KYRGYZSTAN: Round Table on protecting the rights of children in the criminal justice system and closed institutions
On 18 September 2019, the Round Table on “Protection of children’s rights in the criminal justice system and closed institutions” was organized by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in cooperation with the Kyrgyz General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) and the Public Foundation “Child’s Rights Defenders League” in the framework of implementation of the Rule of Law Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic – phase 2.
As key speakers, Manfred Nowak and Helmut Sax covered topics of children as victims and witnesses of crimes, as well as putting forward recommendations for enhancement of the Justice for children and more broadly the situation of children “in closed institutions” in a holistic way using international standards and best practices. Inter alia, Manfred Nowak presented preliminary highlights from the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, which was covered in a specific panel moderated by BIM expert Dmitry Nurumov.
Speakers from Kyrgyzstan, including representatives of GPO, Ministry of Interior and leading NGOs on protecting children’s rights discussed broadly the progress and problems in this realm.
The GPO reported that in the first half of 2019, the General Prosecutor’s office revealed 3,975 violations against rights and interests of children and made 44 claims based on the results of inspections conducted on the supervision of the implementation of legislation on minors.
Kyrgyzstan has progressively prioritized issues of children’s rights and child protection over the recent two decades. Following its accession to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 7 October 1994, Kyrgyzstan embarked on incorporating the CRC and other relevant international norms in domestic legislation. The new Criminal Procedure Code, which entered into force in 2019, made criminal proceedings involving juvenile offenders more rehabilitation-focused. The Code contains a requirement for competent officials to develop rehabilitation plans from the moment proceedings are institutionalized and to participate in the proceedings at all stages in guardian ad litem capacity. However, detention and incarceration of minors remain quite widespread in the criminal justice system as well as outside in so-called “closed institutions”, and it is crucial that the reform process focussed on needs of children continues.
The Kyrgyz national TV covered the event.