According to the report of Transparency International, Kyrgyzstan is still one of the most corrupt countries in the world1.
The concept of a whistleblower is not well understood in the region, and is often confused with the protection of witnesses and persons cooperating with law enforcement authorities in criminal procedures. At the moment, Kyrgyzstan does not have effective legal provisions to protect whistleblowers in either the public or the private sectors. However there are some mechanisms which indirectly relate to whistleblowers.
2. Current legal situation
a. Public Sector
In the public sector, Civil Servants who report cases of corruption, abuse of power or abuse of resources are protected from recrimination or other negative consequences according Article 9 on the Law on the Civil Service.
Other provisions dealing with the public sector are the Law on the Fight Against Corruption, in particular Article 9 which provides guarantees of state protection to the persons who provide assistance to the fight against corruption and the Criminal Procedure Code, Article 314, 9.
So far The Law on Protection of Rights of Witnesses, adopted in 2006 remains ineffective, not being enforced due to lack of funding2.
b. Private Sector
The Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic envisions responsibility for corruption in the private sector, which includes abuse of office or power, commercial bribery, etc. There are no specific provisions for those private sector employees who report corruption offenses. However, private sector employees who report on corruption can ask for protection like any other witness3.
3. Disclosure procedures
Hotlines are common in most offices of law enforcement bodies and other places where bribes might take place. Hotlines and contact phones to report corruption or harrasment do exist in most ministries, but there is no regulation and special staff to serve them. According to independent monitoring of the State Strategy on Combating Corruption, hotlines are not effective since citizens do not see any results for the efforts. Moreover, absence of attention to hotlines leads to a skeptical attitute towards whistleblowing.
Whistleblowing is considered to be a negative action in Kyrgyz culture. Legislation particularly aimed at protecting whistleblowers is non-existent in Kyrgyzstan. However, there are mechanisms in relation to protection of information, witnesses and anti-corruptions measures, which indirectly relate to whistleblowers. For example, the protection of witnesses does exist in the Law on Protection of Rights of Witnesses, Victims and Other Participants of Criminal Legal Proceedings.
6. Relevant Legislation
Constitution of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan (English version)