Area: 199, 950 sq km
Population: 6, 494, 799
Date of independence: 31 August 1991
Ethnic minorities: Uzbek (15 %), Russian (5 %) others (5.2%)
Religion: Islam (89% of population)
Kyrgyzstan gained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The country was referred to as “Island of Democracy” during the 1990s and the 2000s. Its independence is marked by coups, most frequently referred as revolutions. Nationwide demonstrations in the spring of 2005 resulted in the ouster of its first president Askar Akayev, who had fled to Russia. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who manipulated the parliament to gain new powers for his presidency, replaced him. In April 2010, protests in Bishkek led to the removal of Bakiyev from the office. He eventually sought an asylum in Belarus. His successor, Roza Otunbaeva, served as a head of interim government until Almazbek Atambayev was inaugurated in December 2011 following peaceful proceedings. Sooronbay Jeenbekov, the protege of Atambayev was elected as the president in 2017. This marked the second peaceful transfer of presidential power in independent Kyrgyzstan's history. While neighboring countries’ presidents hold on to power for several decades, Kyrgyzstan witnessed yet another coup that was preceded by unfair parliamentary elections. Sooronbay Jeenbekov annulled elections results and resigned afterwards. Sadyr Japarov, often referred as self-proclaimed Prime minister, took over the political power and paves his way to secure his position.
Kyrgyzstan has long been known to enjoy the most vibrant civil society in Central Asia. Non-governmental organizations were established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and aimed to bring justice, fairness and equality in their thematic areas of work. But over the course of three decades, multiple attempts were made to limit the civic space in Kyrgyzstan. As of today, representatives of the civil society are facing repression and increasingly are being targeted by conservative, nationalist, far-right and/or fundamentalist social forces. Authoritarian and populist moves are introducing arbitrary bureaucratic measures to complicate things further for civil society.
Domestic violence against women and girls remains a serious problem. Despite a new law passed in 2017 on the Prevention and Protection of Family Violence, the absence of enforcement mechanisms and services limits survivors' access to protection and justice. Pressure to keep families together, stigma, economic dependence, and fear of reprisals by abusers hinder some women from seeking assistance.
LGBTQ+ community in Kyrgyzstan experience ill-treatment, extortion, and discrimination from both state and non-state actors. There is widespread impunity for these abuses. Parliament has been considering an anti-LGBTQ bill banning propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations, which aims at silencing anyone seeking to openly share information about same-sex relations in Kyrgyzstan. LGBT+ community is directly discriminated by recently changed constitution that states that the marriage is only possible between a man and a women. On top of that adoption of the “anti-gay propaganda” bill copied from Russia law has been considered by the parliament several times.