailova was born in the Northern Tien Shan Mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan. Her father was a Kyrgyz language and literature teacher and a World War II Veteran. Ismailova holds a degree in foreign languages from the Kyrgyz National University.
As founder and President of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, Ismailova played a role in uniting the NGO sector of Kyrgyzstan.In 2003, Ismailova was selected as a Reagan Fascell Democracy Program Fellow by the National Endowment for Democracy.
In 2007, Ismailova was arrested for her participation in a national campaign called “I don’t believe,” which protested the inconsistencies in the 2007 Parliamentary election.
As the director for Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan, meaning “One World,” Ismailova holds an annual human rights documentary film festival. In 2012, its sixth festival had nationwide controversy over a documentary about homosexuality and Islam in Morocco called I Am Gay and Muslim.A court banned its screening at the festival. Although Ismailova appealed the ban, it was unsuccessful. She also complained that two days before the scheduled screening, the State Committee on Homeland Security had acted illegally forcing her to hand over a copy of the film. After the screening, Ismailova and her family were labeled as “extremists and promoters of inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts” by the central intelligence agencies.
Former Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev accused Ismailova of working to overthrow his government using support from foreign secret services.Ismailova and fellow activist Aziza Abdirasulova filed a court case against the government and requested an official apology. The apology was never granted.
Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Asia, lying in the Tian Shan and Pamir mountain ranges. Bishkek is the capital and largest city of the country. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, and China to the east and southeast. Ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the country's seven million people, followed by significant minorities of Uzbeks and Russians.
Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva is a Kyrgyz diplomat and politician who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 7 April 2010 until 1 December 2011, becoming the first female Central Asian head of state. She was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April Revolution, which led to the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. She previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as head of the parliamentary caucus for the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan.
Zamira Sydykova served as Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States and Canada from 2005 to 2010, after a career as an opposition journalist, including imprisonment by the government of then-president Askar Akayev. After the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010, Ambassador Sydykova served as a trade advisor, scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, associate with Carnegie Endowment, as well as resumed her editorship of Res Publica. Ambassador Sydykova has received awards from the International Women's Media Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.
Human rights in Kyrgyzstan improved after the ouster of President Askar Akayev in the 2005 Tulip Revolution and the installment of a more democratic government under Roza Otunbayeva. While the country is performing well compared to other states in Central Asia, many human rights violations still take place. While LGBT rights have been declining in recent years, freedom of press has been improving.
Ala kachuu is a form of bride kidnapping still practiced in Kyrgyzstan. The term can apply to a variety of actions, ranging from a consensual elopement to a non-consensual kidnapping, and to what extent it actually happens is controversial. Some sources suggest that currently at least a third of Kyrgyzstan's brides are taken against their will.
The American University of Central Asia (AUCA), formerly the Kyrgyz-American School and the American University in Kyrgyzstan, is a liberal arts university located in Bishkek, the capital of the republic of Kyrgyzstan.
Edil Baisalov is a Kyrgyz politician, who currently serves as the Deputy prime minister in government of Kyrgyz Republic. He participated in the Tulip Revolution of 2005 and following the 2010 Kyrgyzstani uprising on April 7, 2010, briefly served as Chief of Staff of the interim government led by Roza Otunbayeva. Known in Kyrgyzstan as the "Great Justifier" and the main advocate of Kyrgyz authorities.
Almazbek Sharshen uulu Atambayev is a Kyrgyz politician who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 1 December 2011 to 24 November 2017. He was Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan from 17 December 2010 to 1 December 2011, and from 29 March 2007 to 28 November 2007. He served as Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) from 30 July 1999 to 23 September 2011.
The Foundation for Tolerance International is a Kyrgyz non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1998 to prevent conflict and build peace and justice in Central Asia. It has operated for nine years in a fluid and changing context, but it has remained focused on its original goals of conflict prevention on a range of vertical and horizontal conflicts. FTI’s work is focused on two main directions:
Women in Kyrgyzstan traditionally had assigned roles, although only the religious elite sequestered women as was done in other Muslim societies. Rural inhabitants continue the traditional Siberian tribal practice of bride kidnapping. Bride kidnapping, known as ala kachuu, girls as young as 12 years old are kidnapped for forced marriage, by being captured and carried away by groups of men or even relatives who, through violence or deception, take the girl to the abductor's family who forces and coerces the young woman to accept the illegal marriage. In most cases, the young woman is raped immediately in the name of marriage.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Kyrgyzstan face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Kyrgyzstan, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Prostitution in Kyrgyzstan has been legal since 1998, but the operation of brothels, pimping, and recruiting persons into prostitution are illegal, with penalties of up to five years There are estimated to be 7,100 sex workers in the country. Prostitution occurs on the streets, in bars, hotels and brothels.
Cholpon Orozobekova is a prominent Kyrgyz journalist, mediapreneur, human rights activist and an analyst on Central Asian issues currently based in Geneva.
Bir Bol, officially the Political Party of State Unity and Patriotism "Bir Bol", was a liberal political party in Kyrgyzstan. It was led by Altynbek Sulaymanov. The party had been described having 'low visibility'. The party entered parliament for the first time with in 2015, following the 2015 Kyrgyz parliamentary election in which it garnered 8.52% of the vote. It lost all its 12 seats in the 2020 Kyrgyz parliamentary election, which was subsequently annulled. The party participated in the 2021 elections as part of the Alliance party.
Kloop is a media organization based in Kyrgyzstan known for its news website and journalism investigations. Founded in 2007, Kloop gained prominence in Kyrgyzstan three years later, when it investigated criminal activities of the son of the president of Kyrgyzstan. Today Kloop is one of the most popular news websites in Kyrgyzstan.
Raimbek Matraimov is a Kyrgyz politician. He was the deputy chair of the State Customs Service of Kyrgyzstan. After being fired in late 2017, Matraimov became a central figure in an ongoing large scale money-laundering case, one of the biggest scandals in the history of Kyrgyz politics.
Sadyr Nurğojo uulu Japarov is a Kyrgyz politician who is currently serving as the president of Kyrgyzstan since 28 January 2021. He had previously served as the acting prime minister of Kyrgyzstan in the 2020 interim government following the resignation of President Sooronbay Jeenbekov. Japarov also became acting president of Kyrgyzstan after Jeenbekov's resignation but resigned himself on 14 November 2020 to run for the 2021 presidential election, where he was elected to succeed the acting president Talant Mamytov.
Snap parliamentary elections were held in Kyrgyzstan on 28 November 2021. They followed the annulment of the results of the October 2020 elections and the subsequent protests against the election's conduct. Seven parties passed the 5% threshold and will take up seats in the parliament. Turnout hit a record low at less than 35%.
Kyrgyz anti-LGBT propaganda law has been enacted on 14 August 2023. The bill was introduced on 17 March 2023 and will come into effect on 30 August 2023. The official title of the law is "On introducing amendments to several legal acts of the Kyrgyz Republic". It consists of amendments to the Code of Misdemeanors, the law "On measures to prevent harm to children's health, physical, intellectual, mental, spiritual and moral development in the Kyrgyz Republic", and the law "On Mass Media". The law expands the definition of "information harmful to the health and development of children" to include information that "denies family values, promotes non-traditional sexual relationships, and encourages disrespect for parents or other family members" and subjects those who disseminate such information among minors to fines.
I Am Gay and Muslim is a 2012 English-language documentary directed by Chris Belloni. Filmed in Morocco, it follows five gay Muslim men as they explore their religious and sexual identity. The film has been screened in more than a dozen countries.