The Bus of Solidarity idea brought from Paris – from the city of freedom

“The legal culture of the population shall be raised through the system of legal training and education, but not through adding greater punitive measures for incompliance with the legal provisions” – Kuban Kalenovich Kazakov said, the head of the Chui-Bishkek justice department during the conversation on the legal culture of the population as well as on a rather interesting project Bus of Solidarity . Below is the interview.

–   Kuban Kalenovich, quite recently you have been in charge of the Advocacy and legal propaganda department, where you have actively implemented the project Bus of Solidarity, please tell the readers about this project. 

– The main objective of this initiative is to help people solve their legal issues. The ultimate aim of this activity is to increase the legal literacy of the population. Bus of Solidarity  is a team of lawyers, notary officers, social workers and other specialists from the Ministry of justice, the Social fund, the State registration service, the Ministry of labor and social development, who go to the remote regions of the country using a special vehicle to provide a free legal support to the population. The bus goes according to a preliminary planned schedule. The local authorities, namely the aiyl okmotu, notify the residents in advance about the arrival of Bus of Solidarity. 


–  Where does the idea of the project Bus of Solidarity come from?

– This idea brought from Paris – from the city of freedom. In 2015, the UNDP assisted the Ministry of justice in development of the “The Concept on raising the legal culture of the population in the KR for 2016-2020”. At that time, the trip to France was organized for the representatives from the Ministry of justice to familiarize them with the experience in raising the legal culture of the population. During this trip, the Kyrgyz delegation was acquainted with the project Bus of Solidarity that went throughout the country and provided a free legal support. This idea came to the NGOs and the local authorities in Paris city, where there were very many illegal migrants, who were afraid of applying to the official authorities. As a result, the idea to implement the project Bus of Solidarity in Kyrgyzstan was included into the Action plan of the Concept on raising the legal culture of the population.

The Ministry of justice has started to implement this project since 2016. The activity of the project has been improving from year to year. From 2016 – 2019 “the Solidarity bus” has visited 1167 settlements and over 13 thousand people have received the legal support.

– How are the specialists of Bus of Solidarity selected?

– The Ministry of justice sends the requests to the territorial justice agencies regarding the need of the population on the legal issues. Based on the need, the Ministry of justice sends the letters to the relevant government authorities with a request to provide the specialists for the Bus of Solidarity project.

– You have told that the specialists from other government authorities such as the Social fund, the State Registration Service, the Ministry of labor and social development are involved in the trips of Bus of Solidarity. Everybody knows that conducting joint activities is not easy. Can you share a secret of successful cooperation?

– The legal training and education of the population are one of the concept-based areas in the activity of all central and local governments. We all understand what the legal ignorance of the population will lead to: to the absence of the skills to defend their legal interests, marginalizes the population, makes it more vulnerable in the modern conditions and creates a medium for development of corruption and escalation of social unrest. All government authorities approach this problem with great responsibility and provide an assistance in selection of the specialists to provide the legal support to the population.

– Recently, the UNDP has provided the support to the Ministry of justice in purchasing two new nice mini buses. Will the purchase of the own vehicle increase the efficiency of the project implementation?

– Certainly, these conditions will increase the efficiency of the system for providing free legal support and legal advice to the population locally. Previously, the vehicle renting procedure has taken long time due to the tender procedures. All activities have been carried out with the financing from the UNDP.

– Everybody knows that the time is required to solve the legal judicial issues and that they are solved for months, if not for years. The Bus of Solidarity provides one day for one aiyl okmotu. What do you think, how effective the activity of the specialists can be to solve the problems of the population related to the law?   

– You have noted quite correctly. The specialists of the Bus of Solidarity mainly provide the primary legal advice, carry out a law expository work, advise where to apply, what documents to prepare, help prepare title establishing documents, statements, complaints and other documents of the legal nature. If the service of an attorney is required for a long time to solve the issue, then the client is referred to the local Centers for providing the free legal support under the Ministry of justice. In addition, the specialists from the local authorities, who will further continue the work, are involved in the trips of the Bus of Solidarity.

We receive many positive feedbacks from the citizens through the social networks, the websites, they always ask about the trip schedule. I think that it is confirmation of the specialists’ efficiency in solving the problems of the population.

– With what legal issues do the citizens apply more often to the specialists of the Bus of Solidarity?  

– They apply more often with the issues of social insurance and pension system, receiving benefits, alimonies, services for underprivileged citizenry, including families and children from a deprived background, elderly citizens and persons with disabilities, solution of family disputes, lending, hereditary and labor disputes.

Transfer of minibuses to MOJ KR. Photo: Adilet Baktybekov / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

– How do you assess the level of the population’s legal culture?

– The legal culture formed from the childhood. The children see in what way the parents solve their legal issues. For example, they can give bribes, look for acquaintances to solve the legal issues, sell their votes at the elections, cross a street in wrong places and many others. All this creates the legal culture. When we ask the colleagues from the developed countries regarding the legal culture raising, they just don’t understand the point of the question. They ask counter questions: “Why do we need to raise it?”, “It should not be raised, everybody has it”, “Everybody shall observe the laws, it is not even discussed”. The legal culture is inherent in them from the childhood. 

– How can be the legal culture of the population raised?

– The legal culture of the population can and need to be raised through the system of the legal training and education. This system is recognized as more effective and successful compared to adding greater punitive measures for incompliance with the legal provisions. The legal training and education shall be understood as a systematic and goal-oriented activity of the state and the society that will ensure formation of such qualities in a citizen as patriotism, law abidance, a sense of human dignity, respect for rights and interests of other persons. 


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