Posted by: becketfund | March 20, 2009

Kazakhstan: President Will Not Challenge Findings on Amendments

ASTANA – Human rights defenders and religious communities have cautiously welcomed the decision by President Nursultan Nazarbaev not to challenge the finding of the Constitutional Council that the proposed new law amending various laws on religion is unconstitutional, the Forum 18 reported on March 17.   The Council reported “The Law violated the rights of Kazakh citizens, foreign citizens and people without citizenship in the area of freedom of religion. The President agrees with this assessment.”
 On February 11, 2009 the Council had announced the finding that the restrictive “Law on Amendments and Additions to Several Legislative Acts on Questions of Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations” violated the Constitution.  President Nazarbaev had up to one month to challenge or accept their finding.  On March 11, 2009 the Constitutional Council noted in a terse announcement on its website that it had already ruled that the Law approved by Parliament was “not in accord with the Constitution.”  It quoted the Presidential Administration as stating that President Nazarbaev agreed with the Constitutional Council decision and “does not intend to present an objection to it.” However, as of March 17 the Presidential website has made no mention of the President’s decision not to challenge the Constitutional Council’s findings.

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