MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Human rights situation in Kazakhstan
9.2.2021 - (2021/2544(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure
Michael Gahler, Róża Thun und Hohenstein, Sandra Kalniete, Antonio López‑Istúriz White, Miriam Lexmann, Janina Ochojska, Isabel Wiseler‑Lima, Tomáš Zdechovský, Vladimír Bilčík, Inese Vaidere, Vangelis Meimarakis, Michaela Šojdrová, Tomas Tobé, Christian Sagartz, Loránt Vincze, Magdalena Adamowicz, Ivan Štefanec, Eva Maydell, Luděk Niedermayer, Lefteris Christoforou, Jiří Pospíšil, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Stanislav Polčák, Krzysztof Hetman, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Maria Walsh, Seán Kelly, Peter Pollák, Romana Tomc
on behalf of the PPE Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0144/2021
European Parliament resolution on Human rights situation in Kazakhstan
The European Parliament,
- having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan and its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan, including those of 18 April 2013 and 15 March 2012 , and that of 17 September 2009;
- having regard to the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) signed in Astana on 21 December 2015;
- having regard to the Council conclusions on a new EU strategy on Central Asia adopted on 17 June 2019;
- having regard to the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council meeting of 20 January 2020;
- having regard EEAS statements on parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan from 11 January 2021 and increasing pressure on human rights NGOs form 1 February 2020;
A. Whereas the Parliamentary elections that took place on 10 January 2021 has been described by the EEAS as a missed opportunity to demonstrate efficient implementation of political reforms and modernisation process since the last elections, while long-standing recommendations from the OSCE/ODIHR on several issues remain unaddressed.
B. Whereas systemic shortcomings in relation to respect for freedom of association, of assembly and of expression continue to restrict the political landscape and the lack of genuine political competition and political opposition groups, with no new parties registered since 2013, left voters with no genuine choice.
C. Whereas prior and during the elections the authorities took practical as well as legislative measures preventing some independent election observers from effective monitoring the election process, carried out preventive arrest as well as detained peaceful demonstrators on the election day.
D. whereas during the election campaign and on the election day, the Kazakh authorities attempted to tighten internet censorship control, repeatedly shutting down the Internet and forcing citizens to install a “national security certificate” allowing for the interception of encrypted web traffic.
E. Whereas from February to November 2020, five opposition activists were killed in uninvestigated circumstances as a result of continuous political persecution for their opposition activities, namely blogger and torture victim Dulat Agadil, his 17-year old son and a a key witness of his father’s arbitrary arrest Zhanbolat Agadil, Amanbike Khairolla, Serik Orazov and Garifulla Embergenov; whereas the authorities have failed to carry out thorough transparent investigations into these political killings, reiterates the importance of bringing those responsible who ordered and executed such crimes and refrainining from persecuting civil society activists and family members seeking the truth for victims; whereas Dametkan Aspandiyarova, a mother of three children, is currently under house arrest and faces up to 12 years in prison under extremism charges for organising a fundraising action in support of Dulat Agadil’s family.
F. whereas in Kazakhstan’s prisons the use of torture and ill-treatment has been prevalent, with at least 200 cases of incidents of torture being reported every year by “The Coalition Against Torture; whereas perpetrators of such abuses have enjoyed impunity while human rights defender Elena Semenova has been sued by prison colonies for exposing the use of torture in the Kazakh penitentiary system on social media.
G. Whereas recently several independent human rights NGOs including ECHO, Erkindik Kanaty, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, International Legal Legislative have been heavily fined and ordered to suspend their work for at least three months as of 25 January 2020, on the basis of unclear legal grounds; whereas, in retaliation for performing watchdog activities, the authorities harass and even criminally prosecute human rights defenders with the list including Sholpan Dzhanzakova, Anna Shukeyeva, Aizhan Izmakova, Daniyar Khassenov, Altynai Tuksikova, Dana Zhanay, Nazym Serikpekova, Alma Nurusheva, Abaibek Sultanov, Zukhra Nariman, Ulbolsyn Turdiyeva, Aliya Zhakupova, Roza Musayeva and Barlyk Mendygaziyev;
H. Whereas in 2020 112 individuals, 3 charities and one commercial company have been convicted for their exercise of freedom of religion or believe.
I. Whereas on 21 January 2021 two ethnic Kazakhs Murager Alimuly and Kaisha Akankyzy, who have fled China fearing imprisonment in concentration camps were subsequently beaten and stabbed by unknown assailants.
J. Whereas the new EU strategy on Central Asia puts, among others, a strong emphasis on the EU’s engagement with Central Asia in the promotion and protection of the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association and expression, and of enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.
K. Whereas the main national opposition newspapers were all banned in 2016 and independent journalists continue to face harassment; whereas the authorities brought criminal charges against the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper “Uralskaya Nedelya”, Lukpan Akhmediyarov, for his reporting on corrupt dealing of local elite and physically assaulted and detained numerous times Saniya Toiken, a journalist with the RFE/RL Kazakh service, for her coverage of peaceful rallies and the 2021 parliamentary elections.
L. Whereas the Kazakhstani authorities abused international criminal cooperation mechanisms, including INTERPOL Red Notices and Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA), to prosecute and cease all documents of political refugee in Belgium, lawyer and human rights defender Bota Jardemalie; whereas on 29 September 2020 the National Asylum Court of France granted political asylum to the DCK founder, Mukhtar Ablyazov, noting the systemic and political nature of Kazakhstan’s repressive apparatus and misuse the civil and criminal proceedings brought against Ablyazov in the country and in other foreign jurisdictions; whereas Mukhtar Ablyazov was sentenced by a Kazakhstani court to life imprisonment in absentia in violation of the right to defence.
1. Urges the government of Kazakhstan to act in accordance with its international obligations, respect human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in Articles 1, 4, 5 and 235 of the EPCA; Calls on the authorities of Kazakhstan to stand by international standards in respect to the legal framework for holding elections and address the recommendations of the ODIHR LEOM, including those concerning constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms, civil society participation, political pluralism, impartiality of election administration; eligibility to vote and stand for elections, voter registration, the media and publication of election results.
2. Calls on the government of Kazakhstan to end all forms of arbitrary detention, reprisals and harassment against human rights activists, religious organisation, civil society organisations and political opposition movements and to allow people to freely express their political, religious and other views.
3. Condemns the abuse of anti-extremism legislation against supporters of the peaceful opposition movements DCK and the “Koshe Partiyasy”, and urges the authorities to permit political pluralism and competition; urges the government of Kazakhstan to implement the recommendations of the European Parliament, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemning the arbitrary application of anti-extremism laws.
4. Welcomes the Kazakh authorities’ decision to cancel fines and allow NGOs to resume activities, as announced on 3 February 2021. Reaffirms its strong believe that persecuting independent NGOs with unjustified tax inspections and harass human rights defenders and movements like Bostandyq Kz, Femina Virtute and Veritas, as well as civil society activists by means of administrative arrests and fines or criminal prosecutions obstruct not only reform efforts already taken by the authorities but are as well detrimental to the international reputation of Kazakhstan.
5. Urges the government of Kazakhstan to fully rehabilitate and immediately release all 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, as well as to lift without delay the measure of pre-trial detention and house arrest, and restriction of liberty applied against civil society and opposition activists, social media users and peaceful protesters;
6. Deplores the worrying state of media freedom in the country and calls on the government of Kazakhstan to provide a free and safe environment for independent journalists;
7. Welcomes the steps undertaken by the government of Kazakhstan to close the politically motivated cases against human rights defenders, Daniyar Khassenov and Abaibek Sultanov but is concerned about the fabrication of a new criminal case on “extremism” charges against the latter. Calls on the government of Kazakhstan to lift all politically motivated charges against philanthropist Barlyk Mendygaziyev and put an end to the politically motivated persecution of his family members and former associates.
8. Expresses deep concern over the physical attacks against two ethnic Kazakhs, who fled China to escape Xinjiang concentration camps; urges the government of Kazakhstan to guarantee them with permanent refugee status and ensure the safety of ethnic Kazakhs and other minorities persecuted by the Chinese authorities for their ethnicity or religious beliefs;
9 . Condemns Kazakhstan’s practice of misuse of criminal cooperation mechanisms such as INTERPOL’s system and Mutual Legal Assistance requests to track down and silence political refugees; calls on Kazakhstan government to discontinue this practice;
10. Calls on the EU to take additional measures to provide support to Kazakhstani civil society through the European Commission, including but not limited to expanding financial grants schemes to civil society organizations;
11. Recalls the recently approved EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, a regime which enables the EU to target perpetrators of serious human rights abuses worldwide, as in the case of Kazakhstan, targeting individuals, entities and bodies involved in or associated with widespread and systematic human rights violations; calls on the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and EU Member States to consider imposing personal sanctions on individuals responsible for political killings, torture, large-scale persecution of participants in peaceful protests and regime critics in the country.
12. 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 EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the government and the parliament of Kazakhstan.