Area: 199 950 sq km
Population: 6 000 123
Date of independence: 31 Augusti 1991
Ethnic groups: Kyrgyz (72 %), Uzbek (14 %) och Russian (6 %)
Religion: Islam (86%)
Kyrgyzstan is a post-Soviet country of natural beauty and nomadic traditions. Most of the territory of present-day Kyrgyzstan was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1876. The Kyrgyz revolted against the Tsarist Empire in 1916. It resulted in killing of almost one-sixth of the Kyrgyz population. Kyrgyzstan is the most liberal state in Central Asia, and its independence is marked by coups, most frequently referred as “revolutions” and inter-ethnic clashes. Nationwide demonstrations in the spring of 2005 resulted in the ouster of President Askar Akayev, who had run the country since 1990 and was replaced by Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who manipulated the parliament to gain new powers for the presidency. In April 2010, protests in Bishkek led to the ouster of Bakiyev. His successor, Roza Otunbaeva, served as head of interim government until Almazbek Atambayev was inaugurated in December 2011, marking the first peaceful transfer of presidential power in independent Kyrgyzstan's history. Several months after the 2010 coup, inter-ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek minority took place in Southern region of the country and took lives of around 400-1,000 people (74% Ethnic Uzbeks), 400,000 were displaced and 1,900 were injured.
Kyrgyzstan enjoys the most vibrant civil society in Central Asia. Non-governmental organizations were established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and strive to bring justice, fairness and equality in their thematic areas of work. These organizations are usually led by highly-qualified personnel and funded by international donors, which in turn managed to establish a large, professionalized, institutionalized and measurable form of civil society, which is vibrant and active, and most importantly, affects political processes, voicing the needs of the groups they work with.
Unaddressed human rights problems and new setbacks marred Kyrgyzstan’s rights record in 2015. Authorities targeted and harassed some human rights groups, journalists, and lawyers. Impunity for ill-treatment and torture persist, and there is still no justice for victims of interethnic violence in 2010. Human rights defender Azimjon Askarov is still wrongfully serving a life sentence.
Domestic violence against women and girls remains a serious problem. Despite a 2003 domestic violence law, the absence of services and the authorities’ inaction or hostility toward victims obstruct survivors’ access to protection and justice. Police do not systematically enforce protection orders and few domestic violence complaints reach the courts. Pressure to keep families together, stigma, economic dependence, and fear of reprisals by abusers hinder some women from seeking assistance.
LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan experience ill-treatment, extortion, and discrimination from both state and non-state actors. There is widespread impunity for these abuses. For the past two years, parliament has been considering an anti-LGBT bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” which appears aimed at silencing anyone seeking to openly share information about same-sex relations in Kyrgyzstan. The bill was condemned by international community and local civil society activists.
In August 2015, Kyrgyzstan became a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, a common market of five Eurasian states, enabling Russia to exert its “traditional” sphere of influence in the region.