Volume 2 Issue 7

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Is International Human Rights Law a Solution to the Kazakhstan Crisis?

Date of News: 


Date of Publication: 


Unique ID:


Name of the Author: 

Reeti Shetty

Field of Law: 

Human Rights

Content of News:

Kazakhstan's human rights record has plummeted to an all-time low, with government opponents, including opposition party leaders, persecuted and imprisoned. As a result, the country has faced criticism from various human rights and international organisations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has pushed Kazakhstan to modify its restrictive free speech rules and prohibit gender-based violence. Under the guise of protecting minors, the authorities have restricted free expression and are pursuing legislative reforms that will further jeopardise citizens' access to information and freedom of expression. Furthermore, Parliament postponed debate on a new domestic violence statute while failing to provide a viable alternative. Since January 2, hundreds of people have been imprisoned and many have been injured in Kazakhstan's nationwide protests. President Kasym-Jomart Tokaev has declared a two-week state of emergency in Almaty, Nur-Sultan, and the western Mangystau region, where the protests began. According to Kazakhstan's interior ministry, more than 200 individuals have been detained, with many more injured, including 95 police officers. During the protests, access to the internet and messaging apps was temporarily banned. This includes a night curfew and a ban on public gatherings. Today, he fired his government and replaced it with an interim administration. The current crisis stems from long-standing resentment of the government's corruption and poor governance. Despite Kazakhstan's efforts to establish a pro-human rights narrative by signing human rights treaties and establishing full-fledged domestic institutions, the ground reality is contradictory. As a result, Kazakhstan must uphold its international human rights obligations and protect the right to peaceful assembly and free expression in this situation.