Country: KYRGYZSTANkyrgyzstan

Capital: Bishkek

Geographic Coordinates: 41 00 N, 75 00 E

Population: 5,508,626 (July 2010 est.)

Main Religion: Islam, Russian Orthodox

Language: Kyrgyz 64.7% (official), Uzbek 13.6%, Russian 12.5% (official), Dungun 1%, other 8.2% (1999 census)

Government Type: Republic

Head of State: President Roza OTUNBAEVA; Prime Minister Daniyar

Main Industries:  small machinery, textiles, food processing, cement, shoes, sawn logs, refrigerators, furniture, electric motors, gold, rare earth metals

GDP in US Dollars (per capita): $2,100 (2009 est.)

Currency Code: Som (KGS)

Life Expectancy: 62 years (men), 70 years (women) (UN)

Environment - current issues: Water pollution; Many people get their water directly from contaminated streams and wells; As a result, water-borne diseases are prevalent; Increasing soil salinity from faulty irrigation practices

Issues facing Women and Children:
  • Vitamin-A deficiency is widespread among children under five. Rising anaemia rates are resistant to large-scale fortification programmes because so much flour comes from household sources or very small mills.
  • Communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are increasing.
  • A growing number of children are placed in institutions, deprived of contact with their families.
  • The juvenile justice system is in need of reform. Serious questions have been raised about the treatment of minors while in police custody.
  • In rural areas, the practices of bride kidnapping and forced marriage persist. Domestic abuse and child neglect are also frequently reported.
  • Dropout rates are increasing especially among girls forced into marriage. Migrant children have little access to schools, and poor families cannot afford the unofficial monthly fees charged for textbooks and other expenses.

Land Mine Ban Signatory: N

Local Media: Press: Slovo Kyrgyzstana, Vecherniy Bishkek, MSN; Radio and TV: Kyrgyz National TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation

Interesting Fact: "Kyrgyz" is derived from the word for forty, so it is possible that the Kyrgyz people were originally forty families or forty clans. The Kyrgyz were among those who raided the borders of China causing the need for the Great Wall. The landlocked country of Kyrgyzstan is surrounded by four other landlocked states, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikstan, and Afghanistan, making it the only double-landlocked country in the world.

Famous for: "Tulip Revolution", Sary-Chelek State Reserve, bozo (fermented grain), plov or pilov (rice dish), Manas (mythical hero), ala kachuu (bride kidnapping)