Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan removes ban on head scarves in passport photographs

RFE/RL and Trend
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan reversed a prohibition on Muslim women being photographed for their passports wearing head scarves.
Jyldyz Akmatbekova, a lawyer at the State Agency for Information Resources and Technology, told Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) Kyrgyz Service today that the Justice Ministry is drafting a new regulation reversing an earlier ban on head scarves in passport photos.
Jamal Frontbek-kyzy, the leader of a Kyrgyz Muslim women's nongovernmental organization, Mutakalim, told a press conference in Bishkek that the decision was made by a special interagency commission set up earlier this year to consider the issue. The commission included officials from the State Agency for Information Resources and Technologies and the Justice, Interior, and Foreign ministries. Frontbek-kyzy said 45,000 signatures have been collected from across the republic in support of the initiative. It is unclear when the new regulation will go into effect.

Earlier this year, authorities in neighboring Kazakhstan made a similar ruling allowing women to be photographed with headwear for their identification documents.

Source: RFE/RL

20 August 2007


(II): "Azerbaijan Should Use Kyrgyzstan’s Example in Restoring Rights of Muslim Women: Law Observer"

The Chairman of the Centre for Protection of Religious Freedoms (DEVAMM) and law observer, Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, welcomes the elimination of the ban on taking photos of women with the hijab (headscarf) for passports which was enforced for Muslim women in Kyrgyzstan.

The ban was imposed in 2004 but after discussions the Government of Kyrgyzstan eliminated the ban and permitted Muslim women to take passport photos while wearing the hijab. The ban was ceased by the inter-departmental commission established in January. The commission includes representatives of the State Agency for Information Resources and Technologies, the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry of Kyrgyzstan.

Commenting on the decision of the Government of Kyrgyzstan, Ibrahimoglu said that Azerbaijan should also follow this precedent and restore the constitutional rights of religious women.

“The Muslim women who wear the headscarf have faced the same problem and were deprived of many of their civil and political rights. There is not such a ban in the international law and it is assessed as a direct violation of religious freedom,” Ibrahimoglu said. Amongst former Soviet countries, such a ban has been lifted in Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

Source: Trend News Agency

22 August 2007