In its early days, Kyrgyzstan demonstrated a strong commitment to observation of human rights, from which it has subsequently stepped back. Nevertheless, the republic remains generally more sensitive to human rights than are the states in its immediate environment.
The republic's constitution provides very strong guarantees of personal liberty, protection of privacy, freedom of assembly and expression, and other hallmarks of democratic societies. On several occasions, the government has violated or abrogated the constitution, raising the possibility of abuse of human rights.
In practice, however, the Akayev government has proven itself generally responsive on issues of human rights, at least in part because of the republic's dependence upon the approval of Western financial supporters. The present legal system, which remains based almost entirely upon Soviet-era practices, does permit pre-trial detention of up to one year (there is no bail), which in one or two celebrated cases has appeared abusive. However, international monitoring organizations have found no evidence of political arrests, detentions, disappearances, or extrajudicial punishments. There have been some unsubstantiated complaints by political activists of wiretapping and other illegal surveillance.
In a celebrated case in 1992, Uzbekistani security forces arrested two Uzbek delegates to a human rights conference held in Bishkek. Although this arrest was subsequently found to be in technical agreement with Kyrgyzstani law, the public manner in which the arrest was conducted demonstrated Kyrgyzstan's lack of resources to defend human rights activists.
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