BISHKEK -- United Nations agencies in Kyrgyzstan have expressed concern over the brutal killing of a 20-year-old woman by her abductor and urged the Central Asian country to take "all appropriate measures" to stop illegal practices such as bride kidnapping as well as child and forced marriage.
The UN office in Kyrgyzstan said in a May 31 statement that such practices "do not belong to the culture and tradition of Kyrgyzstan but are a violation of the rights of vulnerable people."
"Child and/or forced marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights with far-reaching consequences not only to the individuals directly involved but to the well-being of the entire society," the statement added.
Kyrgyz prosecutors say they have opened a criminal investigation into the stabbing death of the young woman, hours after she was abducted by a man near Bishkek.
The May 27 killing of Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, a graduate of a medical school in the Kyrgyz capital, occurred at a police precinct where she and her abductor had been taken after being detained by police.
Her father told RFE/RL that the attacker allegedly carved her initials and that of her fiance, who she had originally planned to marry, into the woman's body.
The 29-year-old suspected attacker, who has not been identified, was hospitalized after stabbing himself, officials said.
Bride kidnapping, which occurs in Kyrgyzstan and some parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, has been illegal for years in Kyrgyzstan but prosecutions have been rare.
In 2012, Kyrgyz lawmakers strengthened the punishment, raising the maximum prison term from three to 10 years.
Despite "significant steps" to strengthen Kyrgyzstan's laws, "more work needs to be done in the prevention and prosecution of perpetrators as well as ensuring the protection of victims," the UN office said.
The latest available data in Kyrgyzstan shows that nearly 14 percent of women aged under 24 married "through some forms of coercion," according to the UN statement.