Forum 18: New Restrictions on Religious Freedom in Kazakhstan

Forum 18 reports on a restrictive religious freedom law recently passed by Kazakhstan’s senate. Kazakhstan is one of the most challenging countries where we work to train and equip Next Generation Christian leaders for ministry. From the article:

Parliament’s upper house adopted almost unchanged wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan’s Religion Law and other laws in both first and second readings on 27 September. The Amending Law–described by one Muslim as “extremely harsh”–returns to the lower house, the Majilis, before final adoption.

Wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan’s Religion Law and about 10 other laws that seem set to increase still further the already tight restrictions on freedom of religion or belief were approved almost unchanged in both their first and second readings in parliament’s upper house, the Senate, on 27 September.

The draft Amending Law ignores previous UN Human Rights Committee and OSCE legal recommendations, and imposes among other things: more restrictions on parents’ and children’s freedom to attend worship meetings and teach beliefs; more restrictions on and punishments for religious teaching without state permission; more restrictions on sharing beliefs; and apparently increased but vaguely defined confiscation of religious literature which does not pass the compulsory state censorship …

Among the government’s justifications for the Amending Law changes is the claim that people prosecuted for exercising their freedom of religion and belief without state permission are a “risk group” for getting involved in “terrorism.”

Please join us in praying for believers in Kazakhstan who are risking everything in order to practice their faith and share the Good News with others! 

Read the full Forum 18 report here.