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Allow Expert Access to Kazakhstan; Lift Ban

(Berlin) – Kazakh authorities have banned a Russian-American researcher from the country for five years in apparent efforts to stymy his work documenting abuses of ethnic minorities in neighboring China, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Gene Bunin
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Governments Should Halt Trade in Surveillance Technology

(New York) – Recent reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used for surveillance of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, and others demonstrate the urgent need for governments to suspend the trade in surveillance technology until…
People march in Budapest, Hungary during a July 26, 2021 protest against the Hungarian government over reports that it has used Pegasus spyware.
News

Item 6 - Universal Periodic Review

We regret that the government of Saint Lucia has, once again, refused to accept the recommendations to decriminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults. Articles 132 and 133 of the criminal code punish so-called “gross indecency” and “…
Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019.
News

Over 130 Targeted for Alleged Membership in Groups Deemed ‘Extremist’

(Berlin) – Authorities in Kazakhstan have targeted at least 135 people across the country with criminal investigations and prosecutions for alleged participation in banned “extremist” political opposition groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Over…
Koshe Party activists handing out information leaflets in Nursultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, before the unregistered group was banned by court order. February 18, 2020.
News

Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding Children’s Rights and Alternative Care June 30, 2021 Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the Committee on the Rights of the Child ahead of its upcoming Day…
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Government Urged to Fully Implement Reforms

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has slammed Kazakhstan – again – for harassing union leaders. At the ILO’s annual conference, earlier this June, Kazakhstan drew the ire of the Committee on the Application of Standards, which reviews…
A worker prepares pipes to service an oil well on oil fields operated by a subsidiary of the KazMunayGas Exploration Production JSC in Kyzylorda region, southern Kazakhstan on January 21, 2016.
News

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
News

Instagrammer Faces Criminal Prosecution for Satirical News

Temirlan Ensebek, a 25-year-old from Almaty, Kazakhstan, is under criminal investigation on charges of “disseminating knowingly false information” in connection with the satirical Instagram account Qaznews24, which he ran for a few weeks in April. If…
Temirlan Ensebek Kazakhstan Free Speech Detained
News

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

Laws Prohibiting Same-Sex Conduct Fuel Hate, Violence

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights today made public a decision calling on Jamaica to repeal laws prohibiting consensual same-sex conduct. The commission’s conclusions in Gareth Henry and Simone Carline Edwards v. Jamaica are by some…
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News

Drop Lawsuit; Cease Interference in Trade Union Activities

Update (February 5, 2021): In a blow to freedom of association and the right of workers to organize and carry out their activities without government interference, the Specialized Interdistrict Economic Court in Shymkent on February 5 suspended…
Kuspan Kosshygulov (center) is one of the workers at an oil construction company who went on a hunger strike demanding that Kazakhstan not liquidate the independent confederation of trade unions.
News

Kazakhstan’s Partners Should Condemn Government’s Stifling of Free Association

Correction: The dispatch was updated to remove reference to legal amendments adopted in 2015. The changes to the administrative code requiring nongovernmental organizations to report on receipt and expenditure of foreign funds was adopted in July 2016…
From left to right: the head of Erkindik Kanaty, Elena Shvetsova, with lawyers Olga Enns and Roman Reimer, in the office of the deputy head of the tax department, Erlik Mukanov, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, January 18, 2021.
News

Uphold, Reaffirm Human Rights Protections

(Berlin) – Government responses to the acute human rights challenges posed by Covid-19 across Central Asia negatively affected right to health, media freedoms, and access to justice, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021.…
Uzbek students take open-air entrance exams in Tashkent on September 2, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.
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.
News

Authorities Should Register Shuttered Trade Unions, Confederation

Kazakhstan has taken an important step toward improving trade union rights – a major area of human rights concern in the country. Last month Kazakhstan’s labor minister, Birzhan Nurymbetov, briefed Human Rights Watch on legal changes, adopted in…
Workers at the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Temirtau, June 13, 2012.
News

Tax Officials Should End Harassment, Withdraw Notices

Correction: The news release was updated to reflect that Kazakhstan adopted two separate sets of legal amendments concerning reporting obligations of nongovernmental organizations, in December 2015 and in July 2016. (London) – Kazakhstan tax…
Kazakhstan flag
News

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.
News

Hundreds of Thousands Facing Poverty, Economic Hardship

(Berlin) – Hundreds of thousands of people in Kazakhstan may face poverty unless the government extends and bolsters economic relief for those negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. The pandemic has elevated…
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News

Prosecution for Knocking Officer’s Hat Off and Insulting Police Was Unwarranted

Asya Tulesova is a Kazakhstan activist who gained notoriety after she was jailed for 15 days in 2019 for holding a poster during the Almaty marathon saying “You can’t run from the truth”. This week a court handed down another “guilty” verdict, this…
Asya Tulesova, August 12, 2020.