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Kyrgyzstan: Foreign Agent Bill Nixed, NGOs Rejoice

After two years of tortuous debates in parliament, civil society in Kyrgyzstan has cause for celebration.

A contentious bill, modeled on a similar piece of legislation in Russia, that would in an earlier form have seen internationally funded nongovernment group designated as “foreign agents” was rejected by Kyrgyz deputies on May 12.

Out of the 111 members of parliament present, 65 voted against the bill, which was undergoing its third and final reading.

The legislation was first presented in 2014 by Tursunbai Bakir Uulu and Nurkamil Madaliev, two deputies that have since left parliament, and has proceeded in fits and starts ever since.

In the days preceding parliament’s final decision on the bill, rights groups mounted a lively campaign of opposition. On May 11, around a dozen activists rallied in front of parliament, urging deputies to reject the bill. 

Tolekan Ismailova, head of the Bir Duino human rights organization, which gathers information on cases of torture and corruption, said at the protest that the bill was “discriminatory and inhumane”.

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Kyrgyzstan: Foreign Agent Bill Nixed, NGOs Rejoice

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