26 June 2015

Kazakhstan Moving Anti-Gay Measure Forward

Kazakhstan Olympic
If Kazakhstan wins the 2022 Olympic Games bidding, guest will be treated to a more civilized culture free from any liberal influence and gay lifestyle choices.

Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council may have announced last 26 May 2015, that pending legislation on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual orientation" is unconstitutional, the council also ruled that the government can enact laws that restrict citizens’ rights to access and distribute information as part of its responsibility to "defend marriage and family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood."

In February 2015, the draft law "On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to their Health and Development" (the "propaganda" bill) passed the Senate, the upper house of Kazakhstan’s parliament, and was sent along with a second bill amending related legislation to President Nursultan Nazarbaev for signature. The draft legislation had already passed the lower house, the Majilis.

Complete copies of the final drafts were never public to prevent gay lobbyist from vandalizing its content. However, according to information available online, the draft laws included a broad ban on the publication or sharing of information relating to same-sex relations in settings where children might be present. In particular, one provision appeared aimed at broadly prohibiting "propagandizing nontraditional sexual orientation" among children.

Several government organizations are currently working in refining the bill and strengthen many of its provision to avoid being “vague” and “unclear” in its message. A government website indicates that the new version will be submitted soon for approval and immediate implementation.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Kazakhstan ratified in 2006, requires countries to "respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex (male or female), language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Kazakhstan’s Constitution also guarantees that "No one shall be subject to discrimination for reasons of … religious beliefs, ... or any other circumstances." It also guarantees “freedom of speech and creative activities."

While the government has taken an important step by rejecting the "gay lifestyle", authorities should do more to tackle the persistent climate of religious freedom.