In the wake of new repressions and human rights violations, on May 22, 2018, more than 200 people, including several civil activists, representatives of local NGOs and human rights defenders, have signed an appeal addressed to the President of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Tajani, and the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini.
In the appeal – published by the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law and Tirek.info – human rights defenders voiced their concerns over the ongoing violations of the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and protection from arbitrary arrest, perpetrated by the authorities. Signatories are sincerely worried by these tendencies, which have “de facto destroyed its citizens’ right to participate in the country’s social and political life”.
The letter makes reference to the latest example of mass detentions occurred on May 10, 2018, during the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee between the EP delegation and the representatives of the Kazakhstani government, held in the framework of the recently ratified Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA). During demonstrations, "citizens gathered for a protest action in eight cities of Kazakhstan, demanding that political prisoners be freed and an independent and impartial investigation be conducted into alleged tortures”, with the aim of drawing the EP’s delegation attention to these issues.
The protests, initiated by the recently banned opposition movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK), were of a peaceful nature, which was nevertheless confronted with brute force by the police. Moreover, the European delegation was not responsive to demonstrations, leaving the appeals and questions of protesters unanswered.
Civil activists stated their discontent “the MEP mission of May 10–11, 2018 not only failed to meet civil representatives, but also never publicly expressed its attitude to the actions of the Kazakhstani authorities, such as the dispersal of peaceful protests, political persecution, arrests and torture. By their silent consent the MEPs expressed support for Kazakhstani authoritarian government, which was a source of great disappointment to us”.
Freedom of assembly and expression are at serious risk in the country, as demonstrated by the many criminal proceedings that were initiated against peaceful protesters taking part in the street demonstrations.
Please find in the attachments the documents proving such criminal proceedings, in the original language (RU) and English translation.