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Information submitted by the International Fellowship of Reconcilitation and Conscience and Peace Tax International





Contact: Derek Brett

IFOR Main Representative to the UN, Geneva

Executive summary:

This submission focusses on issues of military service and freedom of conscience in Kyrgyzstan. The specific concerns it raises are:

The recognition as conscientious objectors to military service only members of specific religious denominations, and discriminatory features of the alternative service available.

Shortcomings in the 2008 Law on Religious Associations

Militarisation of the secondary education system

Trial of civilians in military courts

On the 11th August, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambaev, signed amendments into the law on Military Duties For Kyrgyz Citizens that allowed for some 'officially recognised' religious groups to avoid military service. The religious group must reject military service, and the CO must pay a fee of 18-20,000 soms ($285-300).

For more information, see: Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, 'Conscientious Objectors in Kyrgyzstan allowed to avoid military service', August 2015:

One of the significant factors impeding the process of integration between Central Asian countries is the question of water and energy resources of this region. The historical prerequisites of the present-day situation go back to the times of the former Soviet Union. In this era, the region relied upon a united water, energy and socio-economic system on an all-union scale; the division of all significant resources, including both water and energy resources from the direction of the so-called Centre - in other words Moscow.

Interfax reported that Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev has signed amendments to the law on mandatory military service, which will reduce military service by six months from 1 January 2006 on. Presently, the term of military service is 1.5 years. However, this cannot be seen as a step towards disarmement: "The Defense Ministry told Interfax that ongoing military reforms envision building a professional army and increasing the number of contract servicemen".
Source: Interfax, 23 July 2004,

by Silke Makowski

In the region of Caucasus and Central Asia, no country offers a free choice between military service and alternative service, most of them even having no legal basis for a substitute service at all. The few states that passed a law on some kind of alternative service haven't implemented it according to international standards: in Georgia, substitute service isn't available in practice and in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, large bribes are necessary to perform it.

by Lindsay Barnes

International interest in the resource-rich former Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucasus has surged over the past decade. Why has Caspian oil and gas suddenly become so significant to the global energy market? What are the consequences for the region's inhabitants as they struggle to forge fledgling democracies?

24 July 2000


18. The Committee takes note that conscientious objection to military service is allowed only to members of a registered religious organization whose teachings prohibit the use of arms. The Committee regrets that the State party has not sought to justify why the provision on alternative service entails a period of service twice as long as that required of military conscripts, and why persons of higher education serve for a considerably lesser period in the military and in alternative service (arts. 18 and 26).


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Updated February 2016

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Conscription exists, and only members of specific religious denominations can be recognised as conscientious objectors

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