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The protection of fundamental rights in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Update on developments in early July-early October 2014


A new
report based on monitoring conducted by Kazakhstan International Bureau for
Human Rights and Rule of Law, Nota Bene (Tajikistan) and Turkmen Initiative for
Human Rights (based in exile in Austria) provides an overview of human rights
developments in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in early July-early
October 2014. The report addresses issues related to freedom of expression,
freedom of assembly and association, equality before the law and
non-discrimination, as well as access to justice. International Partnership for
Human Rights (Belgium) has assisted with compiling and editing the report, as
part of a joint project implemented by the four organizations.


are some of the major developments covered by the report:



  • Access to well-known news websites was
    blocked after they provided coverage of what was believed to have been an
    inter-ethnic brawl in southern Kazakhstan at the end of August.

  • Lawyer and human rights defender Yevgeniy Tankov was sentenced to three years in prison
    for waving a plastic fly swatter against a judge in the courtroom.

  • Mortgage holders were detained, warned
    and fined for peacefully calling for their interest payments to be written off,
    while a journalist who filmed the dispersal of a peaceful protest was locked up
    for 15 days.

  • The publication on social media of a
    poster showing
    Russian writer Alexander
    Puskin and Kazakh composer Kurmangazy
    Sagyrbayuly kissing was followed not only by lawsuits against the
    agency designing it, but also an anti-LGBT campaign, including an appeal to
    adopt a law banning “propaganda of LGBT people.”




  • Top Muslim clerics issued a
    controversial fatwa that declared it a “great sin” to “agitate” against the
    authorities or cooperate with organizations, political parties and media intent
    on “destabilizing” society.

  • In early October, hundreds of websites
    were suddenly blocked, including social media and news sites. As usual, the
    government’s Communications Service denied all responsibility for this.

  • Online calls for holding an
    anti-government protest in Dushanbe on 10 October put the authorities on their
    heels: a full-scale rehearsal of a protest dispersal was held at the capital’s
    main square and the exiled opposition group behind the calls was banned as

  • Lawyer
    Kudratov, who has represented an imprisoned opposition figure and spoken out on
    the role of the authorities in this case,
    was arrested on
    charges of bribing a judge. 



  • While a new Agrarian political party was
    founded, this did little to enhance true political pluralism as it happened
    under close control by the president and the party head is a known loyalist of

  • A new, rare public protest took place in
    Ashgabat when residents refused to let
    authorities go ahead with a campaign to remove air conditioners from
    their houses in the midst of sweltering summer

  • Authorities
    continued to mass-mobilize citizens for lengthy, official festivities aimed at
    demonstrating the glory of the nation and praising its leader, not sparing
    those who were fasting during the Ramadan.

  • Apparently because of a lack of
    conscripts to send to the Turkmen-Afghan border, the government mulled plans to
    force high school students to graduate before they had completed their studies
    under the new 12-year program introduced last year.


full report is available here.

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