(Berlin) – Kazakhstan should immediately end legal moves to liquidate an independent trade union confederation, Human Rights Watch said today. An economic court in Shymkent, in southern Kazakhstan, on December 5, 2016, began reviewing a case brought by the Justice Ministry against the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan. Three other affiliated industrial trade unions face liquidation as well.
“Kazakhstan should be allowing workers to organize freely in compliance with its international obligations, not trying to shut down a major workers’ organization,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Trampling on basic labor rights is both wrong in principle and in the signal it sends to Kazakhstan’s partners.”
Kazakhstan is a regional hub for foreign investment in extractive industries, and has ambitions to be a top-30 economy by 2050. Kazakhstan’s key economic partners, including the European Union, its member states, and the United States, should urge Astana to step back from liquidating an internationally recognized union body and to allow trade unions to operate freely, Human Rights Watch said.