LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe call on Kazakhstan regarding recent attacks on Feminita

ILGA-Europe condemn the recent attacks on feminist activists, Zhanar Sekerbayeva and Gulzada Serzhan – co-founders of Feminita initiative group. We call upon the Government of Kazakhstan to take immediate actions to objectively and transparently investigate the attacks, and to hold the perpetrators accountable, including the law enforcement officials who failed to take actions to protect the activists.

On May 29, Zhanar and Gulzada were violently attacked by a group of 30 men in Shymkent city in the south of Kazakhstan as they were trying to organise an event on women’s rights for a group of local women. A number of men came to the venue chanting religious calls and homophobic slurs. They beat Zhanar and attacked Gulzada, destroying her possessions. The police who were called for help, sided with the men instead of protecting the victims.

The police dragged Zhanar and Gulzada into a police car and took them to a police station where they were illegally detained. Their attackers were neither arrested nor detained.  

The Constitution of Kazakhstan guarantees that ‘everyone shall be equal’, ‘human dignity shall be inviolable’, ‘no one should be subjected to violence’, ‘no one shall be subject to any discrimination’. Kazakhstan also recognises that ‘provisions of international agreements and other commitments shall be the functioning law in Kazakhstan’, ‘international agreements ratified by Kazakhstan have primacy over its laws’, and ‘Kazakhstan shall respect principles and norms of international law’.

We call upon the Government of Kazakhstan to live up to their national and international commitments and ensure that LGBT+ people and organisations have safe and enabling environment to exercise their rights to freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and the right to access information. We remind Kazakhstan, as a UN member state, that in the latest Universal Periodic Review, it officially accepted Chile’s recommendation to ‘Guarantee an enabling environment for the civil society activities, activist groups and human rights defenders of LGBTI persons’.

We call upon the Government of Kazakhstan to start decisive measures to investigate and punish those who spread bias-motivated speech and instigate hatred against LGBT+ people, feminists, and human rights defenders in Kazakhstan.

We urge the Government of Kazakhstan to ensure that police forces are adequately trained and capacitated to provide effective protection of citizens, including LGBT+ people, civil society organisations and human rights defenders to exercise their rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of association and right to access information.

We call upon the Government of Kazakhstan to quickly put forward draft anti-discrimination legislation to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and on the Parliament of Kazakhstan to adopt this legislation. The lack of legal protection against discrimination, as well as implementation practices, means that LGBT+ people continue to be discriminated against by public and private services providers, which limits citizens to freely exercise their social, economic, civil and political rights, as has been the case on numerous occasions in Kazakhstan.

  • Find out more about Feminita, here.
  • Read more about Kazakhstan in our Annual Review