Two proposed laws in Kyrgyzstan would not only impose greater restrictions on religious entities and freedom of belief but also would expand the list of activities that are punishable.
Forum 18 news service reported that Dec. 9 was the deadline for public comment on the two proposals — the Religion Law and the Amending Law in the Area of Religion.
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Already, religious entities are required to obtain state registration to exist. The proposed new Religion Law continues that and also requires renewed registration every five years. As for the Amending Law, it would create a more extensive list of offenses for which fines could be imposed.
According to Forum 18, the government website states that the proposed new laws are needed because of the May 2021 constitution.
Toygonbay Abdykarov, who is the chair of the State Commission for Religious Affairs, admitted that the Religion Law proposal is stricter but claims it is necessary. “Yes, it may be restrictive, but we have all the reasons for it to be so, for each point in the law.”
He would not explain further.
Currently, religious entities and activities that are unregistered are considered illegal and are subject to punishment, states Forum 18.