The persecution of independent trade unions continues in the Republic of Kazakhstan. On February 5, 2021, by decision of Judge Kasharbekova A.U. of the Specialised Inter-District Economic Court of the City of Shymkent, the activities of the Sectoral Union of Fuel and Energy Workers were suspended for a period of six months. The Court decision has been appealed, yet high-ranking State officials speak of its coming into force even before the appeal was examined. This is the position explicitly expressed in a letter to the workers of Oil Construction Company, Ltd. dated February 10, 2021, signed by Akmadi Sorbasov, First Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Meridian Petroleum president Baltabek Kuandykov described the discovery of the field as “a truly historic event for our country.” Mangystau governor Serikbai Trumov said the field would “give a powerful impetus to the social and economic development of the region and create new jobs.”
Dialogue is preferred to confrontation, although salary imbalances are still strong. The year has started uncomfortably for Kazakhstan’s mining and oil companies as workers become more vocal in their demands for higher salaries.
Kazakh authorities continue to put pressure on independent trade unions. Below you can find a letter send by ITUC and IndustriAll global to the President of Republic of Kazakhstan Mr Tokayev and invitation to support Labourstart campaign.
Between 15 and 25 January 2021, the Kazakh tax authorities ordered a three month suspension on the operation and activities of three human rights organisations: Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, The International Legal Initiative Foundation and the public association Echo. The tax authorities also imposed fines on the three aforementioned organisations as well as another human rights organisation, Erkindik Kanaty, for alleged violations in reporting of foreign funds.
The Kazakhstan authorities’ attempt to have an independent trade union’s operations suspended is a violation of workers’ fundamental rights to organize and associate, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 1, 2021, a Shymkent court is scheduled to resume consideration of the Shymkent City Administration’s lawsuit against the Industrial Trade Union of Fuel and Energy Workers (ITUFEW) claiming violations of Kazakhstan’s trade union law. “The improvements to the trade union law are nothing but lip service if Kazakh authorities are still trying to paralyze independent trade unions in practice,” Rittmann said. “The Shymkent City Administration should immediately withdraw its claim against ITUFEW, and the authorities should create an environment in which trade unions can work without fear.”
The operations at two human rights organizations in Kazakhstan have been suspended and they may face closure amid a crackdown on rights groups in the Central Asian state. The head of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule Of Law (KMBPCh), Yevgeny Zhovtis, told RFE/RL that tax officials in Almaty ruled on January 25 to suspend the group's activities for three months and ordered it to pay 2 million tenges ($4,700) in fines, citing "financial irregularities."
The Specialised Inter-District Economic Court of the City of Shymkent has received a claim seeking a court order to suspend the activities of the Sectoral Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union. The claim was filed by the Akimat (the municipal authorities) of Shymkent following a representation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Eight years after the infamous massacre of striking oil workers and their supporters at Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan, human rights defenders in the oil-rich republic are still seeking answers. How many victims were there, on top of the 16 dead and nearly 100 wounded acknowledged by the authorities? Who gave the order to open fire? What was the role of agents provocateurs? And Kazakhstan’s beleaguered trade union movement continues to count the cost of the killings – which brought to an end an eight-month strike, the longest and largest in the country’s history, and heralded a crackdown on all forms of opposition.
In anticipation of International Migrants Day on December 18, ADC Memorial, Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan, and the International Legal Initiative welcome recommendations to improve implementation of international treaties and realize fundamental human rights that Kazakhstan received as part of the Universal Periodic Review. Members of international delegations devoted special attention to the spheres of employment and migration, which are both important for the country since, as a receiving country, Kazakhstan has almost one million migrants (approximately seven percent of the population) who regularly face violation of their rights in various areas of life and have fallen victim to various forms of exploitation and human trafficking.