In January 2022, thousands of people gathered across Kazakhstan demanding social and political change in predominantly peaceful protests. In response to that, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered law enforcement officials and the army to “shoot to kill without warning”, declaring protestors to be “bandits” and “terrorists” and announcing an “anti-terrorist” operation.
The intense security operations resulted in the excessive use of force and related killings of protesters and passers-by, arbitrary detentions of thousands of protesters, and widespread torture and ill-treatment of protesters in detention.
To date the Kazakhstani authorities have failed to conduct impartial and effective investigations into the events, and especially in regards to the allegations of torture and ill-treatment by officials. The majority of investigations into torture and ill-treatment have been prematurely closed, when investigating authorities claim that they have found no evidence of a crime.
You can learn more about torture, ill-treatment and impunity in Kazakhstan in connection with the ‘Bloody January’ events here.
Ahead of 26 June – the UN international day in support of victims of torture – International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR), and the NGO Coalition against Torture in Kazakhstan are campaigning to urge Kazakhstan’s authorities to conduct impartial and effective investigations into the 2022 “Bloody January” events and to guarantee victims the protection and compensation to which they are entitled.
You can read stories of victims and their fight for justice on our Facebook Page.
We ask for your help in delivering the message to Kazakhstani authorities.
If you would like to help, please send an email or a physical letter using the template below to one (or all) of these addresses:
For the attention of:
Prosecutor General Beryk Asylov (email@example.com/press service),
Presidential administration Olzhas Bektenov (firstname.lastname@example.org/press service,
Minister of Internal Affairs Marat Akhmetzhanov (email@example.com/Chancery Office)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Nurtleu (firstname.lastname@example.org/Chancery Office)
I am writing to you ahead of 26 June – the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – to express my grave concerns that the Kazakhstani authorities have failed to conduct impartial and effective investigations into the 2022 “January Events” when at least 238 people were killed, and hundreds of protestors and civilians were subjected to torture and ill-treatment.
I am concerned at the high number of investigations into allegations of torture and ill-treatment which were closed on unfounded and unclear grounds, and that victims and those protecting their rights continue to face harassment and persecution from officials in reprisals for speaking out.
I urge you to do all in your power to ensure an independent, effective and transparent investigation with the involvement of international and national experts in order to bring the perpetrators to justice, to end impunity for torture and guarantee victims the protection and compensation to which they are entitled.
Since President Tokayev publicly declared the construction of a “New Kazakhstan” in which the rights of all citizens will be respected, we urge you to ensure that this is implemented in practice, rather than remain yet another piece of rhetoric.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue,