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Kazakhstan: Torture goes unpunished


The World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) and our partners, the Coalition against Torture of Kazakhstan and International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), have submitted an alternative report to the United Nations Committee against Torture on the situation of torture and ill-treatment in Kazakhstan.

Despite some legislative developments introduced since the Committee’s last review of Kazakhstan in 2014, serious gaps remain in the implementation of the Convention against Torture.

One of the main concerns is the lack of effective investigation and accountability for torture at the national level. This was illustrated by the events of January 2022, when the crackdown on protesters resulted in the deaths of at least 238 people (according to official estimates) and the torture of hundreds, if not thousands, of others. More than a year after these massive human rights violations, the government has failed to conduct impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment. Most attempts to investigate have been terminated prematurely, with the authorities claiming that they had found no evidence of a crime.

The report also describes the following systematic issues:

  • Absence of criminalisation of torture and ill-treatment in the national legislation in accordance with international treaties;
  • Systematic violations of legal safeguards against torture;
  • Poor conditions of detention and problems related to the filing of confidential complaints by prisoners;
  • Lack of comprehensive rehabilitation and redress measures;
  • Difficulties in the functioning of the national preventive mechanism;
  • Police kettling tactics in relation to demonstrations.

The full report is available here in English