October 15th, 2017 marked Central Asia's first competitive election, where change of power was not the result of death or revolution. Our incumbent president Atambayev reaching his constitutional term limit, approved the date, numerous observers oversaw a process that saw Jeenbekov win the popular vote. Accusations were raised against opposition leaders of foreign entanglements, and threats against public safety unnerved Bishkek in the immediate aftermath, but the transition has been safe so far.
I am the Coordinator of the Human Rights Program at American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, and an Assistant Professor of Law. Our program endeavors to build local knowledge and capacity in the defense of human rights principles as a foundation of free society.
Human rights law as a practice is the attempt to codify our instincts-- that human beings have dignity and value. It is in reality a messy and often conflicting system of standards. It's an attempt to make local practice out of high-level concepts. And it's not a perfect science.