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Appeal from NGOs – response to the post of President of the Kyrgyz Republic

Appeal from NGOs – response to the post of President of the Kyrgyz Republic


Dear Sadyr Nurgozhoevich,


Representatives of NGOs in Kyrgyzstan are very upset and consider your decision on the bill “On Amendments to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Non-Profit Organizations” (on “foreign representatives”) not thought out. Your decision and the government’s policy regarding the signing of the bill on “foreign representatives” will lead to devastating socio-economic and political consequences in the country.

We turned to you as the Guarantor of the Constitution. If the state is interested in developing the socio-economic and political spheres, improving life and increasing the well-being of the population, then it should promote the development of civil society and the construction of a rule of law state. The main features of a rule of law state are the priority of law, the supremacy of law, the priority of human and civil rights and freedoms, a developed civil society, etc.

NGOs of Kyrgyzstan were subjected to sharp criticism in your Address, the humiliation of becoming “foreign representatives” working in the interests of another state, accusations of using grant funds for personal purposes, lack of registration with the Ministry of Justice, non-payment of taxes and social contributions, failure to submit reports to the relevant organs, etc.

Before you signed the law, NGOs in Kyrgyzstan asked you for a meeting to clarify issues related to NGOs. But, to our great regret, you were not able to meet with the NPO for more than 2 weeks. NGOs requested a meeting as early as March 14, 2024. April 2, 2024 is the day you signed the Law. After the Appeals to you and the proposed meeting with the NGO, your opinion could change dramatically. We, representatives of NGOs, are citizens of Kyrgyzstan like everyone else, and not “foreign agents” or “foreign representatives”.


In this regard, the NGO of Kyrgyzstan considers it necessary to respond to your decision to sign the bill on “foreign representatives”:


Regarding the lack of registration of NPOs with the Ministry of Justice

You stated that “NGOs working in our country for 30 years have not been registered anywhere.”


But a legal entity is considered created from the date of its state registration (Articles 84 and 86 of the Civil Code). Without registration of a legal entity, the organization’s activities cannot be carried out.


As of July 2023, the unified database of legal entities of the Ministry of Justice includes more than 30 thousand non-profit organizations in organizational and legal forms – public association, foundation and institution, namely: public associations – 10,313, foundations – 7,504 and institutions – 11,313 .


On April 7, 2024, in the Kabar news agency, you reported that “The draft law on amendments to the Law “On Non-Profit Organizations” has been discussed for several months. It was said then that one of the main goals of its adoption was to re-register non-governmental organizations financed from abroad and give them the status of “foreign representative”.

But a reasonable question arises: why is a state that annually receives about half a billion dollars in foreign aid from International Financial Institutions and bilateral donors not a “foreign representative”? Recipients of foreign funding are not only NGOs, but also government bodies and the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic, which is directly involved in political activities.

Here there is discrimination based on funding and labeling the NPO sector as a “foreign representative.”


Regarding the fact that NPOs do not submit reports to the relevant authorities and use funds for personal purposes, that NPOs deceive grantors and donors.”

You stated that NPOs “..did not report to anyone. They only opened bank accounts, took money from foreign donors and used it at their discretion, including for personal purposes. From now on, like everyone else, they will be registered with the Ministry of Justice. Bank accounts will be opened. Now they will start working openly.”


We inform you that in the previous Appeal of NPOs of Kyrgyzstan to you, information was provided in detail on the number and type of reports submitted by NPOs to the relevant authorities in accordance with the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic: Tax reports, Reports on social contributions, Statistical reports, Accounting reports, on the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic, on the basis which reports are submitted to NPOs. In 2021, amendments were adopted to the law of the Kyrgyz Republic, according to which NPOs submit financial reports using a separate new form.


NPOs in Kyrgyzstan have been bona fide taxpayers for 30 years. Those NPOs that have resources, grants and other income-generating activities conscientiously pay taxes and provide all types of reporting, in accordance with the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic.


Currently, NPOs submit regular reports to the State Tax Service, the Social Fund and statistical authorities on the basis of the following laws:

The Tax Code of the Kyrgyz Republic obliges NPOs to submit tax reports and a single tax return, the Code of the Kyrgyz Republic on non-tax income obliges NPOs to submit a report on non-tax payments, the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On State Social Insurance” obliges NPOs to submit reports on social contributions, the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Official Statistics” prescribes NPOs submit statistical reports, the Law of the KR “On Accounting” obliges NPOs to submit financial statements, the Law of the KR “On Non-Profit Organizations” obliges NPOs to publish on the State Tax Service website summary information about the sources of funds, the directions of their expenditure, as well as information about acquired, used and alienated property.


In addition, NPOs submit reports to grantors on the use of grant funds.


The openness and accountability of NPOs is evidenced by their contribution to the country’s economy. The share of NPO contribution to GDP is 0.3%.


You did not provide specific information about the use of grant funds for personal purposes, and there was no such information in open sources. You shouldn’t accuse an entire NGO sector without providing evidence. According to the presumption of innocence, “a person is considered innocent until his guilt in the crime committed is proven in the manner prescribed by law and established by a court verdict that has entered into legal force. The most important part of the presumption of innocence is the provision that the burden of proving the charge lies with the accuser.”


We would like to inform you that NPOs also submit reports to donors on the use of grant funds, are subject to audit, and donors carefully monitor the use of grant funds. No international organization will provide grant support to NPOs if the NPO does not have bank accounts or has frozen assets.


Regarding the donors who asked the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to adopt the bill on “foreign representatives”.

You stated that “They (NGOs) are spreading false information, saying: “We will be persecuted, we will be detained as agents of a foreign state. And the donors believed. That is why they are asking me not to sign this law.”


You did not note which donors stated that you should not sign this bill. Such information has not been published anywhere.


Many international organizations have proposed repealing this bill and protecting civil society from discrimination, including the following:


1) Head of RSF Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Jeanne Cavelier: “After arrests of journalists and attempts to introduce censorship, the law denigrating alleged “foreign agents” marks a new stage in the growing authoritarianism of President Japarov in Kyrgyzstan. The draconian measures envisaged could lead to the suppression of independent media, which are already under heavy pressure from the police. This law is just a pretext to put even more pressure on civil society and suppress pluralism in the media. We call for its immediate abolition”;


2) Miller on social network X: “We are deeply concerned about the adoption by the Kyrgyz Republic of the so-called Foreign Representatives Law, which jeopardizes the important work of NGOs helping the people of the Kyrgyz Republic. We call on the Kyrgyz government to protect civil society – the cornerstone of democracy”;


3) EU Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic: “The recent adoption in the Kyrgyz Republic of the law on “non-profit organizations”, better known as the law on “foreign representatives”, is an alarming development. Legislation that restricts the freedom of activity of civil society organizations may have a negative impact on Kyrgyz society and its cooperation with international partners such as the European Union;


4) Gulnoza Said, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Representative: “President Sadyr Japarov’s decision to follow Russia’s lead on the ‘foreign agent’ law threatens to erase Kyrgyzstan’s 30-year status as a relative haven of free speech and democracy in post-Soviet Central Asia. Although the current form of the law does not directly target the media, it could harm the work of press freedom groups and non-profit organizations that run several of Kyrgyzstan’s prominent independent media outlets and should be repealed.”


5) Press Secretary of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Jeremy Lawrence: “The law on “foreign representatives” signed by the President of Kyrgyzstan will pose a serious threat to the work of numerous civil society organizations in the country and, more broadly, will violate fundamental rights to freedom of expression, associations, peaceful assembly and the right to take part in public affairs.”


6) OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro: “I share ODIHR’s concerns about the recently adopted law on “foreign representatives” in Kyrgyzstan, as it may pose a threat to media freedom and pluralism in the country.”

7) etc.


Regarding the division of NPO activities into political and non-political activities.

The bill divides the activities of NPOs into political and non-political activities. But every citizen of the country has political rights, both social and economic. According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), UN Resolutions, every citizen has the right to engage in political activity. One of the main political tasks of the state is to ensure human rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.


The prohibition to engage in political activity contradicts the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic and international human rights documents.


Article 37 of the Political Rights section of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic establishes the following norms:


“2. Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic have the right to participate in the management of the affairs of society and the state, both directly and through their representatives”;


“4. Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic have the right to participate in the discussion and adoption of laws and decisions of republican and local significance.”


NGOs in Kyrgyzstan work in various fields, playing a political role in society, helping to improve public administration and ensuring the rights of different categories of citizens. Political activities are carried out by NPOs in defense of human rights and public interests through various peaceful instruments of activity, such as training, the work of crisis centers and assistance centers, making proposals, public appeals to government bodies, participation in public and parliamentary hearings, monitoring the provision of rights of different categories of citizens, research and analytical work, conducting public debates, discussions, surveys, speeches, and much more.


The provisions of the bill that restrict the “political activities” of NPOs contradict the ICCPR, UN Resolutions on the right of citizens to participate in the management of public affairs and the above provisions of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.


Regarding the absence of secrets in the state

The issue of the absence of secrets in the state is controversial, since the President of the Kyrgyz Republic did not indicate what state secrets we are talking about.


In conclusion of the Appeal, NPOs of Kyrgyzstan are asked to repeal the signed Law “On Amendments to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Non-Profit Organizations”.


A developed, strong and active civil society is one of the main indicators of the level of socio-economic, political and other aspects of a country’s development. NGOs in Kyrgyzstan are a reliable partner and ally of the state and have unique experience and knowledge capital in solving various pressing issues and problems to improve the lives of their beneficiaries.


We wrote you Appeals, we thought you were being misled. It turns out we were wrong, you knew everything and supported the initiators.


We ask you to repeal the signed law “On Amendments to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Non-Profit Organizations” (on “foreign representatives”). To be the Guarantor of the Constitution, the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.




Aitbaeva Chinara, PF “Our Century”,

Davletbaeva Galina, NGO “Citizens for Development”,

Toroev Zhenishbek Isaevich, ANGO “Advocacy Center for Human Rights”,

Djurabaeva Gulnara, Erkin gezit,

Kambarov Ilgiz, Green Alliance KG,

Ilyasova Syyapat, Chuy ayaldar borboru,

Kamil Ruziev, Ventus LLC,