The Kazakhstan authorities’ attempt to have an independent trade union’s operations suspended is a violation of workers’ fundamental rights to organize and associate, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 1, 2021, a Shymkent court is scheduled to resume consideration of the Shymkent City Administration’s lawsuit against the Industrial Trade Union of Fuel and Energy Workers (ITUFEW) claiming violations of Kazakhstan’s trade union law. “The improvements to the trade union law are nothing but lip service if Kazakh authorities are still trying to paralyze independent trade unions in practice,” Rittmann said. “The Shymkent City Administration should immediately withdraw its claim against ITUFEW, and the authorities should create an environment in which trade unions can work without fear.”
The operations at two human rights organizations in Kazakhstan have been suspended and they may face closure amid a crackdown on rights groups in the Central Asian state. The head of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule Of Law (KMBPCh), Yevgeny Zhovtis, told RFE/RL that tax officials in Almaty ruled on January 25 to suspend the group's activities for three months and ordered it to pay 2 million tenges ($4,700) in fines, citing "financial irregularities."
The Specialised Inter-District Economic Court of the City of Shymkent has received a claim seeking a court order to suspend the activities of the Sectoral Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union. The claim was filed by the Akimat (the municipal authorities) of Shymkent following a representation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Eight years after the infamous massacre of striking oil workers and their supporters at Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan, human rights defenders in the oil-rich republic are still seeking answers. How many victims were there, on top of the 16 dead and nearly 100 wounded acknowledged by the authorities? Who gave the order to open fire? What was the role of agents provocateurs? And Kazakhstan’s beleaguered trade union movement continues to count the cost of the killings – which brought to an end an eight-month strike, the longest and largest in the country’s history, and heralded a crackdown on all forms of opposition.
In anticipation of International Migrants Day on December 18, ADC Memorial, Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan, and the International Legal Initiative welcome recommendations to improve implementation of international treaties and realize fundamental human rights that Kazakhstan received as part of the Universal Periodic Review. Members of international delegations devoted special attention to the spheres of employment and migration, which are both important for the country since, as a receiving country, Kazakhstan has almost one million migrants (approximately seven percent of the population) who regularly face violation of their rights in various areas of life and have fallen victim to various forms of exploitation and human trafficking.
The ITUC is calling for the release of Erlan Baltabay, a leader of the Independent Oil and Energy Workers’ Union in Kazakhstan, who has been returned to prison to serve a new 5-month term. Baltabay was released from prison in August, following a special decree by Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, that he be released on humanitarian grounds.
Following a wave of antigovernment protests across Kazakhstan earlier this month, activists from the volatile city of Zhanaozen say authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent them from attending another rally.
The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym Tokayev issued a decree on the evening of August 9th pardoning trade union leader Erlan Baltabay, leader of the Fuel and Energy Workers' Union and vice-president of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (KNPRK), from custody. Baltabay was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on July 17, 2019, on embezzlement charges that the international labor movement condemned as being politically motivated. His sentence also included a prohibition on trade union activities for an additional seven years after his jail term
IndustriALL Global Union is calling for the immediate release of Kazakh trade union leader, Erlan Baltabay, after he was sentenced to seven years in prison by a Kazakh court on 17 July.
The ITUC has harshly condemned the sentencing of Kazakhstan trade union leader Erlan Baltabay. Efforts to improve freedom of association for working people are once again jeopardised; but the country’s new leadership could still intervene.