• KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 25

Central Asia’s Scorecard on Women’s Rights and Welfare

Women's rights differ significantly around the world, with progress varying greatly from one country to another. Some states have advanced gender equality significantly through strong legal systems and policies while others are hindered by cultural norms and a lack of political commitment. In Central Asia, each of the young nations has shown a different level of progress on women's rights and welfare, which requires consideration in individual, regional and global contexts. Kazakhstan’s new and comprehensive law on strengthening protections for women and children’s rights, adopted on April 15 to international fanfare,  highlighted the larger issue of women’s status in Central Asia. The legislation was driven by a 2023 Presidential Decree for a Human Rights Action Plan that brought Kazakhstan in compliance with OECD standards. Another piece of relatively recent positive news from the region came in April 2023 when Uzbekistan’s parliament passed new legislation specifying domestic violence as a criminal offense under the law and strengthening 2019 provisions that indirectly address domestic violence. Yet even when there are laws in place to protect women, ensuring their implementation remains critical. For this to happen, laws should first clearly define what constitutes domestic violence so that crimes can be classified and prosecuted as such. As a benchmark, OECD standards close gaps in legally prosecuting such violence by encompassing this classification to include domestic violence against women and children. Kazakhstan has conformed to this norm in its new legislation and thus holds the best practice in the region. Furthermore, to facilitate enforcement and implementation, Kazakhstan’s recent efforts include placing women in key administerial positions in the police force dealing with violent crimes against women. At a larger scale, the country’s Family and Gender Policy foresees increasing the share of women at decision-making levels across the public and private sectors to 30%. Backing this narrative on Kazakhstan’s upward trajectory from a cultural and social perspective, UNDP’s Gender Social Norms Index Report in 2023 found that Kazakhstan has the lowest levels of gender bias in the region (and incidentally was ranked above the United States in the Gender Inequality Index, which utilized 2021 data as shown below).   The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023 also shows significant progress in women’s empowerment in Kazakhstan, which jumped 18 positions in one year to 62nd place globally, particularly through eliminating gender gaps in education levels and increasing women’s political and economic participation.   Two other Central Asian countries have some form of legislation concerning domestic violence against women on paper, but progress on their implementation has not always been encouraging.  Kyrgyzstan, for instance, adopted legislation on domestic violence in 2003 as well as a new law on this issue in 2017, which has strengthened protection for victims and sought to improve enforcement mechanisms. But according to reports, the legislation has proven difficult to enforce, and perpetrators may still avoid punishment. In 2013, Tajikistan also passed a law that specifically addressed domestic violence and included measures for its prevention, protection, and punishment. This, too, appears to...

Kazakhstan President Signs Landmark Legislation on Domestic Violence

On April 15, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed into law amendments and additions passed by Kazakhstan’s parliament on April 11 on legislative acts and the code on administrative offenses on ensuring the rights of women and the safety of children. The initiative represents a first in the CIS in terms of how far it goes to provide protection for women and children in the country. The United States embassy in Kazakhstan said on April 15 through its Twitter (X) account that they welcomed the adoption of the new law, highlighting its strengthened protections against domestic violence. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan also commended the “legislative initiatives protecting women's [and] children's rights,” calling them a “crucial step towards equality, justice [and] safety for all citizens” that “lay a foundation for a stable, prosperous society.” On Instagram, the OSCE Programme Office in Astana stated that it "welcomes the adoption and signing of two laws aimed at ensuring and protecting the rights of women and children, including the criminalization of violence towards them, by @tokayev_online". This is seen as the latest improvement in an upward trend. Since coming to power in 2019, President Tokayev has tightened criminal liability for crimes against women and children, as well as human trafficking. Special units were formed within the Ministry of Internal Affairs to protect women, and in 2021, their number increased to 256. Specialized female investigators were also introduced to investigate violent sexual crimes against women and minors. The new law, which goes further in introducing additional legal mechanisms to protect women and children, comes on the heels of domestic and international protests following the televised trial for the alleged violent murder of Saltanat Nukenova by her husband, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, in November 2023. In addition to local rallies, the Kazakhstani diaspora in New York, Amsterdam , Milan, and many other places around the globe have also called for increased accountability for domestic violence under the hashtag #ForSaltanat. Critically, the new legislation criminalizes domestic violence, increases penalties for perpetrators and provides a range of preventative measures alongside punitive ones. It also imposes tougher penalties for all forms of violence against children. Overall, it is an important step in improving the legal, economic, and social foundations of state policy and strengthening the principle of social equality with zero tolerance against violence towards women and children. The recent amendments and additions largely represent the demands of the public and civil society, who were involved in the process of their development and adoption. The legislation has been widely discussed in the country’s media. Representatives from NGOs took part in parliamentary meetings alongside the National Commission for Women's Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy, the National Center for Human Rights and the Commissioner for Children's Rights. In November 2023, Kazakhstanis demanded tougher punishment for domestic violence through an open letter to Tokayev on the Otinish.kz website. This month, a group of activists and human rights defenders launched the “Write a Letter to Parliament” campaign, asking residents to send a...

Rallies Held in Italy in Support of Saltanat Nukenova

On April 13, rallies were held in Italian cities including Rome, Milan, Turin, Bologna and Florence in support of the deceased wife of former Minister of the National Economy of Kazakhstan, Saltanat Nukenova, demanding stricter legislation against domestic violence. The organizers of stressed the importance of exercising the civil right to free assembly and expressed solidarity with victims of domestic violence. The rallies were held in the central squares of different cities, including near St. Mary's Church in Rome. A popular slogan at the actions against violence against women was "No Excuse For Abuse." Participants at the rally shouted slogans, such as "If he hits you, he'll go to jail"; "For Saltanat"; "Every woman is unique!"; "You are not alone"; "There is no justification for violence". A similar event was also held in Barcelona on the same day. The rallies were held against the backdrop of the trial of Nukenova’s former husband; politician Kuandyk Bishimbayev stands accused of her murder.

The Bishimbayev Trial: The Women of Kazakhstan Speak

The trial of the trial of former Minister of the Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, has ignited discussions across Kazakhstan, particularly among women. Online actions and rallies across Europe have been organized in memory of the victim, Saltanat Nukenova, and the Senate has passed a law strengthening protections for women and children against domestic violence. "The trial of Bishimbayev is the most vivid example of how power and impunity having taken the upper hand, eventually lead to terrible consequences, namely, brutal premeditated murder,” Darina, a 21-year-old woman from Astana told The Times of Central Asia. “A man who decided that he could do anything and nothing would happen for it, simply cut off the life of his wife. This case, which is now being watched by the whole world, is the most resonant and revealing in the history of justice in the country. Every second girl, looking at Bishimbayev, recognized her partner/husband, who is also physically or emotionally abusive towards her. All of them today want only one thing: a just solution that will encourage the government to create a law criminalizing domestic violence, give publicity to such a global and urgent problem, and inspire hope and faith in the hearts of those who experience similar things in their lives." "There's not even anything worth saying, I'm just scared. So many similar stories happen all the time," Kamila, a 27-year-old from Almaty told TCA. "It's very sad to see this, but on the other hand, it's good that it’s got so much publicity; now the world can see what kind of attitude there is towards women in Kazakhstan." Polina, a 20-year-old from Astana told TCA. "When you watch these broadcasts, it's scary to realize what is happening. It's not only about domestic violence, but also how corruption is rampant. All the evidence is there, but the case is still dragging on." Raushan from Almaty said. "The trial is a subject of conversation with everyone I know every day. I can't watch the live broadcast from the courtroom, because I can't stand it. I think the court's decision will have a big impact on the people of Kazakhstan and will show whether we have achieved something in 23 years of independence." Merey, a 25-year-old from Kostanay told TCA. "I’m very glad this case has such resonance, because if it wasn’t so high-profile and covered so extensively, most likely it would’ve been hushed up and he would’ve served a couple of years on parole. This case has emphasized the problem of violence against women in Kazakhstan, which happens on a regular basis at the hands of domestic tyrants,” Alua from Taraz told TCA. Bishimbayev was dismissed from his post of Minister of the National Economy after less than eight months under former President Nazarbayev in December 2016. In September 2023, President Tokayev’s instructed parliament to draft new legislation increasing the penalties for domestic violence. Seen in some quarters as a sign of a new openness, the televised trial has sparked a wave of debate...

As Bishimbayev Case Continues, Kazakhstan Toughens Domestic Violence Laws

While a court in Astana tries former economy minister Kuandyk Bishimbayev for murdering his wife Saltanat Nukenova, the Kazakhstani Senate has passed a law strengthening protections for women and children against domestic violence. The new law, if properly implemented, can hand out much harsher punishments to those who abuse those closest to them. In particular, a term of life imprisonment has been introduced for the murder of a minor child.   In the Face of Widespread Indifference The trial of Bishimbayev – and his relative Bakhytzhan Baizhanov, who is accused of failing to report the murder - has uncovered an uncomfortable truth. Many people already knew that Bishimbayev beat his wife, who died last November. Relatives and close acquaintances of the victim recounted details in court about bruises on Nukenova's face. On the day of her death, a number of witnesses saw Bishimbayev arguing with, and possibly beating, Nukenova. Many of these witnesses are employees of the restaurant where the alleged murder took place. Baizhanov admitted under interrogation that he saw blood as Nukenova was laying motionless, but, on the orders of Bishimbayev, had the restaurant's surveillance tapes deleted, and then drove Nukenova's phone around the city, so that it would seem later that she was still alive at the time. According to Baizhanov, he "did not know and did not realize" that Nukenova was dying. However, a forensics expert testified in court that the nature of Nukenova's injuries indicated serious beatings, not "light slaps and falls," as Bishimbayev had previously claimed. Examinations confirmed that Nukenova died of multiple brain injuries and a lack of oxygen, likely as a result of asphyxiation.   Will the New Law Help Stop Violence?  Kazakhstanis are closely following the legal proceedings that have resulted from Nukenova's death, and are organizing viral online actions and rallies in her memory in cities across Europe. Human rights activists and ordinary Kazakhstanis fought long and hard for domestic violence to be criminalized. Under the new law, criminal liability will be applied to any intentional infliction of harm to health, however minor. The Code "On marriage (matrimony) and family" establishes the legal status of family support centers and the functions they perform, and establishes helplines for information and psychological assistance relating to women's and children's rights. The law also contains many measures aimed at protecting children in public and online. Activists are still cautious about the new law, and argue that much will depend on its practical application and the amount of funds allocated to it. Support centers for victims of violence receive many calls per day, and physically cannot provide assistance to all those in need.   Central Asia's Changing Attitudes to Domestic Violence The other countries in Central Asia face a similar, and perhaps more difficult, situation. Uzbekistan, for example, adopted a law last year to give women and children more protection against domestic violence. Domestic violence in Uzbekistan is subject to administrative and criminal liability, and harassment has been made a crime. The sentences for sexual...

Online Viral Action #ZaSaltanat: Women of Kazakhstan Oppose Stereotypes About Domestic Violence

The trial of Former Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, accused of murdering his wife, Saltanat Nukenova, continues. During the hearing, Bishimbayev's lawyers have repeatedly attempted to emphasize that Saltanat, who died from a beating, led a promiscuous lifestyle, including the constant consumption of alcohol. Such arguments caused great displeasure on the part of Dina Tansari, head of the NeMolchy.kz fund, who expressed her support for the deceased and launched an online flashmob action, #ZaSaltanat. "Bishimbayev's lawyers are trying to blame the deceased Saltanat for her life choices. But what is source of this blame - the fact that she could have had a glass of wine or any other beverage? Join me. Post your pictures with a glass and the caption: 'If you see me with a glass of wine, it doesn't mean it's okay to kill me!'," Tansari urged. Thousands of women from Kazakhstan supported the viral action, posting photos with a glass of wine on social media to draw attention to the spurious claims of the ex-minister and his advocats. Media personalities, actresses, TV presenters, public figures and ordinary housewives joined the action, emphasizing the importance of drawing attention to this tragedy and supporting the victims of domestic violence.