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OSCE, Council of Europe: amendments to Kyrgyzstan’s assembly law raise serious concerns

01/07/2008

Warsaw/Strasbourg - The amendments to Kyrgyzstan’s assembly law passed by Parliament on 13 June raise a number of serious concerns, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission said in a joint opinion released on Friday.

“If signed into law, the changes would present a setback from the law before amendment. We therefore call on all stakeholders in the legislative process to take into account the recommendations made in our report and thus ensure that the amendments are in line with international standards,” said Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the ODIHR.

Gianni Buquicchio, the Secretary of the Venice Commission, added: “It is essential that the law reflect the positive obligation on the State to secure conditions permitting the exercise of the freedom of assembly.”

The joint opinion highlights concerns relating to the blanket restrictions on the place and time of assemblies, and says this exposes a larger problem of inadequate compliance with the core principle of proportionality.

The amended law does not provide for a genuine notification procedure, as there is no express provision allowing an assembly to proceed if the authorities fail to present timely and well-founded objections. The amendments also do not provide for spontaneous assemblies.

After having been passed by Parliament, the amendments are now pending with the President of Kyrgyzstan who has one month to sign them into law or veto them.

The ODIHR/Venice Commission opinion was prepared at the request of the Speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament. It analyzes the amendments in light of relevant international standards and makes recommendations for addressing the concerns identified.
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