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(WNN) Bishkek, KYRGYZSTAN, CENTRAL ASIA: A new legislative bill has just been brought into law in the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan and signed into practice by Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev. The new more stringent legislation now hopes to strengthen the legal protections for women under the conditions of bride kidnapping in the region.
The crime, which previously brought a three year sentence, now brings a seven year sentence.
Bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan is considered a common practice today. It especially grew in prominence over the last decades as the independence as a country outside of what was then the Soviet Union, including the Russian territory, was established. It is thought by some ‘stop bride kidnapping’ advocates that the Soviet banned practice of bride kidnapping gained popularity again in the region as the country became independent in the 1990s. Marriage dowries have been considered by many Kyrgyz grooms to be too “excessive” today and well worth avoiding through bride kidnapping.
The act of kidnapping a young bride is usually not something that happens with the cooperation or wish of a bride. Advocates consider this practice to be most often forced and against international human rights laws.
“Article 16 of The [Universal] Declaration [of Human Rights] clearly establishes that men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. And what is important is that marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses,” outlined an expert meeting sponsored by United Nations in 2009.
While bride kidnapping is now receiving heavier and more stringent penalties, it does not require any dowry, the major factor thought to be encouraging the practice.
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