Posted by: becketfund | November 26, 2008

Kazakhstan: Government Passes Restrictive Religion Measure

ALMATY – Kazakhstan’s lower house of Parliament approved controversial legislation on November 26 to increase government control over religious groups, the AP reported on November 26. The decision drew criticism from the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE), of which Kazakhstan will be the president in 2010. Kazakhstan secured the right to chair the OSCE in 2007 by promising to improve democratic standards in the country, but critics say the government has adopted few concrete measures in meeting its obligations. Janez Lenarcic, director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, responded to the new legislation saying “It is disappointing that the law was adopted in such a hasty way without making full use of broad consultations with civil society and expertise from the international community.”

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