Strengthening Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan Program Evaluation
October 01, 2012
At the request of USAID/Kyrgyzstan, Democracy International, Inc. (DI) conducted a performance evaluation of Freedom House’s Strengthening Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan program, a cooperative agreement between Freedom House and USAID/Kyrgyzstan. The evaluation is based on mixed-method, evidence-based research and included semi structured interviews with stakeholders, focus groups with average citizens in Kyrgyzstan, and an online survey of Freedom House training participants.
The team found that the development of human rights is at a critical juncture in Kyrgyzstan. On the one hand, the evaluation demonstrated that Kyrgyzstan presently has substantial opportunities for improving the enabling environment of human rights in the country due to the democratic reforms that have transpired on the national level since April 2010. On the other hand, data from the evaluation suggested that most of these reforms made little difference in the protection of citizens rights at the local level, especially in the south of the country. In fact, the evaluation shows that the human rights situation in southern Kyrgyzstan, particularly in Osh and Jalalabad, is worse than prior to 2010, as many ethnic Uzbeks continue to suffer from arbitrary arrests, torture, and unfair trials. The divergence between the human rights situation in Bishkek and in the south of the country is so acute that the evaluation team considers it a threat to the stability of the country.
Photo credit: Alex Butler