Equal Rights Trust urges central asian states to adopt comprehensive equality laws at annual OSCE conference

This evening, in Warsaw, the Equal Rights Trust will bring together participants at the 2017 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Human Dimension Implementation Meeting to discuss the need for states in Central Asia to adopt comprehensive equality laws. Our event is being held alongside Europe’s largest annual human rights conference, which brings together government and non-government representatives from all 57 OSCE participating states to discuss states' commitment to democracy and human rights.

Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Central Asia

Today’s event will discuss the findings and recommendations of the Trust’s research, with our partners, on discrimination and inequality in KazakhstanKyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This research finds that, 25 years after they attained independence, discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, political opinion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and other grounds remains prevalent in all three countries, and that all have yet to put in place an effective legal framework on equality and non-discrimination. Our conclusions and recommendations are presented in three reports, first published in December 2016:

  • In the Name of Unity concludes that the vision of a unified Kazakhstan promoted by President Nazarbayev since independence has been too narrow, excluding those whose religion, ethnicity or political opinion challenge his vision.
  • Looking for Harmony finds that in Kyrgyzstan, since 2010, the state has not only failed to tackle long-standing inequalities affecting women and ethnic Uzbeks, but has taken measures which have further marginalised religious, sexual and other minorities.
  • After the Padishah finds that the regime of the late Islam Karimov has been the key driver of discrimination in Uzbekistan, as Islam and ethnicity were co-opted, and the state suppressed all forms of dissent. It sounds a note of hope that, following Karimov’s passing, the state may act to address these problems.

The reports conclude that if these three states are to fulfil the promises of unity, harmony and democracy made by political leaders at the point of their independence, they must undertake legal reforms, including in particular enacting comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, in line with international standards.

Ethnic and Religious Discrimination

Today’s event will also see the launch of a new publication, Legacies of Division: Discrimination on the Basis of Religion and Ethnicity in Central Asia, which examines transnational and regional patterns of ethnic and religious discrimination in the region. The publication aims to spark debate on common causes of such discriminaiton and to foster discussion on potential solutions.

Join Us for the Event

If you are at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting today and would like to attend our event please click here for full details.

Our Reports

In the Name of Unity, Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kazakhstan
Looking for Harmony, Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kyrgyzstan  
After the Padishah, Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Uzbekistan
Legacies of Division, Discrimination on the Basis of Religious and Ethnicity in Central Asia


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