IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong has met a cross-party parliamentary delegation from the Kyrgyz Republic to discuss avenues for closer cooperation. The visit marks a new chapter in the relationship between IPU and the Kyrgyz Parliament, which has expressed a strong desire to take a more active role in the Organization, having been a Member for 20 years.  The delegation, led by the Speaker, Chynybai Akunovich Tursunbekov, confirmed that the Parliament was committed to strengthening its cooperation with IPU.

Issues covered during the talks included early and child marriage in the Central Asian country, where the legal age for marriage is 18 years but some exceptions occur under Sharia law.  IPU offered to help the Parliament to raise public awareness on the negative consequences of such practices, a proposal which the Speaker readily accepted. An IPU-WHO study on child marriage legislation in the Asia-Pacific region is due to be launched shortly.

Also on the agenda was a bill being considered by the Kyrgyz Parliament. IPU and UNAIDS as well as other organizations have expressed concern that the so-called “gay propaganda” law is discriminatory in nature. The Speaker assured the IPU Secretary General that the bill had little chance of being passed by Parliament and that even if it was, the Kyrgyz President - who holds veto power - was strongly opposed to it.