Nationwide protests rocked Kazakhstan earlier this year, starting with an anti-inflation demo in the western town of Zhanaozen on 2 January. The wave of action spread across the country, including in the country’s urban centres in the east and south – and their effects, for the elite and regular people, are still being felt today. Strikes at large private and national enterprises were key components of the grassroots initial protest in January, as workers demanded improved conditions and higher salaries. Ten years prior, another worker strike in Zhanaozen had culminated in security forces opening fire against protesters, leaving at least 16 dead.
Astana. July 19. KazTAG - The government has apologized to well-known Kazakhstani journalists Seitkazy and Aset Matayev, who had been illegally convicted.
ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan -- Hundreds of residents of Kazakhstan’s restive town of Zhanaozen have rallied for several days to demand jobs after deadly anti-government protests that shook the country last month. The protesters gathered in front of the town’s administration on February 7, the sixth day of their rallies, saying that 2,500 men and women demand jobs in the local oil industry from the local and central government.
The Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR) and its member organizations have watched the recent events in Kazakhstan with great pain and anxiety. The KTR has for many years been involved in the campaign to build an independent trade union movement in Kazakhstan and to promote and enforce labour and trade union laws that would benefit Kazakhstani workers. The KTR’s long engagement and cooperation with dozens of trade union organizations and thousands of activists in Kazakhstan have shown us that the processes underway there have a direct bearing on progress in labour relations not only in Russia, but also throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The main goal of the Human Rights Alliance will be to facilitate honest and impartial identification of the timeline and course of protests; to analyze law enforcement actions as well as actions of various groups of protesters, reasons behind peaceful protest turning into violent riots; to ensure respect for fundamental rights during investigation and that all the standards of fair trial are in place; to prevent torture and ill-treatment, to guarantee accountability of perpetrators for committed crimes and offences, to guarantee fair and just prosecution of perpetrators and exoneration of innocent individuals; to clearly distinguish peaceful protesters, including political opposition members and civic activists, from those who committed acts of violence.
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia analyzed the events that took place in Kazakhstan in the first days of 2022. The statement of the largest trade union center of Russia, posted on the official website of the organization, expresses sympathy for the Kazakh people. “The FNPR expresses sympathy for the fraternal Kazakh people, mourns with them for the victims of the riots. We support the statements of the Kazakh trade unions, which give their assessment of what happened. But at the same time, we in Russia must draw important and hard-hitting conclusions for ourselves. Benefits for employees! Rights for trade unions! Strength to the country!” the document says.
Nearly 8,000 people have been detained and more than 160 people have been killed following mass protests triggered by a doubling of gas prices in Kazakhstan. The violent response yet again stresses the need for democracy and recognition and respect for fundamental human and workers’ rights in the country.
The ITUC deplores the killing of more than 160 people in the recent violence in Kazakhstan and calls for a full, open and public inquiry into the circumstances of all the deaths, as well as the damage to public and private property.
On 8 January, people in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, woke up with a slow but steady internet connection. Like their fellow countrymen, they had been sealed off from internet communications for almost three days, as the emergency in the Central Asian state worsened. In the business capital, Almaty, violent clashes had set the city ablaze for three days and internet connection continued to be down. Only subscribers to certain mobile operators could be reached in other cities in Kazakhstan and abroad, keeping residents and observers in a frightening state of blackout broken only by gunshots and sirens.
16 December marks the ten-year anniversary of the tragedy in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, where police opened fire on protestors, killing 17 and injuring more than 100 workers. The violence ended a seven-month long strike, involving more than 3,000 workers demanding a wage increase.