Kyrgyzstan: Villagers Are Being Taught For Legal Frameworks On Access To Information

6 June 2014

UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office in cooperation with NGO Precedent Partner Group held four 2-day workshops in rural villages of Kyrgyzstan from 12 to 16 May 2014. Villagers were trained to exercise their right to information, to manage local issues, including the budget.

During the training, we learned about our rights, have become savvier in legal matters. I particularly remember trial simulation, as we are far from the court and do not know how and what is happening in our village

Ms Aisha Akmatova, volunteer of Kara-Suu Community Multimedia Center

To learn how to interact with the government to solve the urgent problems at both the local and state level, how to count local budget, even how and when to sue the powers trained by lawyers of "Precedent Partner Group."

In rural areas, Chui, Issyk-Kul, Talas, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, Osh and Batken provinces, inhabited by more than 130,000 people - roughly the same number of women and men. Access to information is transmitted orally; people share information with each other, not always having an idea about its regulation. Information from government agencies is available on request; classification of certain information is purely subjective and depends entirely on the individual - the official local level.

Participants of the training in the villages of Kara-Suu, Jal, Ketmen - Dobo, Oogon - Taala - Chui and Jalal-Abad region were trained legal foundations of access to information.

Until October 2014 lawyers of PA "Partner Group Precedent" will teach locals of five regions of the country for guarantees in accessing to information and use of procedures for redress. Knowledge about their rights to access to information on special education training will receive about 129,000 people in thirteen remote villages of Kyrgyzstan. Training sessions have been already provided in four villages of Chui and Jalal-Abad. According to local residents, they are concerned about the problems associated with the distribution of water, land, building and repairing the roads, design of social benefits and the legality of payments and fees.

"Many issues remain unresolved, or tightened for the reason that there is no official information. During the training, we learned about our rights, have become savvier in legal matters. I particularly remember dramatization of litigation as we are far from the court and do not know how and what is happening there, " sayed Ms Aisha Akmatova, participant of training in Kara-Suu.

"Following the goals of our organization - legal education society - I am convinced that the organization of such training in remote parts of our country, as does the better implements to set goal.

Indeed, in the large cities by the flow of information (including human rights) cannot hide. It useful when people are living in small town or village, it increases their legal capacity, and do not create a platform for the transfer of established traditional views, the consequences of which are expressed in ignoring the law - legal nihilism society "- says Fatima Yakupbaeva the coach and senior associate of "Partner Group precedent. "

Volunteers of community multimedia centers can receive official information for dissemination via municipal information channels.

Interactive training method based on the knowledge of the laws and principles what allows local governments and civil society activists to discuss common issues of local importance, to understand what information they are authorized to provide or classify what information should be published on a mandatory basis. Also students learn the ways how to protect the violated rights. Participants received further advice of lawyers to promote their cases

Series of two-day trainings were trained by representatives of community multimedia centers (CMCs), community radio, local authorities and seven categories of professionals (teachers, doctors, land and water users, businessmen and administrators). Seminars were aimed at establishing effective cooperation between civil society activists and representatives of local government, by increasing the capacity of the legal population of access to information held by public bodies and local authorities. In addition, participants receive expert advice on access to information remotely on all issues and difficulties in the practical use of the gained knowledge.

Series of trainings performed by PF Precedent within the project "Operationalizing Good Governance for Social Justice," which was launched in October 2011 and carried out within 36 months up to October 2014. The project aimed to increase the potential for the realization of legitimate rights of citizens regarding public services, especially for vulnerable groups - women, youth and children in 30 rural municipalities in seven regions of Kyrgyzstan. This project was implemented by UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and UNESCO. The European Union participates in the financing of this project, together with the above-mentioned UN agencies.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/kyrgyzstan-villagers-are-being-taught-for-legal-frameworks-on-access-to-information