The legal culture starts from me, from you, from us, from each member of the society

September 2, 2020

Photo: Chyntemir Kalbaev. UNDP Kyrgyzstan

What is the legal culture? How to raise the legal culture? Can one say that a person has a high legal culture, if he observes the laws? Everyone, who wants to live in a law-governed state, probably, asks such questions. Thus, we present the viewpoint of the active citizens in the society to your attention.

Zhyldyz Duishenova, education expert:

Observing that the law is violated and being indifferent is a low legal culture. Why the legal culture is high in the developed countries? Because there it is not allowed to violate the law, it is inadmissible.

If something illegal is noticed, one says, writes about it, applies to a court at once. But here some people allow violating the law. Allowing illegal or wrongful acts, indifference to it, lead to the prosperity of illegality. The legal culture starts from me, from you, from us, from each member of the society!

Almaz Kulmatov, public figure:

“If a citizen of the state, committing a crime, is looking for the connections in order to avoid a punishment, then it is a corruptive state”, - he said. “But if he starts to look for a lawyer, then it is a law-governed state. The access to the human rights should not restrict or prejudice the rights of others in the society with the high level of the legal culture”.

Altymysheva Alina, health care specialist:

 “The legal culture is when a person knows his rights. For example, we have a law on protection of the citizens from harmful impact of the tobacco smoke. Many people do not know about existence of this law. They smoke in the stairwells; the drivers of the fixed route taxi-buses smoke also during the trip. The women with children, the passengers inside the bus have to inhale this harmful cigarette smoke. Certainly, it is a low level of the legal culture from both sides. To raise the legal culture, it is necessary to carry out active public awareness campaigns through the social networks, the television and the mass media”.

Elina Karagulova,  media expert:  

 “Each person should raise his legal culture himself. There are many resources to improve the legal education. The legal materials in different areas can be found through the Internet. The knowledge in this area is provided in schools, secondary and higher educational institutions. However, on the other hand, the duties of each person are to read, to understand, to know and to apply the laws that regulate his own life”.  

Seitek Kachkynbaev, an Orientalist scholar:

“We shall understand that our right eye is not an enemy of our left eye. Whether a person is an adherent of Tengrianism, a Muslim, a liberal, a socialist or a feminist, we should understand that this is my right or left eye. We should not think that everyone, who has a viewpoint different from mine is my enemy.  We should understand that this another person is just like me, who has his own ideas and viewpoints. The legal culture is when all members of the society accept the rules and strictly observe them”. 

Timur Shaikhudinov, a public figure.

 “The legal culture is what suppresses our destructive instincts. Certainly, everybody wants his rights to be respected. But the legal culture starts from the respect of others’ rights. If the society and every person among its members do not understand the importance to respect the rights and the interests of others, then there always will be chaos in this society.

During the Soviet times, the laws were strict, but they kept everybody in awe. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the legal culture of the people was low, the people stopped to obey the laws and started to do everything they wanted. Gradually, a strong legal culture started to develop in Kyrgyzstan. A simple example: why do we drive a car observing the rules? Not because we are afraid of the officers from the State Motor Vehicle Inspectorate or the fines, but in order to observe the laws, to respect the traffic rights of other people, we observe the rules in order to build a basis of the law-governed state. We can call all this the strong legal culture”.  

Ainura Cholponkulova, expert in educational area.

“The only way to raise the legal culture is to improve legal knowledge, constant public awareness campaigns through the mass media and the social networks, and, the most important,   to pursue an educational ideology for development  of the legal culture from the school age”.

Daniyar Amanaliev, a businessnman

In the developed countries, for example in Germany, if a traffic light is red, even if there are no cars, the traffic rules are observed and people wait until the traffic light is green. But here everybody would look with a surprise at such a person. The legal culture is creating an idea that these rules must be observed all the time.

In order to raise the legal culture, the society shall not look at the authorities and wait something from them, everyone must start from himself. For example, the simplest thing is to start from our attitude to our children. Whether the children decide for themselves, how they will live their life, or their parents will assume this responsibility and will stipulate a condition that their children shall become world champions, know well math and draw a butterfly using a blue color instead of a wanted pink color? Do we provide a freedom and an opportunity to our children to exercise their rights, or do we tell that we are parents and they should live in the way we want, because we know much, we are smarter than they are? It is difficult for the children grown in such conditions to be the citizens with a high legal culture. They don’t understand, where their rights start and end, but at the same time they think that the rights of others can be violated. We shall provide an example teaching our children to respect the rights of others. The legal culture of the state starts from such simple things.

In conclusion, it shall be noted that to create the legal culture of the high level it is necessary, firstly, to form a legal consciousness. Secondly, a person shall know the laws and his rights. And thirdly, he shall not remain indifferent to the violation of the law and demand its observance.

The material has been prepared within the framework of the UNDP and the MIA of Finland project “Towards a sustainable access to justice for legal empowerment in the KR”.