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  • » 02/13/2009, 00.00

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Restrictive new law on religious freedom is unconstitutional



    Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council has rejected the new law because it violates the right to choose one's religion freely, and could cause discrimination. Now President Nazarbaiev can either comply with the decision, or ask the Council for a new one.

    Astana (AsiaNews/F18) - Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council announced on February 11 that the restrictive new law on religious freedom is unconstitutional. The agency Forum 18 explains that now, President Nursultan Nazarbaiev has a month to decide whether to support the new law.

    Igor Rogov, president of the Council, explains that the new law violates article 39, paragraph 3 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the rights and freedoms recognized by the Constitution "shall not be restricted in any way." Article 14 also excludes discrimination for reasons that include religion. Article 19 says that everyone has "the right to determine and indicate or not to indicate his national, party and religious affiliation." The norms are violated by the new law, Rogov continues, which requires conditions "previously unknown in Kazakhstan" for the recognition of religious groups.

    Now Nazarbaiev can ask the Council to change its decision, but two thirds of its members would have to vote for the change.

    The new law has been harshly criticized by religious groups and by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which had asked Nazarbiev not to ratify it. The president then handed the matter over to the Constitutional Council.

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    See also

    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.

    19/09/2005 PAKISTAN
    Blasphemy 'law' is a death sentence for non Muslims
    Pakistan's non Muslim minorities are determined to challenge the law's constitutionality before the Supreme Court.

    07/09/2004 LAOS
    Violence against Christians in Vientiane and Luang Phrabang


    09/06/2007 KAZAKHSTAN
    “Soviet methods” used on religious minorities
    At an Osce conference, the countries religious authorities vaunt Astana’s religious freedom and tolerance. At the same time Jehovah Witnesses are sentenced for having gathered in prayer and the temple of the Hare Krishna is demolished. The systematic persecution of religious minorities.

    30/09/2008 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.



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