The UN Women Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic and the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and Girls National Movement in Kyrgyzstan have issued a report and video detailing their very successful 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. The campaign was supported by UNRC, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, UNFPA, OSCE Bishkek and Osh Offices, Soros Foundation in the Kyrgyz Republic, USAID, East-West Management Institute, European Union, the Embassy of Switzeland in KR, British Embassy, and other donor agencies.
Raising awareness about violence against women is especially important in Kyrgyzstan considering that the number of recorded acts of domestic violence is growing in Kyrgyzstan, and 90 percent of the victims of this violence are women. Sex labor trafficking is also a problem in the country. Underage girls and women from Kyrgyzstan are attracted and forced into sexual labor under the guise of being hired as nannies, maids, waitresses, and workers in other spheres. Furthermore, according to information gathered through the National Review of The Kyrgyz Republic in the Framework of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 60 percent of marriages in the countryside in mono-ethnic areas are accomplished through bride kidnapping (ala kachuu), of which two thirds are performed without the consent of the girl.
The 2014 16 Days of Activism Campaign in Kyrgyzstan included several activities centered on raising awareness of country specific issues to eliminate violence against women and girls, strengthen local work around violence against women, and strengthen youth participation and involvement in the Campaign. Some of the innovative events included:
- A graffiti project in Bishkek, encouraging youth to create street art about the 16 Days and HeForShe Campaign;
- A self-defense project in Osh, led by a local NGO, on defense tools in case of harassment
- Projects in Osh which had young people create handmade graphics on the daily gender stereotypes that they face in their everyday life;
- A first-ever 16 Days project that raised awareness among sex-workers in saunas of Osh on what is violence and what to do if they face violence;
- A project involving police in Talas, in which officers distributed orange ribbons in support of the Orange Campaign, encouraging people to care about peace in the family;
- A unique project implemented by the Crisis Center Shans, involving perpetrators of violence, calling upon men to join the effort to combat family violence;
- A video experiment on violence against women in the streets of Bishkek, to showcase the real situation when one faces violence in public; and
- A project in Naryn, centered on the prevention of bride-kidnapping, among others.
EWMI’s Collaborative Governance Program in Kygryzstan responded to UN Women’s request to join the campaign and provided support as needed, including providing support in the design and printing of over 11,200 informational brochures for crisis centers in Kyrgyzstan as part of the campaign. These brochures provide detailed information about where to apply for help in case of violence.
For more information about Kyrgyzstan’s fight against gender-based violence, please read the report issued by the UN Women Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic and UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls National Movement in Kyrgyzstan provided below.