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EU Lawmakers Call On Kazakhstan To 'Stop Political Repression'

Kazakh police detain protesters in Astana amid antigovernment rallies across the country last month.
Kazakh police detain protesters in Astana amid antigovernment rallies across the country last month.

BRUSSELS -- European lawmakers have adopted a resolution urging Kazakhstan to "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The text passed in the European Parliament on March 14 calls on the Kazakh authorities to "put an end to human rights abuses and all forms of political repression," noting that the number of political prisoners in the country has increased and the right to freedom of association remains largely restricted.

The resolution welcomes the early release from jail of opposition politician Vladimir Kozlov in 2016 and other political prisoners, but insists that "all activists and political prisoners currently in jail" should be fully rehabilitated and immediately released.

The text demands that Kazakh authorities end their crackdown on independent labor unions and lift restrictions on their activities.

"All forms of arbitrary detention, reprisals and harassment against human rights activists, civil society organizations, and political opposition movement" should stop, it adds.

The European Parliament also asked the EU diplomatic service to "proactively engage in trial observation missions, in order to monitor politically sensitive trials and politically motivated prosecutions and verify that the right to a fair trial applies to all."

The resolution says that the "multiethnic and multireligious character" of Kazakhstan calls for the need for "the protection of minorities and their rights, in particular with regard to the use of languages, freedom of religion or belief, non-discrimination, and equal opportunities."

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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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