Kazakhstan: as 2015 draws to a close, rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association remain under threat.
In October 2014, Kazakhstan’s human rights record came under scrutiny as it submitted its second report under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism. Many of the recommendations made to Kazakhstan following the UPR concerned lifting restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of peaceful assembly. These included recommendations that Kazakhstan stated had already been implemented, such as: ensuring the independence of the media and protecting the rights of human rights defenders and journalists to freedom of expression; enhancing efforts to protect freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly; and ending the practice of closing, suspending, or blocking opposition print and online publications. Far from having implemented these recommendations, the situation in regard to rights to freedom of expression and association in Kazakhstan has deteriorated in 2015.