EU concerned about new bill restricting missionaries in Kyrgyzstan
The European Union has called on Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev not to sign a bill amending the law on the freedom of religion and religious organizations, reported Interfax.
"The EU is concerned about amendments to the law on the freedom of religion and religious organizations and worries that some of its provisions fall short of the OSCE standards and requirements," the EU said on a statement published by the press service of the German embassy to Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.
The statement mentions recommendations of the OSCE center criticizing the bill for introducing new rules of regulating the activity of missionary organizations in Kyrgyzstan.
"Given restrictions of the freedom of religion in Kyrgyzstan declared by the new bill, the EU calls on Bakiyev not to sign the current edition of the bill and to send it back to the parliament for further consideration with regard to expert recommendations," the statement reads.
Kadyr Malikov, an expert at the Kyrgyz-Russian University's strategic studies institute who took part in preparing the bill, told Interfax earlier that "any Kyrgyz citizen can choose religion, profess it and fulfill its customs."
"The second part of the bill, which lays the foundation for regulating the activity of religious organizations and missionary activity aimed at proselytism, is the most controversial," the expert said.