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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on freedom of speech in Kazakhstan

8.3.2016 - (2016/2607(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Isabella Adinolfi on behalf of the EFDD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0337/2016

Eljárás : 2016/2607(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on freedom of speech in Kazakhstan


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan, and especially on the situation of human rights,

–   having regard to the EU Strategy for Central Asia,

–   having regard to the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement,

–   having regard to the Constitution of Kazakhstan,

–   having regard to the last EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogue (November 2015) where "the EU noted its concerns in relation to pressure on independent media outlets and the possible negative implications of new draft legislation on the funding of civil society organisations",

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–   having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A.  Whereas Kazakhstan is a strategic partner for the European Union, as clearly underlined by the conclusion of the "Partnership and Cooperation Agreement" of 1995 and, more recently, by the conclusion of the "Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement"(or Enhanced PCA) between the EU and Kazakhstan;

B.  Whereas the Constitution of Kazakhstan, notably its article 20, solemnly affirms that "the freedom of speech and creative activities shall be guaranteed. Censorship shall be prohibited; everyone shall have the right to freely receive and disseminate information by any means not prohibited by law";

C.  Whereas, democracy, rule of law, human rights and dialogue with civil society organisations have always been an important part of the bilateral talks between the EU and Kazakhstan, and they have also been discussed in several ad hoc seminars;

D.  Whereas in Kazakhstan since some years there has been a deterioration in the human rights record, especially concerning opposition leaders, media, newspapers, journalists, websites, online televisions and online portals;

E.  Whereas the UN Security Council itself has called for the creation of a safe environment “in law and practice” for media professionals to do their important work and has expressed deep concern at the growing threat to journalists and associated media personnel;

F.  Whereas the repression of freedom of speech in Kazakhstan has been carried out using vague criminal accusations such as "inciting discord", while it is clear that these criminal provisions have been used only to silence some critical voices against the government;

G.  Whereas some famous Kazakh activists or journalists such as Ermek Narymbaev, Serikzhan Mambetalin, Gyuzal Baidalinova or Yulia Kozolova have been recently arrested and subjected to severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, of speech and, more broadly, of expression;

H.  Whereas the authorities are using against activists and journalists a wide array of repressive systems, from imprisonment to the blocking or closing of websites and media outlets;

I.  Whereas the development of bilateral relations between the EU and Kazakhstan should also aim to support the strengthening of an active, independent and free civil society in Kazakhstan;


1.  Is worried and concerned by the negative evolution of the situation of human rights in Kazakhstan, and especially by the growing repression against dissidents, opposition activists, media and journalists;

2.  Is deeply worried by the closing, shut down or any other form of restriction of many independent media sources, websites, newspapers and other mass media;

3.  Calls on the Government of Kazakhstan to stop immediately any kind of arbitrary repression against the media sector and the opposition, and calls for the immediate release of activists and journalists who have been arrested or imprisoned for an alleged "incitement to discord";

4.  Calls on the Government of Kazakhstan to allow immediately the reopening of the closed newspapers, websites and other independent media which have been arbitrarily closed in the last years;

5.  Deplores the use of vague criminal and penal code provisions to repress the freedom of expression and speech, also because this behaviour is blatantly against what is solemnly enshrined in the Kazakh Constitution;

6.  Calls on the Government of Kazakhstan to refuse the use of a repressive approach against the media and the opposition while instead calls the Government to engage more actively its own civil society and the Kazakh NGOs and trade unions in order to open spaces for dialogue and participation instead of using repression, detentions, arrests and closing of media outlets;

7.  Calls on the Government of Kazakhstan to cease harassing independent and opposition journalists and avoid any further punitive suspension or shutdown of independent media outlets critical of the government;

8.  Remembers that the improving of the human rights situation in Kazakhstan, as well as in the other countries of Central Asia, is a priority of the EU Central Asian Strategy and of the Enhanced PCA;

9.  Urges the Government of Kazakhstan to implement the reform of Justice, the separation of the judicial power from any other power, to fight against corruption and to implement the National Torture Prevention Mechanism;

10.  Urges the Government of Kazakhstan to open a debate with the NGOs and civil society about the new Penal and Criminal codes, in order to avoid any possible use or abuse of criminal provision against dissidents and journalists;

11.  Instructs the EEAS to monitor closely the situation of human rights in Kazakhstan, and to report regularly on this issue;

12.  Reminds that Kazakhstan is an important partner for the European Union, and that a deepening of the bilateral economic and trade ties should be accompanied by an improvement of the internal situation regarding human rights, especially concerning the freedom of speech and expression, including the web sphere;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and to the government and parliament of Kazakhstan.