BISHKEK, April 23. Kyrgyz authorities are considering making changes and amendments to several laws to make sure that the laws will be in accordance with the newly adopted version of the Constitution and Kyrgyzstan's international commitments. Kyrgyz Foreign Minister, Askar Aitmatov, and Ombudsman, Tursunbai Bakir-Uulu, held a joint press conference on the issues in Bishkek today. Aitmatov said that a special group revised about 60 existing laws and carefully studied about 12 international agreements signed and ratified by Kyrgyzstan. As a result of the work, about 12 draft laws on amendments and changes to the current laws were prepared to be passed to Kyrgyz parliament.
According to one of the proposed draft laws, there is no need to obtain special permission to organize demonstrations, meetings, marches and pickets in the country. Freedom of religion will be preserved; however, political activities of confessions will not be allowed. The Government is cautious about an underground political organization, the "Khizbu-t-Takhrir" Party, that aims to fight for the establishment of an Islamic state in Central Asia, as it puts it, by peaceful means.
Ombudsman, Bakir-Uulu emphasized that several experts and representatives of the country's NGOs participated in the preparation of the draft laws aimed to strengthen the protection of human rights. Now the drafts will be considered and adopted by Parliament and signed by President.
In the meantime, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights made a statement which says: "Ramazan Dyryldaev, Chairman of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (KCHR), is reportedly being sought by representatives of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior in the context of a campaign to discredit the human rights organization.
Over the past several days, Interior Ministry officials as well as those representing the Department of Organized and Economic Crime have approached members of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights inquiring as to the whereabouts of Mr. Dyryldaev. According to reports received by the IHF, his apartment has reportedly been under surveillance.
Mr. Dyryldaev spent almost two years in exile in Vienna, in 2000- 2002, fearing his arrest on false charges.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) is deeply concerned about the continuing harassment of Ramazan Dyryldaev and attempts by state authorities to interfere with the work of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights."
Some of KCHR members have been accusing Dyryldaev of alleged financial shortcomings. It is unclear whether their criticism was initiated by local authorities or not. So far, KCHR members said that they were acting independently.
Compiled and translated by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev and edited by Charles Carlson in Prague