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Feminist Activists Attacked and Threatened

On May 29, Zhanar Sekerbaeva and Gulzada Serzhan, co-leaders of the feminist group Feminita, were holding a private event to discuss gender equality in Shymkent, a city in southern Kazakhstan, when unidentified men tried to break up the gathering by…
Feminita Kazakstan Activist Arrested
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Activists Demand Equality, Better Protection

By Vika Kim International Women’s Day 2021, on Monday, was the first time authorities in Almaty, Kazakhstan allowed a march celebrating the day to proceed. I joined the five-kilometer march along one of the city’s main roads, with hundreds of…
International Women’s Day march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 8, 2021. 
News

Lawmakers Have Opportunity to Strengthen Flawed Law

Ainagul from Aktobe, Gulnara from Kostanai, Arailym from Almaty, and Madina from Karaganda: these women from cities across Kazakhstan share a painful connection. They are all survivors of domestic violence at the hands of their abusive partners or…
Participants protest against discrimination and gender-based violence during a rally held by members of feminist organizations and social activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Rights, Rule of Law Key in Response to Region’s Crises

(Brussels) – The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges…
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.
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Government Should Ensure Protection for Survivors During COVID-19 Lockdown

While Kazakhstan authorities fight the spread of coronavirus by putting much of the country under lockdown, they should ensure domestic violence victims can still access refuge and services despite quarantine measures. On…
A woman rides a bus wearing face protective mask amid concerns over the coronavirus, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, March 16, 2020.
News

Revise Draft Law on Peaceful Protests

Update: In an online hearing on April 7, an appeals court in Kazakhstan upheld the lower court’s ruling penalizing the Women’s Day march activists with administrative fines. On April 8, parliament passed, in a second reading, the…
Symbolic burning of a funeral wreath during celebration of International Women's Day in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 8, 2020.
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Every year on March 8, Kazakhstan’s leaders commemorate International Women’s Day – a national holiday – in speeches praising women for their professional competitiveness and achievements, beauty, and “love for family values and…
Women, wearing traditional clothes, participate in Nowruz celebrations at the a Center in Astana, Kazakhstan on March 21, 2019.
News
What does a woman do if she is being attacked or harassed by strangers outside her home? Her instinct is to seek refuge and protection in her own home, where she feels safe. But what if a woman is being abused by her husband or partner in the home?…
Participants protest against discrimination and gender-based violence during a rally held by members of feminist organizations and social activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
News

UN Body Criticizes Domestic Violence Record, Urges Protection for Women with Disabilities

The United Nation’s top women rights body has criticized Kazakhstan’s government over its poor record on domestic violence and protecting women with disabilities. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has…
Participants protest against discrimination and gender-based violence during a rally held by members of feminist organizations and social activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
News

Ensure Protection, Access to Justice, Needed Services

Update 13 December 2019: Human Rights Watch’s response to the October 16 letter to the Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan can be found here. Update 4 November 2019: On  18 October 2019, Human Rights Watch received a response to its…
Participants protest against discrimination and gender-based violence during a rally held by members of feminist organizations and social activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
News

Court Upholds Arbitrary, Discriminatory Decision

(Berlin) – An appeals court in Kazakhstan on September 3 upheld a decision denying Feminita, a national feminist initiative, registration as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). The group’s focus includes the rights of lesbian,…
Zhanar Sekerbaeva co-founder of Feminita, a feminist initiative in Almaty, gives a talk on the demographics of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women in Kazakhstan.
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African Governments Should Ensure Right to Education

  (Nairobi) - Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of the Day of the African Child…
Students enrolled in the final year of lower secondary school in the classroom in a village in Kolda region, southern Senegal. Adolescent mothers and married girls study in this school.
Report
Summary When the head teacher found out that I was pregnant, he called me to his office and told me, “You have to leave our school immediately because you are pregnant.” —Jamida K., Kahama, Tanzania, April 2014 We don’t allow pregnant girls to…
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Last month, the government of President Sebastián Piñera of Chile issued rules that could seriously undermine access to legal abortion in the country. The rules issued by the Health Ministry, which modify the ones issued under former President…
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Last August, I had the opportunity to testify before the Constitutional Tribunal in Chile, my home country, in support of a landmark law that decriminalized abortion in three circumstances. In my testimony before the court, I spoke about how Chile’s total…
El Salvador protest abortion laws
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(Santiago, Chile) – Last month, in a huge victory for Chile’s women, the Constitutional Court here upheld a long-awaited law that eases a total ban on abortion, raising hopes that other Latin American countries will soon reconsider their cruel…
Demonstrators raise their thumbs in approval during a rally inside congress in favor of a draft law that would ease the country's strict abortion ban, in Valparaiso, March 17, 2016.
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Constitutional Tribunal Rejects Lawsuits Against New Law

(Washington, DC) – The Chilean Constitutional Tribunal protected women’s rights when it ruled on August 21, 2017 that a new law to end the full criminalization of abortion in Chile was constitutional, Human Rights Watch said today. …
Pro-abortion activist take part in a demonstration in front of the Constitutional Court where opposing parliamentarians presented arguments against the newly approved law that allows abortions under limited circumstances, in Santiago, Chile.
News

Long-Awaited Move for Women’s Health, Rights

(Washington, DC) – The Chilean Senate on July 19, 2017 adopted a bill to ease abortion restrictions, Human Rights Watch said today. As Chile has the most restrictive abortion law in South America and one of the strictest in the world,…
Demonstrators raises their thumbs in approval inside Congress in favor of a draft law by the government which seeks to ease the country's strict abortion ban, in Valparaiso, Chile, March 17, 2016. The law passed the Senate on July 19, 2017.
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End Torture; Respect Basic Freedoms

(Berlin) – Central Asia's political leaders should focus on urgently needed improvements to basic human rights protections for their populations, as they deal with leadership succession and internal politics, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its…
2016-10-7-eca-kazakhstan-bokaev-protest
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Chile’s chamber of deputies decided to side with women and their human rights yesterday, and approved a bill to partly decriminalize abortion. The new law would permit women to have safe, legal abortions if they are victims of rape, if their lives are in…
Demonstrators raie their thumbs in approval during a rally inside congress in favor of a draft law by the government, which seeks to ease the country's strict abortion ban, in Valparaiso, Chile March 17, 2016. The banner reads: "Chile makes history today,