Kazakhs Reverse Law to Restrict Religions, Yet Fail to Release Those Imprisoned

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In a front page article in today's Washington Times, reporter Julia Duin reports on the continuing persecution of religious minorities by the Kazakh government.

finally listened to the international outcry about (its) draconian religious registration law

The Washington Times reported today that Kazakhstan has "finally listened to the international outcry about (its) draconian religious registration law," according to Bennett Graham, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. In a front page article in today's newspaper and on washingtontimes.com, February 13, 2009, Washington Times religion reporter Julia Duin reported on the continuing persecution of religious minorities by the Kazakh government, which in 2010 is scheduled to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which on February 4 assessed the Kazakh law as not complying with international human rights standards.

Although Kazakhstan's constitutional council on Wednesday dramatically reversed the religions registration law, it is not clear what the government will do about those current suffering from persecution and imprisonment under the law.

The government of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as reported in The Washington Times, denies acting in a heavy-handed way toward minority religions, and has invited dozens of religious and political leaders to Kazakhstan for World Congresses of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in 2003 and 2006. A third world congress is slated for July 1-2 this year, in Astana, the political capital. Additionally, Kazakhstan in 2010- will chair the OSCE, which has as one of its tasks to safeguard human rights.

The Washington Times article may be reprinted all or in part with notification to The Washington Times -- jslevin(at)washingtontimes.com. Permission is not needed. The web address of the article is:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/13/kazakhstan-reverses-law-to-restrict-minority-relig/

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Jonathan Slevin
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jslevin(at)washingtontimes.com

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