Kazakhstan believers face more limits to religious freedom

By November 3, 2006

Kazakhstan (MNN/F18) — Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) secret police is preparing changes to the Anti-terrorism Law, “but these changes are not going to affect believers,” Askar Amerkhanov, Deputy Chief of Staff of the KNB’s Anti-terrorist Centre has told Forum 18 News Service.

This, however, contradicts remarks Amerkhanov made to the news agency Kazakhstan Today on 15 September. At that time, he reported that a draft law would come before parliament before the end of 2006 and that it would tackle the so-called destructive sects and organizations.

However, Forum 18 News has uncovered a reported plan to amend Kazakhstan’s Religion Law, citing the need to modernize the law. However, some suspect the additions introduced will in fact ban sharing beliefs and missionary activity in Kazakhstan.

In 2005, Kazakhstan introduced sweeping religious freedom restrictions.

Overall, it seems clear that the situation of the Protestant religious minority, along with other religious minorities, is deteriorating. Franz Tiessen, head of the Kazakh Baptist Union, told Forum 18 that not only Council of Churches Baptist congregations who refuse to register face fines after being unable to get local registration.

Some unregistered church members have been fined $150 for holding church services without being registered, which is about half their monthly salaries.

It’s unclear when the amendments will be introduced.

Leave a Reply