• 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.