Kazakhstan laws tighten restrictions on religious activity.

By July 19, 2005

Kazakhstan (MNN)–New national security efforts are causing widespread concern among Christians in Kazakhstan.

On July 8, Kazkhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, signed into law new restrictions on religious activity that interfere with human rights promises.

Slavic Gospel Association’s Joel Griffith details what they’re analyzing. “It apparently restricts missionary activities to licensed missionaries only and it also calls for any literature to undergo prior censorship. It imposes fines, and for foreign nationals who get caught doing any kind of missionary work that’s unlicensed or unregistered, they can be deported.”

The law is drawing fire from many human rights watchdog groups. It is very similar to one passed in Uzbekistan in 1998.

Believers say this is also the second time a religion law of this nature has been through the government system. Three years ago, parliament approved a harsh religion law.

But under pressure from a protesting international community, the constitutional council withdrew the new law because it contradicted the constitution.

The new law means ministry will be affected in the immediate future. Griffith explains, “It certainly is causing some concern for evangelical churches, but we’re still trying to discover what the absolute ramifications are. We’re in the process of trying to get ahold of evangelical church leaders now to get their perspective on this.”

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