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Rights Groups Urge Kazakh Parliament To Nix NGO Laws

Washington, 10 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S.-based NGO Freedom House has made public a letter from a number of human rights and democracy-building organizations to the chairman of Kazakhstan's parliament about two draft laws on NGOs.

The letter was made public in a press release yesterday.

Arguing that the draft laws "do not follow recognized international legal standards and best practices," the letter urged the chairman to dismiss them.

The two draft laws would introduce additional registration requirements and other constraints on the activities of international and foreign NGOs in Kazakhstan.

The letter concluded that "the draft laws in their entirety are so flawed that they cannot be fixed" and asserted that they "will cut off much-needed assistance to Kazakhstan."

Signatories to the appeal include the heads of Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, and Open Society Institute, among others.