Central Asia has the highest number of children separated from their families in the region.
Too many children in Kyrgyzstan are placed in residential care institutions – more than 11,000 – despite most of them having at least one parent alive.
These children are deprived of care of parents or other caregivers, such as close relatives. UNICEF works to prevent placement of vulnerable children in institutions.
Navigating justice and administrative bodies is another concern for children in Kyrgyzstan. Until 2012, a significant number of children ended up in the criminal justice system because alternative sanctions were rarely practiced. Children in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings still face inappropriate environment. Criminal, civil and administrative procedures lack child-friendly provisions to ensure proper treatment for children. Additionally, children had to face perpetrators during trials and would often be kept in the same room as adults while awaiting hearings.
Abuse and violence against children in Kyrgyzstan is widespread.
This includes violence in schools, within families, in residential care, and elsewhere. Abuse and violence includes bullying, and trafficking, as well as corporal punishment, which is not expressly prohibited. Children of migrants are particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and neglect, as they are often left behind with inadequate support and supervision, or in residential care. Until recently, these issues were further compounded by the lack of systematic support for children who have suffered violence and abuse.
Sexual violence is a major cause of concern for children in Kyrgyzstan. Children are often lacking protection. If they have concerns or complaints, there are no procedures or places to give voice to them. Meanwhile, the inaction of law-enforcement agencies and the taboos surrounding sexual violence mean that a significant number of cases go unreported. Thousands of girls suffer gender-based violence, child marriage and the practice of “bride kidnapping”, meaning forcing of girls into marriage.