• Kazakhstan’s human rights record has seriously deteriorated following violent clashes in December 2011 between police and demonstrators, including striking oil workers. Authorities blamed outspoken oil workers and political opposition activists for the unrest, and sentenced Vladimir Kozlov, an opposition leader, to prison on vague and overbroad criminal charges. Freedom of assembly is strictly controlled and a restrictive law on religious freedoms remains in force. There were attacks on independent journalists, and authorities shut down key independent media outlets. Legislation regulating workers’ rights is vague and burdensome, and a ban on strikes in certain sectors of the economy restricts workers’ rights.

  • Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record continued to deteriorate in 2013, with authorities cracking down on free speech and dissent through misuse of overly broad laws. Authorities maintain strict controls on freedom of assembly and religion. Despite flawed trials, courts upheld the prison sentences of people convicted in the aftermath of violent clashes in December 2011 between police and people in the western oil town of Zhanaozen. Torture remains common in places of detention, even as authorities in July adopted a law on a National Preventive Mechanism on torture.



  • Apr 14, 2014
    The Kazakh government should annul a decree implementing legislation that imposes excessive restrictions on freedom of speech and association during states of emergency. The government should also amend the underlying state of emergency law.
  • Mar 18, 2014
  • Jan 21, 2014
    Ongoing serious rights abuses by the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan make it essential for the United States and the European Union to consistently and publicly raise human rights concerns and urge specific human rights improvements in 2014, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2014.
  • Jan 9, 2014
    The French authorities should not extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov, a recognized refugee and an outspoken government critic, to Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, he would be at serious risk of ill-treatment and would face a flagrant denial of his fair trial rights. The French authorities also should not send Ablyazov to any country that might return him to Kazakhstan.
  • Dec 13, 2013
  • Oct 30, 2013
    Tony Blair’s consultancy business is growing again. He’s started advising Albania, and Vietnam says it is negotiating a consultancy deal with the former British prime minister on development issues.
  • Oct 30, 2013
    Human Rights Watch works on several countries and issues that overlap with your work, both as an advisor and in your diplomatic role. We are writing here specifically in respect of your work with the government of Kazakhstan. We note that your office has confirmed that your work has been extended into a second year, starting approximately in October 2012.
  • Sep 16, 2013
  • Aug 22, 2013
    A journalist in Kazakhstan who has criticized local government officials and written on other sensitive issues was seriously beaten by unidentified assailants on August 20, 2013. Police were slow to respond and to order a medical examination. The Kazakh authorities should investigate the attack swiftly and effectively, and thoroughly examine possible motives related to his work.
  • Aug 15, 2013
    Kazakh authorities should immediately release a lawyer from unlawful, forced psychiatric detention and ensure her safety. They should give the lawyer immediate access to her legal representative and take steps to hold accountable all those responsible for her unlawful detention. A civil court hearing to consider Zinaida Mukhortova’s forced hospitalization has been scheduled for August 16, 2013.