Bar Exams in the Pandemic JURIST Digital Scholars
UN experts accuse Kyrgyzstan of ‘bride kidnapping’ human rights violations
© WikiMedia (Peretz Partensky)
UN experts accuse Kyrgyzstan of ‘bride kidnapping’ human rights violations

UN experts on Monday accused [report, PDF] Kyrgyzstan of continuous human rights violations for failing to assist victims of abduction, rape and forced marriage.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [official website] conducted a confidential inquiry into “bride kidnapping” after receiving allegations from 14 organizations alleging the Kyrgyzstan has failed to prosecute perpetrators of “bride kidnapping.” While the act of “bride kidnapping” varies, a recurrent pattern is as follows:

A perpetrator or his parents choose a victim, who is abducted, usually with the help of family members or friends. She is brought by force to the house of the kidnapper’s parents, where preparations for a traditional wedding ceremony are already underway. … As soon as the victim’s or her parents’ consent has been obtained, the perpetrator’s family celebrates the religious wedding ceremony, regularly followed by rape during the night following the ceremony.

The experts stated that the victims are often isolated, neglected and abused, and their situation is further aggravated by the barriers they face in seeking access to justice, including legal illiteracy and bias on the part of the authorities.

The committee urged Kyrgyzstan to “strengthen its legislation and law enforcement, in particular by preventing, investigating, punishing and providing reparation for all crimes of abduction and related sexual violence.”

The committee further asked Kyrgyzstan to support victims and to report back to the committee in March 2019 with data on the practice.