Response stories

Access to justice through… deprivation of parental rights?

According to the legislation of Kyrgyzstan, there are seven main reasons why parental rights can be terminated in the country. If parents (one of them):

  • evade the fulfillment of the duties of parents, including in the case of malicious evasion to pay alimony;
  • refuse without good reason to take their child from a maternity hospital or from another medical and educational institution;
  • abuse their parental rights;
  • mistreat children, including physical or mental violence against them, encroach on their sexual inviolability;
  • are patients with chronic alcohol addiction or drug addiction;
  • have committed an intentional crime against the life or health of their children or spouse;
  • allow their minor children to wander, involve them in the worst forms of child labor.

However, alas, in practice there are a number of other reasons why a parent can be considered by the authorities as a potential violator and a person who deserves such a terrible punishment – deprivation of rights in relation to their child. For example, his HIV status and stigmatization as a representative of marginalized groups.

“Bad Parent”

On **/ **, 2021, in the Chui region (Kyrgyzstan), a meeting was held with the participation of the client, mentors and the REActor. The reason was the claim of the Social Development Office represented by the Department for Support of Family and Childhood (hereinafter as the DSFC) of the Sokuluk district of the Chui region, to deprive the girl of parental rights due to their improper implementation. The client explained the possible reasons for such an appeal: she is a representative of the PLHIV community, a former pupil of an orphanage and, unfortunately, does not have her own housing. The girl categorically disagreed with such a claim and asked for help – to defend her rights and the rights of her children, since she did not have the opportunity to hire a qualified lawyer.

At the coordination meeting, it was decided to help the client and join the REActor as a representative and mentor, for control as a second representative. Trials have begun…

“Children in Danger”

The position of the FCSD of the Sokuluk district was clear from the very beginning: they insisted on depriving the client of parental rights, since she cannot provide the children with housing and food. The REActor, together with the client, opened a voluntary patent, and after talking with his organization – Ishenim-Nuru Public Foundation, he was ready to provide the family with temporary housing. All documents and petition from the organization were submitted to the court for consideration and legal assessment. However, the representatives of the DSFC of the Sokuluk region and the prosecutor of the Sokuluk region participating in the case, having learned that the organization provides assistance and temporary accommodation to a representative of the PLHIV community, were against the placement of children in this organization, arguing that the children could be in danger.

What is the way out?

After long processes, an alternative solution was found. The client’s ex-husband agreed to provide her and her children with their temporary home. On these terms, the DSFC of the Sokuluk region agreed to withdraw their claim. On December 16, 2021, a trial was held with a ruling on the termination of the civil case on the claim of the DSFC of the Sokuluk district for the deprivation of parental rights. The client returned her children and currently lives with them.

Remember, if you or your loved ones need help in Kyrgyzstan, a REActor is a community representative, an NGO employee who, in addition to providing services and outreach work, is a “street lawyer” and documents cases of rights violations when community members turn to him with complaints. The REActor can advise, provide psychological support and provide primary legal advice, help with the preparation of primary documentation for solving the case.

In Kyrgyzstan, REActors represent 13 NGOs located in different cities of the country, one REActor per region. REActor travel to cities and towns of the region in order to collect information and provide services to clients.