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Stagnant Human Rights Situation in Kazakhstan


The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State has published its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on the Republic Kazakhstan for the year of 2023. This report covers internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.  

In the aftermath of the tumultuous events of Bloody January in 2022, the subsequent year, 2023, continued to witness significant developments in the realm of human rights within Kazakhstan. Numerous individuals grappled with the enduring repercussions stemming from these events, contributing to a year marked by notable challenges and ongoing efforts to address human rights issues. Across all spheres of society, issues regarding torture, prison conditions, restrictions on civil liberties, workers’ rights and more have displayed stagnation in their development, with few improvements. One of the only credible improvements was the identification and punishment of authority officials that may have committed human rights abuses; some associated with the 2022 protests. Nevertheless, it remains evident that such actions, albeit commendable, fall short of addressing the broader spectrum of human rights concerns within the nation. 

This report compiled by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the U.S. Department of State, provides an overview of the human rights situation in Kazakhstan for the year 2023. It highlights persistent issues such as torture, harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrests, lack of judicial independence, restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, and government corruption.  

Despite some steps taken to address human rights abuses, significant challenges remain, including transnational repression and interference with privacy rights. The report underscores concerns raised by domestic and international human rights organizations regarding systemic issues within the Kazakh government’s treatment of its citizens. It also highlights the current state of civil liberties, covering aspects such as freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and more. Concluding that these civil liberties are generally highly restricted. The report continues by outlining the legal framework and its limitations regarding the Freedom to Participate in the Political Process, and workers’ rights in Kazakhstan. Overall, the report finds that there were no significant changes in the human rights situation in Kazakhstan over the year. 

Read the full report here: 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kazakhstan (bureau.kz) and  US State Department