Kazakhstan

Wave of political repression: witch hunts for activists, marred elections and scores of arrests

Events during this reporting period form part of the strongest wave of politically motivated repression in Kazakhstan since the aftermath of the 2011 events in Zhanaozen. Over 30 people were detained and are currently in custody across the country in retaliation for their peaceful exercise of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. On top of that, at least 50 people detained for exercising their freedoms have been sentenced to prison, and around 250 have been summoned for interrogation as suspects and witnesses in criminal cases initiated in this context. Most of these people have been charged with participating in a banned extremist organisation under Article 405 of the Kazakhstani Criminal Code, a provision that the authorities use to target individuals associated with the opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) and Street Party movements. Both movements have been banned and labelled as extremist organisations by a court.

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Wave of political repression: witch hunts for activists, marred elections and scores of arrests

Massive restrictions on expression during COVID-19; sudden banning of peaceful opposition

The reporting period was characterised by mass restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association, specifically in relation to the banning of the popular unregistered “Street Party” movement by a court decision in May 2020 after it was labelled as extremist. The reporting period also saw important legislative developments, including changing slander from a criminal to an administrative offence and the corresponding reduction of penalties from prison sentences to fines. However, insult and insulting a government representative remain criminal offences. Read more

Massive restrictions on expression during COVID-19; sudden banning of peaceful opposition

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

The first three months of 2020 saw ongoing and systematic persecution of civil society activists, journalists, bloggers and other citizens exercising their right to freely express themselves. The situation is currently deteriorating, particularly in connection with the state of emergency, which was declared in the country on 16th March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Citizens who spoke up about the status of the pandemic in Kazakhstan and the authorities’ handling of it have on numerous occasions been criminally prosecuted. Political activists associated with two unregistered political parties – the new Democratic Party and the new movement “Street Party” - have faced persecution, administrative prosecution and significant harassment, both from the authorities and from unidentified persons. Read more

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

Changes ahead or status quo? Presidential promises amidst ongoing prosecution of political activists

During December 2019 there were numerous detentions of citizens participating in unsanctioned demonstrations, especially on Kazakhstan’s Independence Day on 16th December 2019, which is marked every year with demonstrations and small-scale pickets across the country. The detentions illustrate that the worrying trend of detaining anyone who demonstrates public dissent continues. However, on 20th December 2019 President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev made several statements which alluded to potential positive changes in the situation for civil society, media and activists in Kazakhstan.
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Changes ahead or status quo? Presidential promises amidst ongoing prosecution of political activists

Kazakhstan: Civil society activists intimidated, harassed and imprisoned

Fundamental freedoms have continuously been severely restricted in Kazakhstan.
Civil society activists, bloggers, protest participants and others - who criticised authorities in power - faced intimidation and harassment, including prosecution on charges brought against their legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, association and assembly. Read more

Kazakhstan: Civil society activists intimidated, harassed and imprisoned

Kazakhstan: A tightening grip on civil society: ongoing persecution of activists across the country

During the period covered by this report, Kazakhstan witnessed reinforced persecution of civil society activists, journalists and other citizens exercising their fundamental rights. This includes the prosecution of numerous civil society activists, journalists and other individuals in retaliation for expressing their opinion, engaging in online activities or participating in peaceful demonstrations on socio-economic and political issues. The reporting period also saw the continued denial of state registration for NGOs working on issues that are sensitive to the authorities. Read more

Kazakhstan: A tightening grip on civil society: ongoing persecution of activists across the country

Reinforced authoritarianism – sentencing of opposition activists, surveillance of citizens

This update covers developments on the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression in Kazakhstan from October to December 2018 and was prepared for the CIVICUS Monitor by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Kazakhstan International Bureau of Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) based on KIBHR’s monitoring of the situation in the country. Read more

Reinforced authoritarianism – sentencing of opposition activists, surveillance of citizens

Kazakhstan: Rapid shrinking of civic space and freedoms

This update covers developments on the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression in Kazakhstan from July to September 2018. It was prepared by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Kazakhstan International Bureau of Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) for the CIVICUS Monitor based on KIBHR’s monitoring of the situation in the country. Read more

Kazakhstan: Rapid shrinking of civic space and freedoms

Kazakhstan: Closure of independent media and peaceful protests hampered

Several violations of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression took place during the last few months. Read more

Kazakhstan: Closure of independent media and peaceful protests hampered