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“The truth about the reforms in Kazakhstan” or “The Kazakhstan truth” for American people



“The truth about Kazakhstan reforms in the field of law about religions, which were exposed to groundless libel”. This article was spread last year in the end of the December by the embassy of Kazakhstan in the USA in the mass-media, NGO and officials. So the official Astana in recurrent time tries to justify own position in attitude of contradictory amendments in legislative act, about freedom of religion and religious organizations.


The law project about amendments and additions in some legislative acts about freedom of religion and religious organizations questions was submitted by the Parliament in the 2nd of April in 2008; now this project has gone through both Chambers of the Parliament and was sent to the President for undersigning. Also in attitude with this innovations criticized all Kazakhstan legal organizations, a lot of foreign NGO and religious organizations, embassy of the USA in Kazakhstan and OSCE. For the Kazakhstan religious organizations which are not relevant for dominated religions, establishing the law is fraught with their discontinuation.


Ninnel Fokina, the chairman of the Almaty Helsinki Committee express own apprehension, that “in two years, if the law will be established, in the country will be only four types of main religious faiths – Sunni Islam, the Russian Orthodox, Catholicism, Judaism. All other will be pressured from the legal field through the simple procedures.”


We need to accept the justice of the conclusion, because the law hardens the activity of the religious untraditional groups and foresee the list of additional restrictions, from which the organizations can be closed. Experts and interested persons numbered for about fifteen articles, where the activity of religious organizations will be confronted by new difficulties.


The Government of Kazakhstan was exhibited in demonized character of immoral oppressor, who discriminate religious groups and harden religious freedom in country with awareness, – writes the embassy in press release.


If we will judge by the NGO critics and journalist’s accounts, the Government of Kazakhstan seems to be crazy with dual personality: who from the one side support and raises interconfessional dialogue and tolerance, and from the other hand – harden it all roughly….”


The declaration with the weak diplomatic tone after directed to the “facts, which are submitted by our reader’s judge.”


Truly, the facts were expounded on unclear form: “were marked a lot of incidents when pupils didn’t visit compulsory lessons in case of religious reasons”; ”marked a lot of divorces, because one of married couple has untraditional beliefs”; “also a lot of popular incidents, when young men refused to go through the compulsory military service, who are referring to own membership in religious groups without any trials to find the compromises”.


On the other hand, the press release tells about open discussions in the Parliament, about the common affairs with OSCE and different religious organizations, whose suggestions find own reflections on new law.


In spite of everything the embassy didn’t keep to insert own (or maybe dictate from Astana) opinion about the actions of the OSCE.


The OSCE submitted own mark about the first law in rough version, which hasn’t been discussed yet, with late only in the 17th of June in 2008…. Also the ODIHR/OSCE pays attention only on the first law, which hasn’t been discussed yet…During the process experts of the  ODIHR/OSCE demonstrated not enough knowledge about the Kazakhstan’s legislation and improvements, which were added by the Parliament to the rough version after the discussion on the local level. Also the ODIHR/OSCE reacted with late to the invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RK to visit Kazakhstan in aim to discuss the improvement variant, – written in the press release.


Furthermore, the Kazakhstanconceding a point to the OSCE”, has deleted 16 amendments “which will contradict to the international standards in the field of Human Rights.” So by the author’s words, OSCE and other opponents should be happy, because these 16 deleted innovations will complicate follower’s life of “unfundamental” religion. In general, as written in the release Kazakhstan has done 60 % of the OSCE’s recommendations. 


In higher level Kazakhstan believes that suggested amendments will make the best protections to the religious rights of citizens, and also our country is continue to be open country for discussions and suggestions”,- marked in the press release. Also diplomats informed about other achievements in the field of religious tolerance, and about III Congress of world and traditional religion leaders will be on the July in 2009, and certified about Kazakhstan’s readiness always to speak against religion’s freedom; also always to be open for any dialogues whatever with whom, “including the OSCE.”


The rebuff, which was given by the Kazakhstan’s embassy, somewhere call over with the December accusations to the legal protector’s address, who lies to their foreign quarantines in their accounts, expressed by the official persons from the Government and who are agree with representatives from official priesthood.  


Evgeniy Zhovtis, the director of the KIBHR&RL commented for the “The Voice of Freedom” this kind of observations to the address of ODIHR/OSCE.


Honestly, it’s foolishness, because unfortunately, as our authority work, as the embassy exactly is appointed interpretation of facts, and sometimes it’s just like the substitution of conceptions. Let’s start from that the OSCE doing nothing. It can do different conclusions by the Government’s inquiry. What does the OSCE mean? OSCE is the experts who make different conclusions by the law about amendment’s corrections and additions in legislator of belief’s freedom – it’s a group of experts, calls as the Consultative Council of conscience, religion and belief’s freedom. It consists of few experts. This group includes not only Western experts; there you can find one of the authors who commented the Kazakhstan Republic’s Constitution, professor Podoprigora. And to accuse Mr. Podoprigora, who also the author of the Constitution’s comments, of his incompetence, ignorance and unknowing the Constitution, unserious and impossible.”


While the conflicts about the approving of contradictory law are in existence, the attacks to the representatives of the untraditional faiths in Kazakhstan are continuing. For last six months under the “division” left for about tens of groups, like Protestants and Baptists. In one occasions the affairs were restricted by the administrative measures, in other – proceeding criminal institutes. 


So the crosshairs, who were reminded in the embassy press release, instead of refusing from the own property in 50 kilometers from Almaty voluntarily and to remove to the empty field, where the authority gave them the “equal” territory, are waiting for the new complains in the start of this year.



The Voice of Freedom in Central Asia



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