The Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR) and its member organizations have watched the recent events in Kazakhstan with great pain and anxiety. The KTR has for many years been involved in the campaign to build an independent trade union movement in Kazakhstan and to promote and enforce labour and trade union laws that would benefit Kazakhstani workers. The KTR’s long engagement and cooperation with dozens of trade union organizations and thousands of activists in Kazakhstan have shown us that the processes underway there have a direct bearing on progress in labour relations not only in Russia, but also throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The main goal of the Human Rights Alliance will be to facilitate honest and impartial identification of the timeline and course of protests; to analyze law enforcement actions as well as actions of various groups of protesters, reasons behind peaceful protest turning into violent riots; to ensure respect for fundamental rights during investigation and that all the standards of fair trial are in place; to prevent torture and ill-treatment, to guarantee accountability of perpetrators for committed crimes and offences, to guarantee fair and just prosecution of perpetrators and exoneration of innocent individuals; to clearly distinguish peaceful protesters, including political opposition members and civic activists, from those who committed acts of violence.
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia analyzed the events that took place in Kazakhstan in the first days of 2022. The statement of the largest trade union center of Russia, posted on the official website of the organization, expresses sympathy for the Kazakh people. “The FNPR expresses sympathy for the fraternal Kazakh people, mourns with them for the victims of the riots. We support the statements of the Kazakh trade unions, which give their assessment of what happened. But at the same time, we in Russia must draw important and hard-hitting conclusions for ourselves. Benefits for employees! Rights for trade unions! Strength to the country!” the document says.
Nearly 8,000 people have been detained and more than 160 people have been killed following mass protests triggered by a doubling of gas prices in Kazakhstan. The violent response yet again stresses the need for democracy and recognition and respect for fundamental human and workers’ rights in the country.
The ITUC deplores the killing of more than 160 people in the recent violence in Kazakhstan and calls for a full, open and public inquiry into the circumstances of all the deaths, as well as the damage to public and private property.
On 8 January, people in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, woke up with a slow but steady internet connection. Like their fellow countrymen, they had been sealed off from internet communications for almost three days, as the emergency in the Central Asian state worsened. In the business capital, Almaty, violent clashes had set the city ablaze for three days and internet connection continued to be down. Only subscribers to certain mobile operators could be reached in other cities in Kazakhstan and abroad, keeping residents and observers in a frightening state of blackout broken only by gunshots and sirens.
16 December marks the ten-year anniversary of the tragedy in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, where police opened fire on protestors, killing 17 and injuring more than 100 workers. The violence ended a seven-month long strike, involving more than 3,000 workers demanding a wage increase.
December 16, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the tradegy in the city of Zhanaozen and the village of Shetpe, when, after a months-long strike of oil workers as a result of the use of firearms by the police, according to official data, 17 people or more died and 86 were injured.
Ten years after police massacred striking oil workers at Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, human rights organisations and trades unionists are demanding an international inquiry into the killings. Even now, the number of victims is unknown. State officials admit that 16 were killed and 64 injured on 16 December 2011 – but campaigners say there were dozens, perhaps hundreds, more. The initial killings, by police who fired into a peaceful, unarmed crowd, were followed by a three-day reign of terror in Zhanaozen, in the oil-rich Mangistau province in western Kazakhstan, and nearby villages.
Last week, on June 02, 2021, a meeting took place between representatives of the Oil Construction Company Workers’ Union affiliated to the Sectoral Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union with the management of the JSC “National Company “KazMunaiGas”. During the meeting the Union raised the issue of the refusal of the management of a subsidiary of “KazMunaiGas” to comply with the existing CBA, as well as a number of other issues.