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(Berlin, March 7, 2023)- Kazakhstan Human Rights Watch said today that draft laws on domestic violence must ensure that women are protected against family violence to the maximum extent possible, including by including domestic violence as a stand-alone crime.

Three years after the withdrawal of the previous draft law on domestic violence, two new draft laws currently under review provide significant opportunities to address inadequate measures on domestic abuse.

“Kazakhstan’s current laws basically leave domestic violence survivors to fend for themselves, and women have paid a high price for delaying law reform.” Said mihra reitman, senior Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Lawmakers must urgently use this opportunity to ensure that the new laws fully protect women from domestic violence.”

Domestic violence is a serious human rights violation in Kazakhstan, with women representing the vast majority of victims. Over the past year, local media have reported several cases of serious domestic violence across the country that resulted in death. More than 100 women by early 2022.

Under existing laws in Kazakhstan, including the 2009 Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, domestic violence is not a stand-alone criminal offense.

In September 2020, a draft law on combating domestic violence, which would have strengthened protections for women survivors of family abuse, passed its first reading in parliament. However, in January 2021it was withdrawnTogether legislators are saying More counseling was needed.

Lawmakers have since proposed at least two other pieces of legislation that include provisions related to domestic violence. is one draft lawLaunched by Members of Parliament to strengthen the institution of the family, which focuses on measures to prevent domestic violence. The second, from the Ministry of the Interior, would amend and revise the Criminal and Administrative Code provisions.

The Ministry of the Interior informed on 13 February The draft bill was approved by the Majilis, the lower house of parliament, and is now with the Senate, the upper house, for consideration. among ProposedAmendment The Ministry of the Interior reportedly has provisions allowing administrative penalties to be imposed even if the domestic violence survivor does not pursue a complaint. Reportedly, the bill will also Remove In case of repeated family abuse a reconciliation process and the place of the present’Warning’ Clearance for occupiers with the requirement to carry out specified public works.

The interior ministry’s draft law has not been made public, nor have lawmakers indicated whether the draft includes family violence as a stand-alone criminal offence.

The draft law on strengthening the institution of the family – which is currently Available Proposes amendments to a number of existing laws, including the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence – on the Majilis website. The draft proposes more guidelines for coordination among various state agencies and outlines more comprehensive preventive measures. These include requiring officers to respond to media reports of domestic violence, including reports on social media. This will require more domestic violence-related data monitoring and collection, and increased information and educational activities aimed at preventing domestic violence. However, it fails to establish domestic violence as a stand-alone offence.

Rights activists in Almaty and Astana told Human Rights Watch that they knew the interior ministry was working on proposed amendments, but they had not seen the draft law. And while some activists said they were able to “give suggestions” to the draft law on strengthening the institution of the family, others said they did not participate in the “drafting process” and were not consulted.

Human Rights Watch said authorities should ensure that any draft bills dealing with domestic violence issues are publicly available and that input and recommendations from women’s rights and human rights experts are taken into account.

President Kassym Jomart Tokayev has Frequentlyaccepted The problem of family violence in Kazakhstan She has said that tackling domestic abuse is an integral part of her reform agenda and has instructed relevant authorities to introduce “stronger punishments” for domestic violence against women.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, police annual get more than 100,000 domestic violence complaints, In first 10 months of 2022, 93 women Murders related to domestic violence in Kazakhstan killed and 794 criminal cases were opened on charges of moderate and severe bodily harm. Since the beginning of 2023, the police have registered 18 murders Services remain in place for survivors of family violence, including shelters and crisis centers severely limited, Especially outside urban areas.

In March 2021, the Ministry of the Interior allegedly doubled the number of female police officers special police units to protect women and children from violence and City: The posts of Inquiry Officer are to be filled by women. In October 2022, Prime Minister Alikhan Smilov ordered the responsible authorities to “take the necessary measures to expand the network of crisis centers”.

But these steps are not enough. Ana Reel, head of the Korgau-Astana Crisis Center, run by a non-governmental group in Astana, told Human Rights Watch that despite the government’s efforts, domestic violence is still “unless domestic violence is declared a crime”. , Until then there will be no improvement.”

Including women’s rights lawyers and activists from Kazakhstan feminist group, has called for the criminalization of family violence. He has also expressed concern over the shortcomings in the existing law on domestic violence.

Human Rights Watch has also done called repeatedly For Kazakhstan to explicitly criminalize domestic violence and greater accountability for abusers, as well as better support and protection for survivors, including in rural areas.

The Kazakh authorities should ensure that any laws governing family matters, and domestic violence in particular, include penalties for family violence that are commensurate with the severity of the violence.

Kazakhstan has an obligation, as a party to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to work to eliminate violence against women, including domestic violence, to ensure adequate protection, support for survivors Access to essential services for, and accountability for, abusers.

Kazakhstan’s partners should reiterate their call for the criminalization of domestic violence as a stand-alone crime and urge authorities to ensure that its laws and policies meet international standards, particularly those affecting women and domestic violence. Europe conference on preventing and combating violence against violence.

“Criminalizing domestic violence would send a clear message that abuse inside the home is intolerable and that the safety and well-being of women is paramount,” Rittman said. “Lawmakers need to take decisive action to end impunity for acts of domestic violence.”

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