The continued combat in opposition to little one marriage and ‘bride kidnapping’ in Kyrgyzstan |


Yearly, in keeping with official authorities figures, between seven and 9 thousand very younger ladies get married in Kyrgyzstan, and about 500 ladies aged 13 to 17 turn out to be moms.

Women nonetheless run the danger of falling prey to such practices as “ala kachuu”, which accurately means “decide up and run away” in Kyrgyz. In different phrases, they’re kidnapped and compelled into marriage.

“The issue of early marriages in Kyrgyzstan may be very acute”, says Byubyusara Ryskulova, a psychologist, and the director of ‘Sezim’ (‘Belief’ in Kyrgyz), the nation’s first disaster centre, established 25 years in the past to guard the rights of ladies and ladies in tough life conditions, and supply them with short-term shelter, in addition to authorized and psychological help.

Within the 25 years because the institution of the centre, greater than 45,000 ladies have used the hotline, and about 35,000 have obtained authorized and psychological recommendation.

In keeping with Ms. Ryskulova, the continued existence of those practices can partly be defined by the rising affect of faith, and unemployment and poverty, significantly in rural areas.

“The authorized age of marriage is eighteen, and kidnapping of women is criminalized. Sadly, these legal guidelines are usually not all the time revered. As an alternative of an official marriage, individuals usually maintain a spiritual ceremony in a mosque, which is named ‘nikah’.”

“Households within the villages now not have seven or eight youngsters, however it’s not straightforward for folks to lift 4 or 5 youngsters. Lots of them search to offer their daughters to wealthier households. As a rule, the events agree amongst themselves, and the whole lot occurs quietly”.

“Nonetheless, in a while life, after they’re now not in a position to face up to home violence, ladies flip to us for assist. That’s once we discover out that they have been married in opposition to their will, stolen and married secretly,” says Ms. Ryskulova.

Sezim social middle, Kyrgyzstan

Girls of Kyrgyzstan come to specialised facilities searching for safety from home violence. Sezim social middle, Kyrgyzstan

Legal guidelines ignored

The regulation permits the ceremony of “nikah” to be held in mosques solely after the couple reaches the age of 18, and if they’re underage, the penalty is imprisonment for a time period of three to 5 years. As for bride kidnapping, the regulation states that the punishment is a ten-year jail time period.

Even so, this can be very uncommon that every one the members in such a “deal” are dropped at justice. “It’s straightforward to jot down a regulation, but it surely should even be carried out,” says Ms. Ryskulova. “Presently, we’re monitoring about eight felony circumstances associated to the rape of younger ladies”.

A lot of the circumstances are concentrated in three, primarily conservative, areas within the south of the nation: Osh, Jalabad and Batken. Darika Asylbekova, the top of the Ak Zhurok (Pure Coronary heart) disaster middle in Osh, says that the variety of early marriages has grown since 2010.

“Dad and mom marry off their daughters from the ninth grade. They’re afraid that, after graduating from college, and leaving for the town, their daughters will “spoil” and, then, will be unable to get married.”

In consequence, ladies, having plunged into household life, can’t attend college. Family duties fall on their shoulders, then being pregnant, and childcare. Any probability of getting an schooling or a career disappears and, as housewives, they’re fully depending on their husbands.

This yr alone, about 1,500 younger ladies turned to Ak Zhurok for assist. They ask not just for short-term shelter, but in addition for help with employment, property division of property, and receiving alimony, as a result of, as a rule, those that haven’t formalized the wedding are left with nothing.


Women of Kyrgyzstan come to specialized centers in search of protection from domestic violence.

Sezim social middle, Kyrgyzstan

Girls of Kyrgyzstan come to specialised facilities searching for safety from home violence.

Disgrace and guilt

Nonetheless, even within the south, attitudes are altering. In rural areas, there are about 154 divorces per thousand marriages, whereas in cities this determine is 2.4 occasions greater.

The writer of the favored Kyrgyz weblog “A Woman’s Dream”, 24-year-old Aigerim Almanbetova belongs to the fashionable technology of Kyrgyz ladies who’re attempting to grasp the scenario through which a lot of her friends discover themselves.

“In my view, one more reason for early marriages, aside from faith, is household upbringing. We now have the mentality {that a} woman ought to get married as early as potential as a result of, by age, she is already thought of an previous maid. So, ladies are below psychological stress from childhood.

“Women are consistently informed that they’ll go to dwell with their husbands, that they need to construct a household, give start to youngsters. Wherein case, why spend cash on her schooling,” Ms. Almanbetova continues.

She provides that in addition they need to cope with the cultural notion of disgrace, which leads a lot of them to stick with abusive husbands, and endure bodily abuse for years. In keeping with the blogger, there’s a lengthy overdue want in Kyrgyz society to vary the ways in which males are raised, ranging from early childhood.

UN involvement results in a decline in circumstances

Nonetheless, extra not too long ago, there was a decline within the variety of early marriages, due to the preventive work of NGOs and authorities businesses, with the help of worldwide organizations.

In January 2020, in partnership with the federal government of Kyrgyzstan, the European Union and the UN launched a multi-year nation program as a part of the worldwide Highlight Initiative to eradicate all types of violence in opposition to ladies and ladies.

This system features a set of measures within the subject of coverage and law-making: strengthening establishments, stopping violence, offering companies to victims of violence, accumulating high quality information, and supporting the ladies’s motion and civil society.

For empowered ladies corresponding to Ms. Almanbetova, that is the precise route through which Kyrgyzstan needs to be travelling: “I’m not in opposition to beginning a household and I dream about it sooner or later. However the strategy have to be primarily the need of the woman herself, and never her dad and mom.

“The occasions when a lady is handled as a second-class particular person have to be a factor of the previous. This has turn out to be a critical brake on the event of our society”.



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