Death of Aizada Renews the Call for Society to End Kidnapping of Women for Forced Marriage

UN STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

BISHKEK, 8 April, 2021. - The news reporting the death of Aizada Kanatbekova as the most recent victim of “Ala Kachuu” is a tragic reminder of the need to end this brutal practice. Women and girls of Kyrgyzstan and in all countries everywhere have the right to walk safely in their homeland without being exposed to kidnapping and violence.

The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan calls on all governmental stakeholders, including law enforcement and security forces to take timely and coordinated actions to respond and address the cases registered under article 175 of the Criminal Code, Abduction of a person for the purpose of marriage, and to ensure effective and prompt investigation when such cases are brought to their attention.

Reaffirming its strong commitment to support the elimination of child, early and forced marriage, the United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan welcomes the official statements of President Sadyr Japarov and Prime Minister Ulukbek Maripov that identify the violent death of Aizada as an unacceptable and preventable national tragedy. The UN supports the people of Kyrgyzstan expressing its intolerance on any form of violence against women and girls, including any behavior associated with “Ala Kachuu”.

In this regard, the UN particularly welcomes deepened collaboration between Government and Civil Society to end harmful practices. The UN further encourages the sustained enactment and enforcement of laws and legal provisions aimed at preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls, while ensuring that survivors are safe and protected, have access to just judicial remedies, and that perpetrators are brought to justice in line with due process of law.

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Background: 

The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan is working to support the country’s targeted efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, promoting the necessary social norms, attitudes and behaviours through education, and other interventions in order for the Kyrgyz Republic to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 5, to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. 

UNFPA surveys show that more than one in five women were married through abduction. The practice of forced marriage is a criminal practice and a violation of the rights of women and girls. However, forced and/or child marriage is still a scourge in Kyrgyzstan, with 13% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 having entered into marriage before the age of 18, according to UNICEF data.

Kyrgyzstan’s fifth national periodic report on implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) will be reviewed in 2021 or 2022. In 2015 Concluding Observations of CEDAW, Kyrgyzstan was recommended to put in place comprehensive measures to prevent and address violence against women and girls and ensure that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress and protection and that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished; to provide mandatory training for judges, prosecutors, the police and other law enforcement officials on the strict application of criminal law provisions dealing with violence against women; and on gender-sensitive procedures to deal with women who are the victims of violence.

UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
OCHA
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNV
United Nations Volunteers
WFP
World Food Programme
WHO
World Health Organization