Senior UN rights official concludes trip to Kyrgyzstan

The Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, was in Kyrgyzstan as part of an official two-week visit to Central Asia. He met in Bishkek with President Askar Akaev and a host of top officials, including the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs, and stressed at every level that the real test of a national human rights policy was the extent to which it promoted genuine respect of human rights.The Kyrgyz leadership updated the UN rights official on the President’s National Human Rights Programme for 2002-2010, which emphasizes the constitutional values of human freedom, dignity and honour. They underlined the significance of the establishment of the post of Ombudsman and noted the recent announcement of the establishment of a Council on Democratic Security that would work on the elaboration of a Kyrgyz code of democratic values.While Mr. Ramcharan welcomed these initiatives, he stressed the importance of actual implementation of human rights. He urged that the Ombudsman be given the resources and support he would need to fulfil his mandate. He applauded the support that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is providing the Ombudsman, and expressed the hope that the project would be generously supported in the future.Mr. Ramcharan also recalled that the UN Human Rights Committee had indicated a number of problems, including in the functioning of the Kyrgyz judiciary, the treatment of detainees and prisoners, and violence against women. He urged tangible action to correct these continuing problems. He also urged that the recently revised Constitution, as well as relevant laws, be interpreted and applied in the letter and spirit of international human rights norms.The chief aim of Mr. Ramcharan’s trip has been to enhance dialogue and technical cooperation between the governments of the region and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as to follow-up on Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s visit to the region in October 2002. read more