United Nations human rights experts have called on Kazakh authorities to stop the detention and criminal prosecutions of activists who publicly protested the government's plans to privatize agricultural land.
Hundreds of Kazakhs have taken to the streets in several cities over the last two weeks in a rare show of public dissent against the government.
Some of the protesters have been charged with inciting public discord.
In a statement on May 12, the UN experts called on the Kazakh government to "immediately end all forms of persecution and take effective measures to protect civil society."
The protesters rallied against a plan for the large-scale privatization of farmland that would allow foreigners to lease local plots for up to 25 years.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev on May 5 had to impose a moratorium until 2017 on plans to privatize state-owned agricultural land.