Civil society activists in Kyrgyzstan are warily eyeing a criminal case initiated by the state security service against a local non-governmental organization in the southern capital Osh. The probe is fanning concern in the non-governmental sector that authorities are gearing up for a renewed push to pass a “foreign agents” law.
The local NGO at the center of the case is the Advocacy Center for Human Rights, which, in conjunction with the US-based watchdog organization Freedom House, was carrying out a pilot research project concerning the civil rights of ethnic minorities in two regions of southern Kyrgyzstan – Batken and Jalal-Abad. Minority rights have been a hot-button issue in southern Kyrgyzstan since 2010, when interethnic rioting left hundreds dead, and resulted in widespread property damage in and around Osh.
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Justin Burke is the Managing Editor of EurasiaNet.