The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM), the Tian Shan Policy Center (TSPC) of the American University of Central Asia, Bir Duino Human Rights Movement, and the Southern Regional Centre for Social and Health Rights joined efforts to co-organize a two-day event on the right to remedy and reparation for victims of torture and ill-treatment.
The event, held at the Damas Hotel in Bishkek, was split into a training on digital security on 28 May and a round-table on the right to remedy and reparation on 29 May. There were 25 participants primarily from Osh and other districts.
On 28 May, participants received a detailed introductory training on the strengthening of digital and physical security. The training on IT security was provided by Mr. Maksat Sabyrov, expert on information security, and gave the participants the opportunity to review the state of their personal and institutional online security, and get information on how to strengthen data protection. The participants also worked in groups on strategies to reduce risks of physical attacks, and exchanged experiences and practices on how to mitigate reprisals and other intimidations against human rights defenders and victims of torture and ill-treatment, as well as their lawyers and relatives.
The round table held on 29 May was chaired by MP Mrs. A. Mambetalieva, member of the Jogorku Kenesh Committee on Human Rights, Constitutional Legislation, and State Structure. Its purpose was to provide a platform for civil society organisations defending victims of torture and their families to discuss current challenges, and strategies to improve the access to justice of torture victims.
After welcome remarks by the organizers, and by the chairperson MP Mrs. Mambetalieva, Mr. Daniele Rumolo gave an overview of the recommendations given by UN mechanisms to Kyrgyzstan over the last years, breaking them down by topics, and highlighting the fact that 89 recommendations have been issued on the fight against torture and ill-treatment, including several on the right to remedy and reparation for victims of torture and their relatives. He insisted on the need to implement them in a prompt manner. Ms. Tiphanie Crittin followed with a presentation on the meaning in international law of the term redress and on the different forms this right can take. Mr. Valerian Vahitov then gave an analysis of the national legal framework and raised the issue of the lengthy delays in court decisions. Subsequently, Mr. Jenish Toroev evoked the concrete obstacles and dangers faced by torture victims during criminal investigations and while seeking a remedy.
In a second session, Ms. Shushan Khachyan (OHCHR) gave a detailed presentation on the procedure of filing individual complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee, and in particular of the admissibility criteria. She was followed by Ms. Alexandra Cherkasenko (OSJI), who gave a comprehensive overview of the individual cases submitted to the HRC against the Kyrgyz Republic, and in particular the case of Moidunov v. Kyrgyzstan. She then discussed with the audience the issue of non-implementation by the State of Views rendered by the HRC.
In a last session, Mr. Umar Shadiev presented the experience of his organization, the Southern Regional Centre for Social and Health Rights, in documenting torture and ill-treatment according to the Istanbul Protocol in the Osh area. He stressed the crucial need for proper medical and forensic evidence-gathering in torture cases. Subsequently, Ms. Andrea Schuechner chaired a plenary session on the Theory of Change, in which she specifically addressed the issue of targeting the right stakeholders in State advocacy strategies for the implementation of the right to remedy and reparation.
During the whole day, the participants actively engaged in the discussions and gave numerous recommendations to the Human Rights Committee of the Parliament. The level of commitment and contribution by the different representatives gave yet another signal of the civil society’s expectations towards the State for a full implementation of the right to remedy and reparation for victims of torture and ill-treatment.