Kyrgyzstan: Religion Law changes being done "democratically"
According to the press release, government-backed changes to Kyrgyzstan's Religion Law have begun passage in Parliament, Forum 18 News Service notes.
If eventually adopted, they would ban sending students for foreign religious education without state permission, require religious communities to have 200 founders in one locality, and ban all foreigners exercising freedom of religion or belief without a state license. The amendments do not address the long-standing issue of obstructions or denials of burials according to their own rites to deceased Protestants, Baha'is, Jehovah's Witnesses and Hare Krishna devotees.
Mira Karybaeva of the Presidential Administration claimed to Forum 18 that "we're doing all this democratically", insisting that "government and society have reached a consensus". Her claim of "consensus" ignored heavy criticisms by human rights defenders such as the Open Viewpoint Foundation and others, including that the amendments increase the risk of conflict.
Meanwhile, Ahmadi Muslims are again challenging state denials of registration and so of permission to exist, and Jehovah's Witnesses have taken state registration denials to the UN Human Rights Committee.