1558. On 24 April 2008, the then Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, sent a letter of allegation to the Government concerning the alleged warrantless raid of the community centre of the organization Labrys, an organization working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT). Labrys was founded in April 2004 to assist and advocate for the rights of lesbian and bisexual women, gay men, and transgender people. It has been a legally registered nongovernmental organization since 14 February 2006. The community center of Labrys, opened in February 2008, serves as a place for meeting and discussion, as well as shelter for victims of violence.

1559. According to the information received, on the evening of 8 April 2008, three police forced their way into the building housing the group Labrys in Bishkek, which at the time was hosting a dinner for local and international LGBT groups from the Anti AIDS Association and Tais Plus, as well as for international partner organizations – COC (Cultuur en Outspannings-Centrum) and HIVOS (Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries) from the Netherlands, and Gender Doc-M from Moldova. The police threatened to arrest anyone who did not produce identification, and searched private files.

1560. It was reported that the police demanded to see the organization’s registration documents, statutes, and rent statements. The police gained entry to a locked private office and went through desks and files. A short time later, the district police chief arrived and said the officers would leave only if Labrys promised to submit its administrative and financial documents to the police station the following day. Labrys complied with the request.

1561. This is reportedly the second time that the police have raided Labrys without a warrant. On 4 June 2006, police forced their way into the group’s office after verbally threatening that they would rape everyone inside.

1562. The mandate-holders expressed their concern  that  the  warrantless  raid  of  the community centre of Labrys may be related to the activities of the organization in defense of human rights, in particular LGBT rights, and also that restrictions or breaches of the right to freedom of association may discourage defenders working on the protection of the right of marginalized or stigmatized groups to carry out their activities.

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Human Rights Defenders-2009-eng

Translate »