On 25 October, the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, in collaboration with the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA), hosted a roundtable on the topic of "Bride Kidnapping, The Status Quo and the Formation of Public Opinion: Approaches, Practices, Problems and Opportunities." This multi-disciplinary discussion platform engaged in the framework of the project--which aims to change attitudes towards bride kidnapping, with the financial support of IFA CCP Plus (with means of the German Federal Foreign Office).
The event was opened by Ms. Ainuru Altybaeva, Member of the Parliament, Jogorku Kenesh, Dr Alexander Walters, Director of the OSCE Academy and Ms. Svetlana Dzardanova, Training and Research Coordinator of the OSCE Academy. Ms. Altybaeva highlighted the importance of the event because “…the informational component is very important as people have to understand that Ala-kachuu is not a beautiful Kyrgyz tradition, but a crime.”
Further, the discussion was attended by the representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic; Gender Expert Ms. Rimma Sultanova; Ms. Altyn Kapalova, Researcher from the Mountain Communities Research Institute, UCA; Dr. Elena Kim, Associate Professor from the Psychology Department at AUCA; Ms. Aizat Shakieva, Chairman of the Board Bishkek Feminist Initiatives (BFI); Mr. Marat Aliyaskarov, Head of the PF "Men Against Violence."
The goal of the roundtable was to stimulate dialogue between representatives from human rights organizations, religious circles and law enforcement agencies--as well as researchers, historians, writers, sociologists, journalists and other interested citizens.
Roundtable participants contributed to the development of recommendations for further actions, within the framework of the project, and participated in thematic panels and discussions on the following topics:
• Ala-Kachuu in the Field of Legal, Traditional and Religious Rights
• Ala-Kachuu Process: Participants, Public Opinion And Preventive Measures
and joined the working groups on the development of recommendations:
Group 1: State and International Programmes, Laws, Regulations and their implementation
Group 2: Formation of Public Opinion through Art and Social Advertising
Group 3: Rights through Education
The second stage of the project seeks to spread awareness about the topic of bride kidnapping among youth, by providing educational seminars to schoolboys and training university and high school students to inform their peers.