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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 09/30/2008, 00.00

    KAZAKHSTAN

    In Astana, parliament is approving a law for "religious unfreedom"



    The lower chamber has approved the text, which will soon go to the senate for final review. The authors of the law refuse to release the text. But human rights activists say that it contains restrictive measures to wipe out many religious groups that today are permitted. No interest in observations from the OSCE.

    Astana (AsiaNews/F18) - There is great fear among the faithful and human rights activists in Kazakhstan that the new law on religious freedom and the reform of the code of administrative offenses will restrict their rights, while the authorities are refusing to release its text. The norm was approved on September 24 by the lower chamber (the Majilis) of the Kazakh parliament, and in days it will be under examination at the senate, finally to be signed by the president.

    Kamal Burkhanov, who heads the working group of the Majilis that drafted the text, tells the news agency Forum 18 that the document was passed with 80 votes in favor, and only one against. But he refused to provide a copy or to reveal any details, saying only that "those who violate the law will be punished". The parliament is dominated by the Nur Otan party of president Nursultan Nazarbaev, which holds all of the seats in the Majilis. The only lawmaker who voted against it, Aygul Solovyova, also refused to explain his reasons and what he thinks is wrong with it, limiting himself to saying that "the entire text must be changed".

    According to the September 26 edition of the newspaper Respublika, Maulem Ashimbaev, vice president of the presidential administration for domestic politics, says that with the new law, all religious groups will have to again ask for authorization in order to operate, something that could permit the authorities to deny this for many of them and ban them. Local officials of the religious affairs committee must, he says, "bring everything under their personal control".

    Human rights groups say that the law further erodes religious freedom, so the parliament wants to approve it without scrutiny, presenting it to all as a fait accompli.

    Ninel Fokina, head of the Helsinki Committee in Almaty, observes that the law, as well as can be known, provides greater restrictions for religious groups in comparison with other associations, and grants greater rights to certain faiths. In order to obtain registration, "the opinion of an expert on religion" is needed on the religion's founding documents, literature, and practices. Communities are also prohibited from printing or importing religious texts without the authorization of the state, something that she maintains is "genuine censorship". For this reason, she maintains that the law is "contrary to every principle of religious freedom affirmed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)".

    These concerns are shared by Aleksandr Klyushev, head of the association for religious organizations in Kazakhstan, who maintains that the law is "unconstitutional".

    It also seems that there will be increases in penalties for unauthorized religious sect entities, and that every community will have to have at least "50 adult citizens" as members in order to be registered.

    Lutheran bishop Yuri Novgorodov calls it "a law for unfreedom of conscience".

    In Kazakhstan, repression against religious minorities is underway, partly through state media and the imposition of a "state program of patriotic education", approved by President Nazarbaev. Religious groups - apart from Muslims and Orthodox Christians - are increasingly controlled in all of their activities, minutely scrutinized, and even deprived of the buildings where they meet.

    In order to quiet the criticisms, Kazakhstan asked the office of the OSCE for democratic institutions and human rights to examine the proposed law, last June. But Forum 18 says that the parliament completely ignored the observations of the OSCE.

    President Nazarbaev wants to be president of the OSCE in the near future.

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    See also

    17/03/2009 RUSSIA
    Medvedev steers religions toward young people, but blocks Jehovah's witnesses
    The Russian president is involving the traditional confessions in programs on behalf of young people. The Kremlin wants to reinforce relations with the Orthodox, make the Patriarch of Moscow a point of reference for all religions, and attribute a strong political value to his position. Jehovah's Witnesses accused of social isolation.

    12/11/2011 KAZAKHSTAN
    Churches and mosques in Kazakh prisons closed. Solitary confinement for praying in cells
    The places of worship in violation of new laws on religious freedom. Prohibiting prayer in public places. The prison service is run by the Muslim community and the Russian Orthodox Church.

    26/01/2009 TURKEY
    Saving the monastery of Mor Gabriel, to guarantee a multicultural Turkey
    Muslim leaders are trying to destroy it, and have sued the monastery for alleged proselytism. A spiritual and cultural center for the Syriac Orthodox, it still uses ancient Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. During the 1960's, at least 130,000 Syriacs lived in Tur Abdin. Today, there are only 3,000. The minority community hopes that the European Union will come to its defense with an appeal to Ankara.

    08/04/2009 TURKEY
    Easter among the Muslims, in the land of Saint Paul
    The apostolic vicar of Anatolia recounts the meaning of Easter in the year dedicated to St. Paul. The Christian community in Turkey finds itself facing a situation like the one at the beginning of the country's evangelization. The foreign pilgrims, the fraternity between Catholics and Orthodox, amazement over the fascination with Jesus among the Muslims. A request to the Turkish government, for a church in Tarsus.

    20/09/2008 ASIA
    Religious freedom continues to decline in Asia
    Serious and systematic violations of religious freedom are on the rise, including on the part of the authorities. This is the conclusion of the annual report of the U.S. State Department. Over the past year, there have been systematic persecutions in China and Myanmar, but the situation in India is also extremely serious.



    Editor's choices

    POLAND - CHINA - WYD
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    Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi

    The government yesterday blocked a group of 50 young pilgrims who had already boarded a plane bound for Krakow. Interrogated for hours by immigration, they were "admonished" and sent home with orders not to contact anyone abroad. Meanwhile, "young Chinese Catholics" hang around central World Youth Day locations in groups of five or six, with the task of spying on fellow countrymen. They work for cultural institutes or Chinese companies in Poland.


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