GLO.ACT facilitates implementation of SOM Protocol in the Kyrgyz Republic

GLO.ACT Kyrgyz SOM AssessmentBishkek, Kyrgyz Republic - 16 May 2018 - The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (  GLO.ACT) organized, from 9-13 April 2018, a legal assessment mission to analyze whether Kyrgyz national legislation is compliant with the United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air supplementing the Untied Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention ( UNTOC). The assessment mission included bilateral meetings with relevant government bodies, focus group discussions with representatives of international community and civil society organizations working in the area combating trafficking in persons (TIP) and the smuggling of migrants (SOM), as well as site visits to a hotline information office and consultative center set up by the Kyrgyz State Migration Service. Based on the results of the legal assessment, a set of recommendations will be developed to strengthen the national legal framework on SOM with a view to bringing it in line with the SOM Protocol.

In terms of context, it is important to note that the Kyrgyz Republic is a transit county and, to a lesser extent, an origin and destination country for SOM. It is a transit country for migrants coming in via air from Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka on their way to Gulf countries and into Europe, as well as via land from Tajikistan to Russia. It is a destination country for migrants coming from China, frequently using fraudulent documents, and it is an origin country for Kyrgyz migrants heading to Turkey. These are migrants who cannot obtain work visas in Russia and Kazakhstan.

GLO.ACT Kyrgyz SOM AssessmentIn terms of policies, the Kyrgyz Republic has had various migration-related policies in place since 2004. It was one of the first Central Asian countries that ratified the UNTOC and its Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air in 2003. In addition, the Kyrgyz Republic is a State Party to a number of relevant conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). On a national level, the International Migration Act, the Internal Migration Act, the Refugees Act, the Domestic Labour Migration Act, and relevant articles in the criminal code and the criminal procedure code of the Kyrgyz Republic serve as a normative basis for SOM. However, the criminal code does not have provisions criminalizing SOM for the purpose of getting material or other benefits and for producing, purchasing, providing or possessing fraudulent travel or identity documents for irregular entry of migrants. No liability is established to provide for the possibility of irregularly staying in the country for the purpose of getting financial or other benefits.  What is considered in the legislation, however, is the "organization of irregular migration".

Taking into consideration that no legal assessment on SOM has been conducted in over 10 years, GLO.ACT facilitated this assessment with broad participation by different government stakeholders, international community and civil society organizations. The discussions centered around the existing legal framework on SOM and also provided introductory sessions on the definition of SOM according to the SOM Protocol.

GLO.ACT Kyrgyz SOM AssessmentSpeaking during one of the focus group discussions, Ms. Kaana Aidarkul, Director of Association of Women in Security Sector said, "It is very crucial to strengthen the capacity of government stakeholders and civil society organizations to understand the phenomena of migrant smuggling through basic training sessions and awareness raising campaigns."    

Preliminary findings of the legal assessment showed that the Kyrgyz government has taken action to implement some of the provisions of the UN Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants. However, there is no definition in the law on SOM, and there is no dedicated smuggling offence in the criminal code. Moreover, there is no systemized inter-agency cooperation that could lead to more strict enforcement of the law and prevention of SOM and TIP, particularly in the context of repatriation of Kyrgyz nationals working abroad. And finally, there is very low awareness and understanding of the phenomena of SOM in the Kyrgyz Republic, in particular its links to other forms of organized crime, and research has thus far focused only on migration issues. Following this assessment, UNODC, under the framework of GLO.ACT, will continue to provide training on the proper interpretation of SOM in the context of national legislation and strengthen the capacity of criminal justice practitioners.  

GLO.ACT Kyrgyz SOM AssessmentThe Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.


For more information, please contact:

Madina Sarieva


Twitter:  @glo_act