[Country Profile Page]
|Social and Moral Index||88th best|
|Life Expectancy||69.98yrs (2017)2|
Kyrgyzstan is generally poor at ensuring human rights and freedom compared to the rest of the world. Kyrgyzstan does better than average for freethought3, its nominal commitment to Human Rights4 and in LGBT equality5. But unfortunately Kyrgyzstan gets most other things wrong. It does worse than average in the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators)6, commentary in Human Rights Watch reports7 (still high for Asia), opposing gender inequality8, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms9, supporting press freedom10 (still good for Asia) and in speed of uptake of HR treaties11. LGBT folk experience ill-treatment, extortion, and discrimination, both from wider society and the government12,13. The government sometimes persecutes, wrongly imprisons and harasses human rights defenders and 2017 took further steps to limit the civil freedom of peaceful assembly12. Allegations of torture are largely ignored (of 435 complains in 2016, 400 were not investigated)12.
|Compared to Asia (2020)14|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)14|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|79||Trinidad & Tobago||81.5|
The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark15. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu15.
The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe15, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia15.
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Amnesty International's 2023-23 summary on human rights in Kyrgyzstan stated:
“Peaceful demonstrators faced serious restrictions. New forms of reporting were introduced for NGOs receiving foreign funding. Journalists and activists critical of the government faced attacks on social media and baseless prosecutions. Various laws were used to restrict the right to freedom of expression and prevent criticism of public figures by journalists and the media. Gender-based violence remained systemic and under-reported; perpetrators of such violence were seldom prosecuted. Conditions of detention failed to meet minimum human rights standards, in some cases leading to deaths in custody.”
"The State of the World's Human Rights 2022/23" by Amnesty International (2023)16
|Human Rights Watch Comments|
Higher is better7
Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.
|Nominal Commitment to HR|
Higher is better4
There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.
|HR Treaties Lag|
Lower is better11
Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
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|Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom|
Lower is better9
The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...
“... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]
The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]
Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.”
"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)17
Lower is better10
The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world, and is linked with Freedom of Speech and Good Governance. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted". The rankings are used as one of the datasets of the Social and Moral Development Index18
It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".
“Despite the legislation restricting harsh labor conditions for minors, the government does not effectively enforce the law and child labor is an ongoing problem in Kyrgyzstan. Children work in cotton and tobacco cultivation, mining and construction among other sectors. Others are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking; and illicit activities, including trafficking drugs, as a result of human trafficking.”
Lower is better19
The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory20. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends21. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life22. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves23.
The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery24. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity25. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.
'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.26. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi27, Eritrea27, Indonesia28) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery29.
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Kyrgyzstan has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.
Lower is better8
The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchalism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.
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Domestic violence is widespread, and there is a strange and damaging cultural practice in Kyrgyzstan, involving kidnapping young women and forcing them into marriage.
“Although prohibited by law, the practice of kidnapping women and girls for forced marriage is commonplace. In 2018, the United Nations estimated kidnappers forced 13.8% of girls under the age of 24 into marriage. Many Kyrgyz people, especially the older generation, see these kidnappings as a harmless tradition, but according to The Conversation, since 2018 at least two women, Aizada Kanatbekoya and Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, were killed by their kidnappers when they attempted to resist the marriage. Both murders spawned protests nationally [...]
Men married to kidnapped brides are more likely to abuse their wives and limit their pursuit of education and employment. [...] Observers reported that there was a greater frequency of early marriage, polygamy, and bride kidnapping in connection with unregistered religious marriages.”
Explicit public opposition to this began in the 1990s13, and it seems that the practice is destined to decline. In 2017 the Government adopted a Prevention and Protection against Family Violence law to curb abuse.
“[It] which requires police to register any domestic abuse complaint, and recognizes physical and psychological abuse, and "economic violence," which includes restricting access to and use of financial resources or other assets. The law mandates police and judicial response to domestic violence, and ensures victims´ access to shelter, psychosocial support, and legal aid. Some provisions of the law lack specificity and survivor protections.”
Since 2017, the government has taken a few further steps and increased the length of imprisonment for marriage-kidnapping to ten years.13
Lower is better6
The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) looks at gender biases across seven criteria; the % given here is for the total people who are biased across any of those criteria. By subtracting the value from 100%, you can see that those who do well on this index, you are seeing a count of those who do not appear to be biased against women in any of the criteria, and so, doing well on this index is a very positive sign for any country.
The data was included in UN (2022) with full results in Annex table AS6.7.1; their data stems for ranges between 2005 and 2022, depending on the country in question.
|Year Women Can Vote|
Lower is better
Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.
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“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people continued to experience ill-treatment, extortion, and discrimination by both state and non-state actors. There is widespread impunity for these abuses. Consideration of an anti-LGBT bill, which would ban “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” remained stalled in parliament”
Higher is better5
Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence33. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws34. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries33. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.
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Kyrgyzstan's Constitution has strong protections for religious equality and secularism, prohibiting the state against promoting a specific religion and guaranteeing freedom of belief13. Nevertheless, sometimes clergy gain improper influence over a politician, and sometimes, a politician gains undue influence over the Church, normally in both cases for mutual benefit13. In reality, the rights to conduct religion are hindered by poor human rights overall and limits on public expression13.
|Freedom of Thought|
Lower is better3
Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights35. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish36. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era37 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted38. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief39. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands3,40 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia3,41.
Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed42. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief36, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion43 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"44 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.
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