Obama Administration Should Press Kazakh President to Veto Discriminatory Propaganda Bill
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First said that passage of Kazakhstan’s proposed discriminatory propaganda bill would violate the rights of Kazakhstan’s LGBT community. The draft bill, which is modeled after Russia’s infamous propaganda law, has been passed by Kazakhstan’s legislature and now awaits the signature of President Nursultan Nazabayev before becoming law.
“The passage of this bill would further endanger Kazakhstan’s already vulnerable LGBT community,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “The Kazakh people deserve to have a government that honors its human rights commitments. The Obama Administration should publicly condemn this piece of homophobic legislation and urge President Nazabayev to veto this bill.”
The proposed bill “On protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” introduces a ban on the promotion of “non-traditional sexual orientations.” While it is similar in nature to the Russian propaganda law, the Kazakh bill equates so-called gay propaganda with a number of items deemed threatening to children including messages depicting cruelty and violence, provoking children to life-threatening acts, and any erotic or pornographic materials.
In the 17 years following the decriminalization of homosexuality in Kazakhstan, LGBT communities have continued to be persecuted. In the months leading up to the first phase of legislative consideration of the bill, Bolashak, a national organization, called for additional measures to ban LGBT individuals from holding public office or serving in the military.
This comes as Kazakhstan is in consideration for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The passage of this proposed law would violate Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which was recently updated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to explicitly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last year, the IOC voted to include the non-discrimination clause in the host-city contracts, requiring host cities to agree that they will not discriminate against people in accordance with Principle 6.
“The IOC should seriously consider whether Kazakhstan can honor the Olympic committment to equality and nondiscriminiation during the selection process for the 2022 Games,” added Gaylord.
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government work to prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region. The organization also urges the Department of State’s newly created position of special envoy for the human rights of LGBT people to publicly condemn the spread of discriminatory legislation and work to increase U.S. support for human rights activists fighting for equality worldwide.
For more information or to speak with Gaylord, contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at [email protected] or 212-845-5269.