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10 December 2015

PROTECTING YOUTH RIGHTS : A PRIORITY OF THE KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT SAYS DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER MRS. KUDAIBERDIEVA

15521.0 (1)Mrs. Gulmira Kudaiberdieva graduated from the Pedagogical Institute for Russian language and literature of the Ishenaly Arabaev Kyrgyz State Law University and joined civil service. From 2008-2010, she headed the Department of Education of the City of Bishkek, prior to joining the Kyrgyz Government Education and Culture Department (2010-2012). She held executive positions successively at the Commission for Education, Science and Culture under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, and at the Department for Social Policy of the Presidential Administration of the Kyrgyz Republic. In November 2015, Mrs. Kudaiberdieva was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic. She currently coordinates the activities of state bodies under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, has responsibility for implementing government policies and programs, and chairs the intergovernmental commission coordinating social policy issues. Her areas of competence include: social protection, social security, pensions, migration, labour, employment, family, children, youth, health, policy in the areas of education, science, sport, healthcare, ethnic development, gender, culture, media and information.

Q. Mrs. Deputy Prime Minister, the State Programme on Juvenile Justice has become a high priority for the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. What factors led to this new unique policy among the Central Asian states?

Gulmira Kudaiberdieva:

The State Programme is a new step undertaken by our Government to comply with the requirements of the Constitution, the Code for Youth and the Kyrgyz legislation protecting the rights and interests of children. The Kyrgyz Republic is keen to respect its obligations under the international conventions it has ratified.

The protection of the rights of children in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Children and the creation of a favourable environment allowing for a significant improvement of the lives of children are some of the most important tasks of our Government.

The main objective of the State Programme on Juvenile Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2014 – 2018 is to develop an adequate and fair juvenile justice system protecting children having violated the law or children who have been the witness or the victims of crimes.

By implementing the State Programme on Juvenile Justice, the Government will aim at raising the awareness of children about their rights and dignity and at providing adequate care to take into account the needs of children individually.

Q: One of the objectives pursued by the Coordination Council for juvenile justice under the Kyrgyz Government which you are heading is to provide access for children to information about their rights. How does the Coordination Council intends to implement this objective? What resources would the Government mobilise to further this aim?

Gulmira Kudaiberdieva:

The Intergovernmental Coordination Council for Juvenile Justice under the Kyrgyz Government combines the efforts of the representatives of Parliament, the High Court, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic as well as those of international organizations and NGOs. It has been established to coordinate the measures taken to protect and enforce the rights of children who go through a difficult period in their lives, including those who have violated the law.

Of course, it is very important to adopt preventive measures to protect children and families in difficult situations and to identify solutions in the best interest of the child.

We are currently considering to offer legal education to children and increase their legal culture, to develop a system of free legal aid for juveniles, and integrate socially children in need.

We are in the process of preparing and publishing a teaching manual, and a reference guide for professionals working with children. We have introduced a module on “Juvenile Justice” in the curriculum of students of higher educational institutions. We are also raising the awareness of judges, lawyers, police officers, criminal investigators, social workers dealing with children.

The Ministry of Education and Science has been asked to develop a training programme on “Offence, crime and responsibility” for schools, in order to convey legal knowledge to pupils and inform them of why they should respect the law. The Coordination Council regularly examines the best solutions to achieve this task and investigates new interesting methods. In this regard, the initiative that is being implemented by the Rule of Law Platform with support from the European Commission provides an efficient mechanism to provide legal information to pupils and tell them about the need to respect the law.

Q: Two prominent members of the Council of Lawyers of Kyrgyzstan also belong to the Coordination Council for juvenile justice. Why in your opinion are lawyers specially well placed to protect juveniles, including at preventive level, by providing information?

Gulmira Kudaiberdieva:

This is logical. Lawyers have traditionally been key actors in the justice system and the protectors of the rights of children. When children go through difficult periods in their lives, lawyers are in first line to protect their rights. With their professional legal knowledge, experience and communication skills which enable them to deal with children, lawyers can exercise a preventive role in the direction of children who violated the law. They also are given a tremendous opportunity to engage in the primary prevention of delinquency among children.

Kyrgyz lawyers are represented by a Council of Lawyers which has expressed is readiness to contribute to improving the protection of children. Their active involvement in this initiative will contribute to increasing the awareness of pupils about the law and help to prevent the occurence of difficult situations in their lives, and prevent minors from committing crimes and other offences.

Q: The EU-Central Asia Rule of Law Platform has launched the «Initiation to law for pupils of Kyrgyz schools». This activity aims at helping pupils becoming aware about their rights and about the rule of law, providing them with the ability to fend for their rights throughout their lives, becoming responsible citizens, therefore contributing the development of legal awareness of society. What are the main actions undertaken by the Kyrgyz Government to pursue this objective?

Gulmira Kudaiberdieva:

Our country is firmly committed to establishing the rule of law. According to the rule of law, the protection of the rights of children and the best interest of the child are of highest importance. Therefore, the efforts of the relevant state bodies and state partners should concentrate on providing a legal education to children and spreading a high level of legal culture among the civil society.

All the long-term Government programmes, including the concept for the legal education of students, plans to prevent juvenile delinquency and for the prevention of abuse and violence against children, and other regulations adopted by the Kyrgyz Government are primarily aimed at conducting awareness-raising campaigns for the population, including in schools.

We also support the Cooperation Agreement that has been signed between the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Paris Bar. This agreement provides for the common implementation of the “Initiation to law for pupils of Kyrgyz schools“ initiative, which will enable both organizations to cooperate with the objective of raising the awareness of pupils about the rule of law.

Q: Political leadership will be key to ensure the success of the “initiation to law for pupils”, at the beginning to monitor the launching of this activity, and then, to ensure its sustainability. Why have you accepted to extend your high patronage to this Platform flagship activity?

Gulmira Kudaiberdieva:

We support the project we consider one of the most important initiatives undertaken to improve education, make  citizens accountable for their acts and increase the legal culture of the population. This project has provided an opportunity for interaction and cooperation in this area with the countries of Central Asia, which already has been successfully tested with the initiative “Initiation to law for pupils”, an initiative benefiting from the support of the European Union.

Mrs. Deputy Prime Minister, we are most grateful for this interview.