The Bulan Institute is a non-profit and independent peace-building organization that works to promote human rights and peace through policy research, strategic analysis, publishing, advocacy and convening. Our aim is to promote peace in Central Asia, South Asia and Eurasia by asserting that human rights and security are closely interwoven, and that human security is key for modern peacebuilding. This stems from our conviction that human rights and security, through their interconnectedness and indivisibility, are the cornerstones of peace.
In a world of rapidly emerging security threats, human rights and security are indivisible and inalienable. Each individual has a right to both security and human rights. Human rights and humanity must be upheld, and they are the basis in conflict prevention and resolution.
Impartiality, Humanity, Excellence, Inclusivity, Growth and Leadership
The Bulan Institute for Peace Innovations was founded in 2017 but was officially registered in Geneva in May 2018. Since then, we have been working on research and advocacy projects in the fields of human rights and counterterrorism. Our founder is Ms. Cholpon Orozobekova who is a conflict analyst, PVE/CVE specialist and a human rights professional.
How do we work?
We believe that for the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts, it is crucial to identify their root cause and to understand why it is happening. We analyze root causes and drivers first and generate evidence-based, impartial, and policy-relevant knowledge on all aspects of existing problems. Then, we build dialogue among stakeholders by convening and proposing an independent, non-partisan platform, discussing solutions for prevention of and peaceful resolution to conflicts by advocating for human rights-based policies.
We commit to the following four principles as we work at the local and the international level:
- The Bulan Institute always adopts and advocates for a human rights-based approach in policymaking. We believe that human rights and security are indispensable and are the cornerstone of peace.
- The rule of law and human rights should always be at the center of decision making. The Bulan Institute commits to raise awareness and advocate for the rule of law and human rights norms in every conflict situation.
- The Bulan Institute is an independent organization that never takes sides politically and thus commits to impartiality. The Bulan Institute always conducts a thorough analysis of any conflict and issues research publications by preserving impartiality, non-discrimination and high professionalism.
- The Bulan Institute always takes high standards in its work and always commits to excellence.
- The Bulan Institute envisions a world where violence, inequality and discrimination should be eradicated and people should live in just, inclusive and equal societies.
Thematic and programmatic priorities
In the current rapidly changing security context, our focus regions are facing unprecedented security and human rights challenges. Thus, our organization acts by the principle that if the world is changing, and our actions have to be adequate to those changes. We will be working on the following priority issues and aim to tackle these issues in the coming years.
- Climate change and water scarcity
Our focus regions have been heavily affected by climate change and there is an urgent need to adequately address the impacts of it. Especially, in Central Asia, there are serious security risks related to climate change and water management in the region. Climate change makes disadvantaged and rural areas more vulnerable in these regions, as they lack the financial, economic and political resources to address this rising problem. Climate Change is also expected to have an influence on the local and regional economy, due to overexploitation and a lack of resources. In Central Asia, tensions increase over the management of water resources between the upstream hydro-rich and downstream carbon-rich states. This poses multiple risks as the climate changes and water stress grows. As water variability from glaciers increases, there will be more frequent disruption to generation in upstream hydropower plants. And if more water is held back in upstream countries, resources for irrigation in the downstream countries will diminish. In the absence of functional, enforceable energy or water exchange systems, water may become weaponized and a cycle of retaliation could be triggered.
The Bulan Institute aims to promote dialogue between states by supporting Blue Peace Initiative in Central Asia launched by Switzerland. We want to conduct research, build dialogue between countries and also generate knowledge about water facilities and water management. We also support the implementation of appropriate policies to address the impact of climate change and the integration of climate change considerations and actions.
- Human rights violations and shrinking space to civil society and free media
The protection of human rights and respect for rule of law in Central Asia, Eurasia and South Asia have been had serious challenges. Civil society organizations work under constant pressure and legal barriers, including foreign agents’ law which is active in many countries. There is large-scale corruption, nepotism and political instability in most of the countries. Human rights defenders and journalists are harassed and intimidated. Enacting legal norms that restrict the freedoms of speech and civic space is becoming an emerging trend in these regions. Many of these legal norms are designed not only to limit the work of civil society organizations and free media but punish them for their professional activities.
The Bulan Institute will promote human rights and freedom of speech in the focus regions by empowering civil society organizations. We believe that in the context where basic human rights have violated the risk of conflicts will arise. Thus, our mission is to advocate for human rights and addressing of grievances of people. The Bulan Institute also work to empower human rights activists, women leaders, journalists and local civil society organizations as they are main actors who have direct impact at local level.
- The growing threat of terrorism and religious extremism
Terrorism and religious extremism have become a big threat to every country in the world. Our focus regions also have been affected by religious extremism and terrorist attacks. Even though ISIS was defeated and lost its territories, its threat has remained high. The potential threat from ISIS fighters and their associates who have been held in prisons and camps is growing. As Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General highlighted in his report on the threat of ISIS, risks include possible escapes from the holding facilities, which could be compounded by disorder and rioting in the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks. The current situation in northeast Syria where thousands of ISIS fighters and their family members have been held by the Kurdish forces will have a long-term security impact globally.
The Bulan Institute works to study and analyze state policies toward ISIS fighters and their associates. We support United Nations efforts in this regard and aim to generate knowledge and policy-relevant research on options for dealing with this situation. The Bulan Institute is conducting research and studying the experiences of Central Asian states of repatriation and rehabilitation of Central Asian states. We want to share their best practices and lessons learned with the international community.
- Human Rights-based approach and humanity in conflict resolution
In our regions of emphasis, human rights and democracy is on the decline. Authoritarianism is increasing and human rights are being trampled on. The Bulan Institute holds the main principle in its work that human rights and humanity must be upheld, and they are the basis in conflict prevention and resolution. Thus, we work to promote human rights, humanity, justice and the rule of law in our focus regions. Because we believe that prevention and conflict transformation start from addressing the grievances of people. Root causes and drivers of conflicts stem from violations of human rights, corruption, poverty, nepotism, political exclusion, economic marginalization or discrimination. Thus, we believe that conflicts can be prevented or mitigated through human rights-based approaches and the identification of root causes and drivers is a very first step toward peacebuilding. The Bulan Institute believes human rights and security are directly interconnected, so by protecting and ensuring human rights and humanity we maintain peace.