EbeneInfo – US – Kyrgyzstan urged to delay reforms until new parliament is sworn in • Today News Africa

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The accelerated efforts in Kyrgyzstan to introduce far-reaching constitutional changes ahead of new parliamentary elections endanger basic human rights and the democratic process, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday. which could be put to a vote by referendum on January 10, 2021, were made public on November 17, 2020 after former acting president Sapar Japarov called for constitutional changes

« Kyrgyzstan’s provisional parliament lacks the legitimacy to initiate far-reaching constitutional amendments, especially in a way that runs counter to the process provided for in the constitution, » said Hugh Williamson, director for Europe and Central Asia of Human Rights Watch « Any constitutional reform should be postponed until a new parliament is sworn in, so that there is no doubt about Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to human rights and the state of right « 

The role of this outgoing parliament is not to rush constitutional amendments, but to perform essential functions of governance in accordance with the rule of law until the will of the people is expressed in the process. free and fair elections, Human Rights Watch said

Following the contested parliamentary elections on October 4 and subsequent protests, Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) overturned the result on October 6 On October 21, the committee scheduled a resumption of parliamentary elections for December 20

However, on October 22, Parliament passed amendments postponing the new parliamentary elections to some time before June 2021 to allow for constitutional reforms The amendments were passed in violation of procedural standards and went through three readings in parliament in one day

On November 2, the Constitutional Chamber of Kyrgyzstan declared that it would consider an appeal against the constitutionality of the amendments adopted on October 22

Meanwhile, in an urgent Amicus Curiae brief on November 17, the European Commission for Democracy through Law, also known as the Venice Commission, stated that “when the mandate of Parliament ends , its political legitimacy is diminished « and, time, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan » is only allowed to exercise certain ordinary functions, while it is not allowed to approve extraordinary measures, including constitutional reforms « 

The changes are profound in the way Kyrgyzstan is governed, significantly weakening the Kyrgyzstan parliament, introducing a people’s council and concentrating power within the presidency The question of whether the country should have a system presidential or parliamentary system is a political choice to be made by citizens.But what is important from a human rights perspective is that whatever political system is, it has checks and balances to prevent abuse of power by those who hold political office

Proposed constitutional changes drastically erode executive checks and balances, Human Rights Watch said

The proposals also include, for example, a measure that would ban publications, including electronic media, as well as public performances and events contrary to « generally recognized moral values ​​and traditions of the people of Kyrgyzstan. » Such a provision is incompatible with Kyrgyzstan’s obligations to respect and protect the fundamental rights of expression, assembly and association

In addition, there is not enough time by January 10, when constitutional changes could be voted on by referendum, to meet the constitutionally prescribed deadlines for the ‘passage of the constitutional amendments bill, which raises serious concerns about the good faith intention to pursue these amendments, Human Rights Watch Art 114 said, states that in order to change the constitution, « A law amending this constitution will be adopted by the Jogorku Kenesh [parliament] by a majority of at least two-thirds of the total number of Jogorku Kenesh deputies after at least three readings with an interval of two months between readings « 

Since the draft constitutional amendments were made public, they have attracted strong criticism, especially from current parliamentarians, former interim president Roza Otunbaeva and human rights defenders and activists, among others. others A peaceful march « For the Constitution! » was summoned on November 22 in Bishkek

After elections are held and a new parliament is sworn in, Kyrgyzstan’s parliament could propose constitutional reforms and a full deliberative consultation process can take place, Human Rights Watch said

Kyrgyzstan’s international partners, in particular the European Union and its member states, the United States and the United Kingdom, should publicly urge the Kyrgyz government to give due weight to the findings of the amicus curiae brief of the Venice Commission and to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted in accordance with the constitution and fundamental freedoms of Kyrgyzstan

« The fact that the leaders of Kyrgyzstan are now trying to push through constitutional changes, before resuming parliamentary elections and in violation of procedures set out in the constitution, suggests ulterior motives, » said Williamson  » The priority should now be to ensure free, fair and timely elections « 

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EbeneInfo – United States – Kyrgyzstan urged to delay reforms until new parliament is sworn in • Today News Africa
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