Take the pledge - UNiTED we can stop violence against women and girls!

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“I want to look forward to my dad coming home from work.” Nurkyz, 10 years old

“I want girls to be able to go outside in the evening without being scared.” Begayym, 15 years old

“I want to be able to go home without fear.” Samara, 37 years old

Every day, thousands of women and girls in our country say these words to themselves as they are faced with violence. The key problem is that very few cases make it to court, and victims cannot get the legal, medical, and social help they need because of low social support and weak enforcement of laws.

On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in Kyrgyzstan the yearly campaign of 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls will kick off. The campaign will last 16 days and will close on 10 December, on the International Day for Human Rights. Connecting these dates will draw the public’s attention to the fact that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights.

Throughout Kyrgyzstan, around 90 events will be organized between these dates (calendar of events is available here). Representatives of NGOs - the national UNiTE movement Against Violence Towards Women and Girls will direct their efforts toward raising awareness of the problem of violence. The Kyrgyz parliament is already supporting civil society’s initiatives to enact an amendment to the Family and Criminal Code that would introduce criminal liability for conducting religious “nikah” ceremonies with underage girls. The draft bill “On socio-legal protection from domestic violence” has undergone its second reading, and a proposal in the draft bill “On the introduction of changes to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic ‘On elections of deputies to local keneshes,’” which has undergone a first reading, suggested that that special measures be taken to reserve 30 percent of the seats in local keneshes for women.


Some facts about violence:

The nationwide research program “Gender in Society Perceptions Study”[1] (joint programme of UN Women, UNFPA, IOM, the National Statistics Committee, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, 2016) conducted in 2016, made clear that the population does not have sufficient knowledge of the existence of criminal liabilities (one-third do not have such information) and degrees of liability (60 percent do not have accurate information), stipulated in the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, for kidnapping women for marriage.

Eleven percent of women and 12 percent of men said that in the past five years they had taken part in incidents of nonviolent bride kidnapping in their communities.

In total, 4 percent of the population noted the increase in incidents of violent kidnapping of women for the purpose of marriage without their consent.

Early marriages (before age 18) is more widespread in villages than in cities by a factor of 2.5 (respectively, 10 and 4 percent).

Incidents of women’s early marriage was noted in all regions, but it was most widespread in Naryn and Chuy regions (approximately 13 percent), and least widespread in Bishkek (2.4 percent).

In Kyrgyz society the value of traditional marriage is decreasing, as a result of which in Kyrgyzstan in 2014 every fifth child (26 percent) was born outside a registered marriage.

More than 20 percent of marriages in the Kyrgyz Republic are carried out through bride kidnapping (with or without the woman’s consent).

Kidnapping women for marriage occurs almost twice as frequently in rural than in urban localities.

According to the results of MICS, in 2014 approximately 12.7 percent of women in Kyrgyzstan from the ages of 20 to 49 had gotten married when they were underage. Marriages of underage women occurs more frequently in rural areas than in cities (14.6 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively), and it is almost twice as frequent in poor households (15.9 percent) compared to wealthier households (9.2 percent).

Domestic violence is a relatively widespread problem in Kyrgyz society: such legal infractions remain complicated to reduce through outside involvement and government regulation. As research in Kyrgyzstan has shown, in the majority of cases victims of domestic violence are the socially vulnerable members of the family—that is, children, the elderly, and women. Thus, according to the Information-Analytical Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the KR 97 percent of victims of domestic violence are women (wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers)[2] and 30 percent of children suffer from physical violence (UNICEF research data, 2009), and 71 percent of those surveyed pointed out the existence of violence against the elderly (Help Page International, 2012).

The internal affairs agencies of the Kyrgyz Republic have issued more than ten thousand temporary restraining orders since 2009. In addition, in 2014 alone the agencies of internal affairs registered 3,126 incidents of domestic violence, issued 2,619 temporary restraining orders, initiated and sent to court 243 criminal cases resulting from domestic violence, and brought in 1,624 citizens for administrative liabilities for domestic violence. In the period from 2010 to 2014 (National Statistics Committee of the KR, 2010-2014), the quantity of restraining orders issued was doubled.

According to the National Statistics Committee of the KR in the period from 2010 to 2014 court statistics show that the judiciary agencies judged 5,269 people guilty of committing domestic violence over the past five years. Among these, more than 68 percent were the husbands of the victims and about 20 percent were the victims’ sons.

During the selected period, 21,525 people visited the health care system in response to domestic violence and for medical conditions arising as a result of domestic violence. Among these, 16,276 (76 percent) were women.

Every year, between 8,000 and 9,2000 people visit crisis centers, aqsaqal courts, and other specialized institutions as a result of domestic violence. In the period from 2010 to 2014, 41,927 visits stemming from domestic violence were registered, among which 80 percent (33,846) of those appealing were women.


For reference: The yearly 16-day campaign in Kyrgyzstan is traditionally conducted through the efforts of partner organizations, coordinated by the UN Women in Kyrgyzstan. In the current year, the following organizations combined their efforts to conduct the 16-day campaign - the UN Gender Thematic Group (UN Women, UNDP, IOM, UNHCR, FAO), the Swiss Embassy, the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, USAID, the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, the Asian Development Bank, the Finnish program FinWater WEI, Internews, the public fund Open Line, the NGO Women Support Center, the crisis center Akylkarachach, the NGO El Agartuu, the NGO Ene Nazary, the social fund Men Against Violence, the crisis center Chance, the NGO League of Defenders of Children’s Rights, the NGO Chon Alay Zhashtar Kyymyly, the NGO New Rhythm, the Associations of Women’s Societies of Issyk-Kul, the Gender Center in the city of Karakol, the NGO Alliance for Community Development, the NGO Zhanyl Myrza Plus, the NGO Omur Bulagy, the NGO Center for Research of Democratic Processes, the NGO Podruga, peer educators of the UN Women course My Safe and Peaceful School, the NGO DIA, the crisis center Sezim, the Bishkek Center for Strengthening Health, the women’s health center Ariet, and others.


For additional information please contact:

Meriza Emilbekova

UN Women Communications and Advocacy Specialist