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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on human rights situation in Kazakhstan

9.2.2021 - (2021/2544(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 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Petras Auštrevičius, Olivier Chastel, Engin Eroglu, Vlad Gheorghe, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Svenja Hahn, Karin Karlsbro, Moritz Körner, Nathalie Loiseau, Javier Nart, Dragoș Pîslaru, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Michal Šimečka, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Ramona Strugariu, Hilde Vautmans, Dragoş Tudorache, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Malik Azmani, Urmas Paet
on behalf of the Renew Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0144/2021

Procedura : 2021/2544(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on human rights situation in Kazakhstan


The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) between the European Union and its Member States, on the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part, which entered into force on 1 March 2020,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan, in particular the resolution of 14 March 2019 on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan and of 10 March 2016 on Freedom of Expression in Kazakhstan,

-  having regard to the 18th meeting of the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee on 25 September 2020,

-  having regard to the Statements by the Spokesperson of 1 February 2021 on the increasing pressure on human rights NGOs, of 11 January 2021 on the parliamentary elections and of 2 January 2021 on steps to abolish the death penalty,

-  having regard of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

-  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,


  1. whereas the cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan is based on the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which provides an essential framework for accelerating political and economic dialogue; whereas the agreement reiterates the importance of the rule of law, democracy, human rights and civil society participation;
  2. whereas parliamentary elections took place on 10 January 2021; whereas, according to the OSCE/ODHIR, the elections included significant restrictions of fundamental freedoms by different laws, limited space for civil society and alternative voices; whereas, Nur Otan, the ruling party won 72% of the votes, while the opposition parties were prevented from participation and boycotted from voting; whereas no new parties were allowed to register since 2013, leaving voters without genuine choice;
  3. whereas it was reported by ODIHR LEOM that the work of independent observers was burdened and impeded by the authorities, whilst pro-government observers were allowed to monitor the electoral process;
  4. whereas large peaceful rallies against these elections took place across Kazakhstan on election day and were violently overpowered by government security forces by arbitrary detaining at least 350 individuals in 10 different cities; whereas Kazakh authorities routinely prevent peaceful protests criticizing government policies; whereas the law on peaceful assembly and the amendments to the laws on political parties and elections adopted in May 2020 fail to respect the fundamental rights of the citizens of Kazakhstan;
  5. whereas 26 political prisoners are held in pre-trial detention facilities and have received prison sentences; whereas the authorities continue to abuse “anti-extremism” legislation with the purpose of silencing political opponents and critical voices, particularly the banned peaceful opposition movements Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) and Koshe Partiyasy, political prisoners Almat Zhumagulov, Aset Abishev, Kenzhebek Abishev, Askhat Zheksebayev, Kairat Klyshev, Yerbol Yeskhozin, Abai Begimbetov, Asel Onlabekkyzy, Yerkin Sabanshiyev, Zhanat Zhamaliyev, Diana Baimagambetova, Noyan Rakhimzhanov and Askar Kayyrbek have fallen victim to political prosecution in connection with their support to these movements; whereas hundreds of cases of torture and ill-treatment in prisons in Kazakhstan are being reported every year, the penal institutions do not meet international standards in terms of living conditions and upholding prisoners’ rights and the situation further worsened due to COVID-19 imposed restrictions; whereas human rights defender Elena Semenova is being persecuted for exposing alleged cases of torture in prisons;
  6. whereas from February to November 2020, five opposition activists have died as a result of illegal actions and political repression by law enforcement and intelligence agencies: Dulat Agadil, his 17-year old son Zhanbolat Agadil, Amanbike Khairolla, Serik Orazov and Garifulla Embergenov; whereas civil society activist and mother of three, Dametkan Aspandiyarova, is under house arrest on “extremism charges” for organising a fundraising in support of the family of Dulat Agadil;
  7. whereas human rights defenders denouncing violations of fundamental freedoms are under constant intimidation and harassment in Kazakhstan, in particular Sholpan Dzhanzakova,  Aizhan Izmakova, Daniyar Khassenov, Altynai Tuksikova, Dana Zhanay, Nazym Serikpekova, Alma Nurusheva, Abaibek Sultanov, Zukhra Nariman, Ulbolsyn Turdiyeva, Aliya Zhakupova and Roza Musayeva; and Barlyk Mendygaziyev; whereas the authorities of Kazakhstan have initiated politically motivated cases under Art. 258, Part 2 of Kazakhstan’s Criminal Code for financing, aiding and abetting terrorist or extremist activities against human rights defenders Raigul Sadyrbayeva, Anna Shukeyeva and her husband Baurzhan Atuzbayev, for their human rights and charity work;
  8. whereas the crackdown on human rights organisations has intensified since the 10 January 2021 parliamentary elections; whereas prominent human rights non-governmental organisations have been subjected to increasing pressure, harassment and penalisation by Kazakhstan authorities;
  9. whereas in January 2021, Kazakh tax authorities ordered a three month suspension on the activities of human rights organisations Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (KIBHR), The International Legal Initiative Foundation (ILI) and the public association Echo; whereas the tax authorities imposed fines on these organisations as well as the human rights organisation, Erkindik Kanaty (Wing of Freedom), for alleged violations in reporting of foreign funds; whereas the cases against three other organisations, the Legal Media Centre, MediaNet and Sana Sezim, are currently pending with tax authorities; whereas it is a common practice to use mechanisms of pressure of the tax authorities to penalise human rights organisations for failing to properly report on foreign funds they had received;
  10. whereas in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government misused its pandemic restrictions as a pretext for intensifying political repression of civil society and human rights activists, opposition voices, and medical workers denouncing the government’s failures in containing the outbreak;
  11. whereas the country is defined as a consolidated authoritarian regime by Freedom House and ranks 157 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index; whereas the media landscape is dominated by state owned or state-subsidised media channels, journalists’ work is being obstructed, notably the case of journalist Saniya Toiken who was targeted with physical assaults and detentions when reporting on peaceful protests and the 2021 parliamentary elections, and of Lukpan Akhmediyarov who was “disciplined” for investigating corruption;
  12. whereas the state control over the Internet is increasing, including attempts to restrict the flow of information by Internet censorship and control, Internet shutdowns, as well as by demanding citizens to install a “national security certificate” which allows for the interception of Internet users’ online traffic; whereas Kazakh bloggers, opinion makers and social media users are being punished with long-term prison terms or confinement to psychiatric clinics under dubious extremism charges;
  13. whereas on 23 September 2020, Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that Kazakhstan has signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights; whereas the protocol requires all signatories to commit to abolishing the death penalty;
  14. whereas Kazakhstan has abusively resorted to international legal assistance mechanisms such as the INTERPOL Red Notice system and Mutual Legal Assistance requests to persecute regime opponents abroad and gain access to confidential documents as in the case of Bota Jardemalie, a human rights defender and lawyer who benefits from refugee status in Belgium; whereas on 29 September 2020, the National Asylum Court of France granted the DCK leader, Mukhtar Ablyazov, political asylum, highlighting the political motives behind Kazakhstan’s prosecution in the country and in different jurisdictions;
  15. whereas ethnic Kazakhs and other individuals fleeing from repressions in China do not receive proper protection in Kazakhstan and face life-threatening attacks, notably the case of Murager Alimuly and Kaisha Akankyzy; whereas violent ethnic clashes in Kazakhstan continue, particularly in country’s south where in February 2020 the clashes between Kazakhs and ethnic Dungans resulted into 11 people dead, dozens wounded and more than 23 000 people, mostly Dungans, forced out of home;

Urges the government of Kazakhstan to fulfill its human rights obligations as set out in the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and cease any forms of harassment, stop the political murders of dissident voices as well as close all politically motivated proceedings;

  1. Calls on the authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all peaceful protestors and political prisoners, in particular Almat Zhumagulov, Aron Atabek, Nurgul Kaluova, Saltanat Kusmankyzy, Daryn Khassenov, Ulasbek Akhmetov, Kenzhebek Abishev, Yerzhan Yelshibayev, Aset Abishev, Igor Chuprina,  Ruslan Ginatullin; Deplores the repression of peaceful activists, supporters of peaceful opposition movements ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ and “Koshe Partiyasy” and urges the government of Kazakhstan to refrain from abusing anti-extremism legislation to oppress political pluralism;
  2. In strongest possible terms condemns the political killings of civil society activists, Serik Orazov, Amanbike Khairolla, Garifulla Embergenov, Dulat Agadil and Zhanbolat Agadil  and urges the government of Kazakhstan to carry out a through and transparent investigations into their deaths;
  3. Is very concerned about the democratic value of the 10 January 2021 parliamentary elections , which lacked genuine competition, prevented voters from the possibility of making an informed choice, were tarnished by numerous violations and limitations on fundamental freedoms, were open to multiple voting, prevented domestic independent observers from an effective oversight and lacked full transparency; points to the necessity of reviewing the electoral legal framework in line with international standards and in compliance with the recommendations made by ODIHR LEOM, specifically those concerning the respect of fundamental freedoms, political pluralism, civil society participation, impartiality of election administration, voter registration, freedom of media, as well as the transparency of election results;
  4. Expresses its concerns over the shrinking space of media freedom in the country and increasing attempts to restrict the flow of information by controlling the Internet; 
  5. Calls on the government of Kazakhstan to fully respect the rights of civil society organisations, trade unions, human rights defenders, journalists and guarantee that they are able to do their work without facing harassment, attacks or arbitrary arrests; strongly condemns the confinement to psychiatric clinics as a method to silence critical voices;
  6. Welcomes the recent decision by the Kazakh authorities to repeal the decision to suspend the activities of the human rights organisations KIBHR, ILI, Echo and Erkindik Kanaty and annul the fines imposed on them; calls however on the Kazakhstani authorities to cease misusing financial reporting schemes and the initiation of criminal proceedings as in the case of “Bostandyq Kz”, “Femina Virtute”, “405”, “Elimay” and “Veritas movements” to put pressure on human rights groups;
  7. Insists that the COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as a tool to prosecute and suppress opposition voices and critics; reiterates the need to review the new Law on Peaceful Assembly and to cease any form of harassment, physical violence and arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters;
  8. Advises the Kazakh authorities against the abusive misuse of judicial cooperation mechanisms like INTERPOL’s Red Notice system and Mutual Legal Assistance requests with a purpose to persecute regime opponents abroad and gain access to confidential information;
  9. Urges the government of Kazakhstan to eradicate torture and ill-treatment from prisons, respect prisoners’ rights, ensure proper living conditions, hygiene and safe environment in terms of addressing COVID-19 posed threats;
  10. Urges the government of Kazakhstan to ensure safety of ethnic Kazakhs and other minority groups who fled China’s concentration camps, including granting permanent refugee status to Murager Alimuly and Kaisha Akankyzy, and pay sufficient attention to continuous ethnic tensions in its southern regions;
  11. Welcomes the approval of the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and calls upon the EU Member States and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to implement personal sanctions against perpetrators, entities and bodies involved in or associated with systematic human rights abuses such as the repression of peaceful protesters and opposition activists, political killings and the systematic use of torture in Kazakhstan’s places of detention;
  12. Calls on the European Commission to implement support measures directed to civil society in Kazakhstan, including financial grant schemes; encourages the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan to advance its engagement with local civil society by organizing systematic meetings and raising their recommendations during the official meetings with Kazakhstan’s government officials;
  13. Urges the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan to monitor ongoing human rights abuses and take a public stance towards the violations, and to provide assistance to victims of political prosecution and imprisoned activists by means of monitoring trials and arranging visits to the detainees;
  14. Congratulates President Tokayev with the signing of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 2 January 2021; encourages the President to officially abolish the death penalty in Kazakhstan;
  15. Calls on the European Commission, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to carry out a comprehensive review of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in the wake of the recent developments and the outcome of the trade policy review;
  16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the UN Human Rights Council and the Government and Parliament of Kazakhstan.


Ostatnia aktualizacja: 9 lutego 2021
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