Target: President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Goal: End the state of emergency in Kazakhstan and improve human rights in the country
The government of Kazakhstan should immediately annul legislation that imposes severe restrictions on freedom of speech during a so-called “state of emergency.” The government must also amend regulations that dictate when a state of emergency can be declared. Under a new law, which went into effect in early April, Kazakh security forces can act with very little oversight from the judicial branch. Under this state of emergency law, the government can terminate or suspend media publications, political parties and public meetings. It can also bring charges against individuals who record audio or video when they were told not to. This new law severely limits the human rights of the Kazakh people and should be widely condemned in the international community.
This is hardly the first time that the Kazakh government has limited human rights. This crackdown follows an outbreak of violence in the western Kazakh city of Zhanaozen, where police opened fire on oil workers who were on strike. Since then, numerous political and social justice figures in the opposition government have been imprisoned. The government has also closed independent and opposition newspapers in an attempt to control the story and quell unrest. While governments may limit some actions during states of emergency, these acts over the last number of years have violated Kazakhstan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a party.
Rights restrictions during states of emergency must be proved to be necessary and must be subject to judicial review. The government in Kazakhstan has not allowed for either of those to happen. These restrictions on free speech and assembly have no place in Kazakhstan, even in times of a real emergency. The people have the right to access information and to protest the wrongs committed by their government. Sign this petition to demand an end to the Kazakh government’s crackdown on human rights.
Dear President Nursultan Nazarbayev,
The recent crackdown on human rights in your country is unacceptable. The people of Kazakhstan deserve to be able to access information however they please. The closing of independent and opposition newspapers, and the jailing of prominent opposition political leaders, is a violation of numerous international treaties to which your government is a signatory.
I ask that you immediately and unconditionally end the state of emergency in your country so that human rights may be guaranteed. The international community will have no choice but to impose sanctions against your government if this deterioration of rights continues. I demand that human rights be respected in your country at all times.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Serouj via Wikipedia Commons