Updated February 12th, 2024 at 21:43 IST
US ‘Should Not Interfere In Our Internal Affair,’ Kyrgyz President Warns Blinken
Kyrgyzstan’s president, Sadyr Japarov said that the state and civil society “should cooperate and work together to develop the country."
In response to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's concerns about the treatment of US-funded foreign NGOs in Kyrgyzstan, the president of the Central Asian country hit back saying that Washington must ‘not interfere in our internal affair.’
The spokesperson of the Kyrgyz president, Sadyr Japarov, released the full text of the diplomatic missive that their government sent to US. Blinken had previously expressed concerns about the legislation approved in the Kyrgyzstan parliament that would tighten control of the foreign funded western NGOs, banning them from participating in countries domestic political affairs.
The law, passed in January 2024, would designate the NGOs that get foreign funding as “foreign agents,” unless in records of the state-run registrar. More than 30 MPS, and one third of the deputies backed the bill that aims at regulating the NGOs that receive foreign funding from abroad. The Kyrgyz government also approved amendments to the law that stiffened the financial reporting of the NGOs.
Kyrgyzstan’s president, Sadyr Japarov said at a state public meeting, that the state and civil society “should cooperate and work together to develop the country as partners.” He iterated, “As for those NGOs that undermine statehood and political security, legal measures will be taken against them.”He accused the independent nongovernmental organizations of meddling in the politics. The bill would allow authorities to register organizations as "foreign representatives" that critics said resembles the Russian legislation on "foreign agents” passed in 2012.
Kyrgyz President compares NGO bill to US Foreign Agent Registration Act of 1938
US based aid groups slammed the ‘repressive’ and ‘dangerous’ bill that targeted foreign-funded civil society organisations, saying that the NGO law would seriously jeopardise their humanitarian work. The Kyrgyz president said that some of the NGOs that receive money from foreign governments such as US, have been attacking the bill over a “fear of true tax control by the state.” US Department of State deceived them by malign American grants, he said.
”Over the past three decades, a ‘layer’ of non-governmental/non-profit organizations that receive funding from abroad has appeared in our country (in Kyrgyz society they are called ‘grant eaters’), whose leaders have turned them, in fact, into ‘family enterprises’, engaged in ‘sawing off’ the money coming from foreign sponsors,” the letter sent to Blinken by the Kyrgyz President read. He asked Blinken to audit of NGOs’ finances over the past 10 years to establish how the American money was spent. He compared the bill to US’ Foreign Agent Registration Act of 1938. “In this regard, the question cannot help but arise: Why is it possible for you, but not for us?” he asked. The latter told Blinken that among the thousands of NGOs working in Kyrgyzstan, just a handful were ‘troublemakers.’
Published February 12th, 2024 at 21:43 IST