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Statement on Recent Events Threatening Freedom of Speech and Regarding Gender-Based Violence
April 16, 2021

Yesterday’s events at the Ministry of the Interior headquarters are cause for deep concern.  We echo the statement by President Japarov’s spokesperson that opinions should not be expressed in a threatening way, and even more so, should not be accompanied by the use of force.

The threat of mob violence and intimidation tactics against demonstrators exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly is unacceptable.  The United States calls on the Kyrgyz government and law enforcement to protect the free exercise of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly from any party that seeks to restrict these rights.  We also note that those responsible for yesterday’s violent intimidation, as well as those who attacked a Women’s Day demonstration last year, have not been held accountable for their actions. We urge the government to investigate and bring these individuals to justice.

We also take this opportunity to express our deep sadness at the recent kidnapping and murder of Aizada Kanatbekova, and send our condolences to her loved ones and all the other family and friends of victims of gender-based violence.  As the Deputy Mufti of Kyrgyzstan clearly stated, Ala Kachyy infringes on the freedom, life, honor and dignity of women.

Gender-based violence threatens not only all who live under its oppression, but all of society. Because of gender-based violence, wrongly justified by false tradition, Aizada was unfairly stripped of her future.  We stand in solidarity, here and around the globe, with those who seek to build a future free from gender-based violence.