Constitutional reform in Kyrgyzstan UK statement

Madam Chairperson,

Norway also aligns to this statement.

I would like to thank the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for a thorough analysis of Kyrgyzstan’s proposed draft constitution. The UK welcomes the Kyrgyz Republic’s willingness to work with ODIHR in its ambition to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

Whilst noting some positive changes in the draft constitution, the legal opinion nonetheless raises a number of concerns. As well as procedural irregularities linked to the referendum and the process of constitutional reform itself, of particular concern are proposals which concentrate power in the hands of the President, whilst undermining the democratic institutions which represent the checks and balances on the President’s role and so ensure a balance of power and institutional accountability.

We call on the Government of Kyrgyzstan to address the recommendations made by ODIHR and the Venice Commission. The OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek could assist in following up on these recommendations. Ensuring the separation of powers, providing due oversight to parliament, and reinforcing the independence of the judiciary are key to ensuring accountability. They will also be important for success in the Government’s declared fight against corruption. Inclusive and appropriate consultation on constitutional reform is an integral part of the democratic process. Including more precise language on individual rights and state obligations will also help Kyrgyzstan ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

As a long-standing partner of Kyrgyzstan in working to achieve its ambition of stronger democracy and rule of law, the UK stands ready to support the government to carry out the recommendations of this report.

Thank you Madam Chair.

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