Kyrgyzstan Adopts New Legislation Increasing Reporting Requirements of Certain NGOs

On 2 April 2024, President Sadyr Japarov signed a new bill into law, which imposes increased reporting requirements on NGO’s that receive their funding from abroad. The bill passed in the Kyrgyzstan parliament on 14 March 2024 without debate, and 61 of 66 members of parliament voted in favour of its adoption.


The new legislation provides that NGOs which are engaged in ‘political’ activities and who receive foreign funding will be considered to be ‘performing the functions of a foreign representative.’ NGOs that fall within this definition will be required to submit annual audits and to make available employee details and salaries. Relevant authorities are also granted wide powers of oversight within the legislation. Those in opposition contest that these requirements are extremely costly and onerous, and would result in some NGOs having to cease operations. Similarities were drawn by critics between the new legislation and 2012 laws enacted in Russia regulating the activities of ‘foreign agents.’ However, in justifying the enacted legislation, those in favour note that it will enhance financial transparency.


A previous version of the bill before enactment saw the removal of a contentious provision, which sought to impose criminal liability and create a sentence for up to 10 years against NGO members should they have been found guilty for being involved in ‘violence against citizens’ or inducing the public ‘to refuse to perform civil duties or commit other illegal acts.’ This change did not, however, address all concerns, and during the interim between the parliament voting in favour and the president signing the bill into law, over 100 NGOs in Kyrgyzstan urged the president not to sign the bill. These NGOs raised concerns over its potential impact on access to medical supplies and medical equipment, and its interruption of educational programmes and human rights activities. Such concerns were voiced by the Secretary General of Amnesty, Agnès Callamard,

“It is imperative that President Sadyr Japarov vetoes a law which will have far-reaching implications on the ability of civil society to contribute to supporting the realisation of the rights of the people of Kyrgyzstan.”


In a post on Facebook following the signing into law, President Sadyr Japarov stated that “As head of state, I guarantee there will be no persecution.” He also noted that there was a previous lack of accountability, pointing towards the legislative aims of increasing transparency, ‘We just want to show everything openly, so that everyone is working on equal terms.’


To read President Sadyr Japarov’s Facebook post, click here.



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