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Challenges and recommendations: ECOM report on violations of the rights of LGBT people in Kazakhstan 2023

The Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity’s (ECOM) 2023 Report on Violations of the Rights of LGBT People and MSM in Kazakhstan reveals the sad reality of encounters with discrimination and violence. Virusoff shares detailed statistics and cases of rights violations described therein.

During the last year, 83 cases of rights violations against LGBT people were reported, with private individuals being the perpetrators in more than half of the cases, revealing the high level of stigma and discrimination in society. Blackmail, extortion, threats, and physical violence were common forms of abuse, often without adequate police response. It is also disappointing that in one in five cases of violations, the perpetrators were law enforcement officials themselves.

The report also found that 14.5% of incidents involved violations of rights by healthcare providers, including improper disclosure of HIV-positive status and barriers to healthcare. Among the documented cases of violence was an incident where an LGBT person was threatened and extorted by people presenting themselves as being associated with the police.

Konstantin Baranov, Human Rights Coordinator at ECOM, stresses that the documented incidents are only a small part of the problem of violations of the rights of LGBT people in the country and notes the need for systemic measures to ensure the safety and protection of this vulnerable group: “Kazakhstan’s criminal legislation does not recognize the commission of a hate crime based on sexual orientation and gender identity as an aggravating circumstance, and, in addition, the law does not protect LGBT people from domestic violence. There is legislation on domestic violence but it does not apply in cases of violence by relatives based on SOGI.”

ECOM also made several recommendations to the government of Kazakhstan, including the adoption of an anti-discrimination law, expanding the list of aggravating circumstances in criminal legislation, training law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate hate crimes, and complying with international standards on LGBT rights.

The full version of the ECOM report with cases of rights violations.