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Kyrgyz President Tells Blinken That Foreign-Funded NGOs Must Register

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov has come under fire from the U.S. State Department, because of legislation requiring NGOs that receive foreign funding to register as “foreign representatives.” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the State Department claim that this will lead to a reduction in the work of NGOs in Kyrgyzstan and could affect the health and well-being of the people.

President Japarov fired back. He referred to a more repressive 1938 U.S. law on the registration of foreign agents: “As we know, this law provides for the status of foreign agent not only for the media, but also for other legal entities and individuals. Violations—delay or refusal of it—are fraught not only with administrative, but also with criminal penalties. In this regard, the question arises: why is it possible for you, but not for us?” In a letter to Blinken yesterday, Japarov said that there were tens of thousands of NGOs operating quietly in the country, about which authorities have no questions. Nevertheless, there is a “small but vocal” group that spreads “false information among the people” and that complain about their “difficulties” and “persecution.” Both society and state must see where these organizations get their money and how they spend it. “If we became dependent on external forces, we would also carry out their will and would not be able to develop anything in the country,” Japarov said.

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