Tag - Central Asia ( 21 )

News | “Kazakhstan should release rights defenders Bokayev and Ayan” – UN experts

Dec 06 2016

GENEVA / WARSAW – UN human rights experts* today called on Kazakhstan to immediately release human rights defenders Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan, who are currently in jail for organizing peaceful demonstrations. The two rights defenders were sentenced in November to five years in prison for ‘inciting social discord’, ‘disseminating information known to be false’, and ‘violating the procedure for holding assemblies’. They were also banned from engaging in public activities for three years after serving their sentences for their roles in organizing protests in April and May 2016 to oppose the proposed amendments to Kazakhstan’s land code. “Not only the legal process against Mr. Bokayev and Mr. Ayan raised serious questions about its fairness, but also the charges brought against them essentially criminalized their rights to peaceful assembly and free expression of dissenting views,” the experts said. “The rights defenders, Max and Talgat, should have never faced prosecution for exercising their rights,” they said. “Such prosecution, reportedly tainted with procedural and due process violations, runs counter to Kazakhstan’s international commitments on human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The experts further called the... Continue reading →

News | Kazakhstan: Special Rapporteur analyzes case of protester on trial for ‘unauthorized’ assembly

Oct 29 2016

GENEVA – Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has submitted a legal analysis in the case of Kazakhstan protester Max Bokayev, who is currently on trial for participating in an unauthorized assembly in April 2016. Bokayev, who heads the local NGO Arlan, stands charged under Kazakh domestic law of inciting social discord, distribution of knowingly false statements and violation of the procedure to organize and conduct meetings, rallies, pickets, marches and demonstrations. He is currently on trial in Altyrau City Court. The Special Rapporteur’s analysis was submitted to the Kazakh NGO Dignity – which is helping with Bokayev’s defense – though the Special Rapporteur has invited the organization to share the legal arguments with the Court “to facilitate a clear interpretation of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly as understood in international law, standards and principles as guaranteed under the constitution of Kazakhstan.” The Special Rapporteur was unable to submit a formal amicus curiae brief in the case due to time constraints. The analysis addresses five discrete areas of law relevant to the case: The application of international law in the courts of Kazakhstan; the sanctioning of peaceful participation in an unauthorized assembly; the imposition of sanctions for failure to... Continue reading →

News | UN expert deplores harsh sentencing of Tajikistan opposition leaders and warns of radicalization

Jun 07 2016

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today expressed his dismay at the lengthy sentences imposed on 2 June 2016 on the leadership of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). His appeal was endorsed by Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai. The deputy party heads, Saidumar Husaini and Muhammad Hayit were sentenced to life imprisonment. According to reports, eleven other high-ranking officials were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 2 to 28 years. “The harsh sentencing of multiple opposition leaders reflects the steady increase of restrictions on freedom of expression in Tajikistan,” Mr. Kaye said. “The crackdown on IRPT over the last year silenced one of the few opposition voices in the country, seriously compromising the prospects for public participation in Tajikistan’s political life.” “Authorities in Tajikistan refer to their concerns regarding the threats of extremism and terrorism while justifying their actions,” noted Kaye. “Yet, imposing such drastic and arbitrary measures against opposition and religious leaders is not only unacceptable but dangerous as it only helps to radicalize those pushed out of public debate.” The UN Special Rapporteur stressed that “stability can never be achieved... Continue reading →

News | UN human rights experts urge Kazakhstan to halt clampdown on land reform protesters

May 12 2016

GENEVA –  United Nations human rights experts, including Maina Kiai, today called on the Government of Kazakhstan to protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression after mass arrests, detention and criminal prosecutions following demonstrations over proposed land reforms across the country. Peaceful protests took place last week in six Kazakh cities in response to amendments adopted on the land law governing the rights of foreigners to rent agricultural land in the country. Protesters contend that the changes, which include an increase of such leases from 10 to 25 years, could facilitate the sale of land to the detriment of Kazakh citizens and landowners. “Arrests, detention and criminal prosecutions are being used to deter and punish those protesting and expressing their voices against the land law,” the UN experts noted. “The Government must immediately end all forms of persecution and take effective measures to protect civil society.” The UN experts were alarmed by criminal cases brought against some protestors and human rights defenders for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The criminal charges being used to target protestors and human rights defenders, include the ‘kindling of social discord’ under... Continue reading →

Report | Kazakhstan communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Kazakhstan by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Kazakhstan. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Kazakhstan, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint urgent appeal, 28/7/2011. Case no. KAZ 2/2011. State Reply: 17/9/2011. Alleged detention of human rights defender and trade unionist. Joint urgent appeal, 13/1/2012. Case no. KAZ 5/2011. State Reply: None to date. Allegations of widespread acts of violence and excessive use of force against protesters in... Continue reading →

Report | Turkmenistan communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Turkmenistan by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Turkmenistan. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Turkmenistan, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) None Second Report (March 16, 2012 to February 28, 2013) None Third Report (March 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014) None Fourth Report (March 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015) None Fifth Report (March 1, 2015 to February 28, 2016) None For the full reports, containing communications, replies and observations for all... Continue reading →

Report | Tajikistan communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Tajikistan by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Tajikistan. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Tajikistan, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) None Second Report (March 16, 2012 to February 28, 2013) Joint urgent appeal, 29/08/2012. Case no. TJK 3/2012. State Reply: 16/10/2012. Allegations of lack of procedural safeguards in the case against the Association of Young Lawyers of Tajikistan (Amparo). Joint urgent appeal, 20/11/2012. Case no. TJK 4/2012. State... Continue reading →

Report | Uzbekistan communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Uzbekistan by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Uzbekistan. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Uzbekistan, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint allegation letter, 31/01/2012. Case no. UZB 1/2012. State Reply: None to date. Allegations of acts of harassment and intimidation, of forcible and arbitrary removal of peaceful protesters, and violation of fair trial safeguards in the context of two peaceful assemblies held in Tashkent. Observations The Special... Continue reading →

News | New draft law threatens the independence and existence of NGOs in Kazakhstan, warns UN rights expert

Oct 15 2015

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, today warned that Kazakhstan’s Bill amending the Law on Non-profit organizations “may not only compromise the independence of associations, but challenge their very existence.” The draft law establishes an operator with the right to allocate both governmental and non-governmental grants, including grants from international organizations, diplomatic missions or international not-for-profit organizations, to non-governmental organizations. “The possibility for a centralized Government’s operator to distribute all grants irrespective of sources, be it public or private funds, enables the authorities to arbitrarily limit resources and to control the entire not-for-profit sector,” Mr. Kiai cautioned. “By controlling the sources of funds, the draft law would limit associations’ functional autonomy and put their independence and existence at serious risk.” “Access to financial resources is an integral and vital part of the right to freedom of association,” the expert underscored. The new legislative amendments were adopted by the Senate on 8 October 2015. The text would now be with the Lower House of the Parliament for its final consideration and it may be... Continue reading →

News | UN expert raises alarm as Kazakhstan jails twice a rights defender for convening a peaceful assembly

Sep 01 2015

GENEVA – United Nations human rights expert Maina Kiai today called on the Kazakhstan authorities to immediately release and drop all charges against civil society activist Ermek Narymbaev, and to end what appears to be the criminalization of peaceful protests. “Public dissent is a hallmark of a democracy and a confident state”, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association said, expressing concern at the arrest and detention - for the second time this year- of lawyer and human rights defender Ermek Narymbaev for his role in convening a peaceful assembly and denouncing corruption cases. “Civil society actors are key players in securing sustainable human rights protection. It is essential that they can operate freely, online as well as offline, Mr. Kiai said. During both of his trials in June and August 2015, Mr. Narymbaev was found guilty of ‘organizing an unauthorized public event’ in violation of the New Code on Administrative Offenses that regulates peaceful assemblies, rallies, marches, pickets and demonstrations. “The New Code contains provisions that are contrary to both Kazakhstan’s constitution and international human rights law that Kazakhstan has ratified”, Mr. Kiai stated. “I am also seriously concerned about Mr.... Continue reading →