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Kyrgyzstan: Tais Plus briefs CEDAW about violation of rights of sex workers

On 20-25 October 2008 Tais Plus, SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan presented its Shadow Report on the implementation of UN CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) by the Kyrgyz Republic at the 42nd CEDAW session in Geneva, Switzerland. More

On 20-25 October 2008 Tais Plus, SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan presented its Shadow Report on the implementation of UN CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) by the Kyrgyz Republic at the 42nd CEDAW session in Geneva, Switzerland.
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Together with other representatives of women’s organizations from Kyrgyzstan, Tais Plus raised the awareness of the CEDAW Committee members on the real situation of women in Kyrgyzstan.

 

The Shadow Report of Tais Plus focused on institutional discrimination and violations of rights of sex workers in the country. The two most outstanding issues within the Tais Plus Shadow Report were included in the country Oral Statement by NGOs from Kyrgyzstan during the Informal Meeting of CEDAW with NGO representatives on Monday, October 20, 2008. The first dealt with lack of redress for crimes committed by law enforcement officers against sex workers on a systematic basis. Often these violations of sex worker’s rights included physical violence, extortion of money, as well as illegal arrests and threats. The second issue concerned the impossibility of obtaining identification documents for sex workers, who have lost their documents in one or another way – mostly to their employers or law enforcement officers. The shocking statistics indicate that nearly every second sex worker woman does not have a national passport, which deprives her of basic citizenship rights and benefits.

 

These issues raised concern of CEDAW committee members, who asked several questions to the Kyrgyz governmental delegation presenting its Third Periodic Report on Thursday 23 October, 2008. One of the questions asked whether the Kyrgyz government was going to do anything with regards to systematic violence against women selling sex perpetrated by law enforcement organs. The governmental delegation’s reply left much to be desired, as there was no clear answer to a very clear question posed.

 

NGO Tais Plus is now awaiting the Concluding Comments to be provided by CEDAW committee members to the third periodic report of Kyrgyz Republic in the coming two weeks. We hope the committee member’s concern with the plight of women selling sex in Kyrgyzstan was strong enough to address this issue in their concluding remarks, which may serve as a starting point towards true promotion of rights and protection from discrimination of all women, regardless of their choice of occupation, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or ethnicity.

 

Besides Tais Plus, LGBT organization Labrys, Forum of Women’s NGOs and Crisis Centre Tendesh were the members of the NGO delegation that presented in Geneva. The main goal of the CEDAW is overall advancement and progress of all women and their protection from discrimination around the world.

 

The Shadow Report to the Third Periodic Report of Kyrgyzstan to CEDAW can be read here.

More info: Gulnara Kurmanova, gkurmanova@yandex.ru

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