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Kyrgyzstan Comes Closer to Passing ’Homosexual Propaganda’ Bill

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Jun 20, 2014
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Protesters with a Kyrgyz flag block a road to the gold mine outside the Kyrgyz town of Barskoon.
Protesters with a Kyrgyz flag block a road to the gold mine outside the Kyrgyz town of Barskoon.  (Source:AP Photo/Vladimir Voro)

A bill that mirrors Russia’s highly controversial "homosexual propaganda" law inches closer to becoming a reality in Kyrgyzstan as the Central Asian country’s human rights committee approved the measure this week, BuzzFeed reports.

If the bill becomes law it will make it a crime to spread information "aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations" to minors. Those who violate the law would be subjected to fines of about $115 (more than half the average monthly salary in Kyrgyzstan) and up to a year in prison.

BuzzFeed notes that Kyrgyzstan has remained a poor country ever since gaining independence after the Soviet Union collapsed. The country’s government accepts both U.S. and Russian aid, though the country will most likely join a Russian-led Customs Union.

"These bills - they are a tool for mobilizing public support for the government, for the Russian government as well," Anna Kirey, an LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, told BuzzFeed.

The bill was passed on June 17 by a 4-3 vote.

The European Union called the draft measure one of the most "sweeping anti-propaganda bills ever published," according to Gay Star News.

"It’s only been 16 years since Kyrgyzstan decriminalized homosexuality," Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to Kyrgyzstan and member of the EU LGBT Intergroup said. She added that it’s important the former Soviet State not discriminate against the LGBT community.

"I urge the Kyrgyzstan not to go back to state-sponsored homophobia," she said.

LGBT activists say if the bill is passed it will increase violence against the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan. Daniyar Orsekov, who leads the LGBT organization Kyrgyz Indigo, told BuzzFeed three of his employees were attacked a few weeks ago outside a gay club.

"They were beaten up by several young guys," he said. "They were really well-organized and they were waiting and trying to block all entrances."

LGBT people in the country wrote letters urging lawmakers to vote down the bill even though they believe the measure will most likely pass if put to a vote.

"Your bills and bans are based on ignorance and prejudice. They arouse only hatred in society. Even now in the comments and discussions [around this bill] I hear calls to ’destroy,’ and this is speaking about real people," one LGBT person wrote.

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