Accessible legal aid support for Batken

July 14, 2023

Handover of the Bus of Solidarity for Batken province, Kyrgyzstan

photo: Nurzhan Alymkanova, communcations specialist UNDP Kyrgyzstan

July 13, 2023, Bishkek - Today, Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Resident Representative had a final courtesy meeting with Ayaz Baetov, Minister of Justice at the  Bishkek Free Legal Aid Center. She also handed over the third minibus to the Ministry of Justice to extend the Bus of Solidarity initiative to Batken province. 

Long term collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Justice has indeed yielded significant achievements in the promotion of the rule of law and justice system. This partnership has led to notable achievements, including the establishment of the Law on Guaranteed by State Legal Aid (FLA Law), the FLA Service, legal aid standards, a comprehensive legal database, the FLA 114 hotline, the Bus of Solidarity initiative, , and a comprehensive legal inventory. These outcomes demonstrate the effectiveness of their collaboration in promoting and strengthening the rule of law and justice across the country.

Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Resident Representative noted that, UNDP is working on enhancing access to justice worldwide, in line with the principles of human rights protection, the promotion of gender equality, leaving no one behind. “Ministry of Justice is a key governmental institutionin upholding the rule of law, facilitating access to justice, and promoting human rights. The Ministry,  plays a pivotal role in driving the free legal aid policy, ensuring widespread access to legal information, and fostering an increase in public awareness regarding their legal rights.” – said she. 

Ayaz Baetov, Minister of Justice: "The acquisition of minibuses received under the UNDP project "Towards Sustainable Access to Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic" will facilitate travel to remote settlements, as well as provide an opportunity to be located in densely populated areas, thereby ensuring that citizens can receive legal assistance." He noted that, this minibus will be sent directly to provide legal assistance to the residents of Batken oblast, in connection with the tragic events that occurred in 2022.

During the meeting the Minister and the UNDP Resident Representative discussed the key outcomes and future strategic cooperation and then Ms. Louise Chamberlain handed over the keys of the minibus to Mr. M. Baetov. This was organized to expand the legal aid in the Batken province for vulnerable population. 

Bus of Solidarity” was introduced into the Concept on raising legal culture of the population by the UNDP as a best practice taken from the French experience, because of a study tour to France in 2015. It is a MoJ group of lawyers that go to the remote provinces of the country to provide free legal consultations and legal information to the population. While they help men and women alike on a spectrum of legal issues, they are especially vital in empowering and protecting women. Moreover, the bus of solidarity presents a uniquely adaptable, flexible approach to addressing the intersections of rural poverty, gender equality, and rule of law. Now all of these will be also provided to the people of Batken.   

Support to the Batken province is provided within the UNDP project “Strengthening Human Rights Protection and Equal Access to Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic” (phase III) funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

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Contacts for media: Nurzhan Alymkanova, UNDP communications specialist,