Political reforms promised by Kazakhstan’s President Kasym-Jomart Tokaev since he came to power in 2019 have not led to meaningful improvements in the country’s poor human rights record. Free speech is suppressed and a new peaceful assemblies law, touted by authorities as progressive reform, continues to restrict the right to peaceful protest. Kazakh authorities have used politically motivated prosecutions to silence government critics, including on the vague and overbroad charge of “inciting discord,” and banned political opposition groups as “extremist.” Long-promised amendments to the Trade Union Law were adopted in May 2020, but independent trade unions face harassment and interference. Impunity for torture and ill-treatment persists. Kazakhstan has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but children with disabilities are largely denied a quality, inclusive education.

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