BISHKEK. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Bertrand Ramcharan, has ended his two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan today. Today he met with the chairperson of the Constitutional Court, Cholpon Bayekova and chairperson of the High Court, Nellia Beishenalieva. Yesterday, he met with President Askar Akayev, the Ombudsman, Tursunbay Bakir-Uulu, lawmaker and chairperson of the Human rights committee of the Legislative Assembly (lower chamber) of Kyrgyz parliament, Oksana Malevannaia, and some other officials and representatives of NGOs to discuss problems of human rights in the country.
President Akayev stressed that the newly adopted version of the constitution gives priority to the protection of human rights.
Bakir-Uulu told RFE/RL today that he explained the situation objectively to Ramcharan during their Tuesday's meeting, emphasizing some shortcomings in providing freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, difficulties in protecting rights of people in prisons, and other problems. As Bakir-Uulu put it, Ramcharan raised the issue of refugees and the rights of their children, asking the Ombudsman to help them in resolving their social issues.
Malevannaia told journalists that Ramcharan was surprised to learn that a new draft of the structure of Kyrgyz parliament's does not have any committee for human rights issues. Because the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been praising Kyrgyzstan as a good example of parliamentarian activities in dealing with human rights issues, Malevannaia said.
Ramcharan is continuing his Central Asian trip, heading to Kazakhstan on Friday evening. Ramcharan visited Tajikistan from 3 to 5 March 2003, as part of his official visit to countries in Central Asia, to enhance dialogue and technical cooperation between the governments of the region and the OHCHR, and to follow-up on the Secretary-General's visit to the region in October 2002.