Kazakh LGBT community living in fear: Right group
July 23, Berlin: Kazakhstan has failed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from violence and discrimination, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Thursday.
LGBT people in Kazakhstan face hostility and abuse, a lack of sufficient response and support mechanisms, and an intensified climate of fear amid recent efforts to adopt an anti-LGBT “propaganda” law. The 31-page report “‘That’s When I Realized I Was Nobody’: A Climate of Fear for LGBT People in Kazakhstan,” documents pervasive homophobic attitudes, hateful treatment, and failure of police and other government agencies to protect LGBT people in Kazakhstan.
The report is based on in-depth interviews with LGBT people, activists, human rights experts, and social service and health practitioners in Kazakhstan. Human Rights Watch also analyzed the proposed “propaganda” legislation presented in Kazakhstan’s parliament early in 2015 that was later scrapped.
“The climate of fear for LGBT people in Kazakhstan is stoked both by the abuses and discrimination they face directly, as well as abuse and discrimination when they try to report rights violations to authorities,” said Kyle Knight, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.
“The Kazakh government should clearly state its support for the human rights of LGBT people, ensure that no discriminatory legislation is passed into law, and take immediate steps to tackle homophobia.”
Human Rights Watch documented the atmosphere of fear in which LGBT people live in Kazakhstan, and a range of abuses they suffer, including inadequate response by authorities and service providers.
In one example, a gay man in Almaty told Human Rights Watch that when he attempted to report a mugging to police in a park, he pointed to where it happened, outside a gay nightclub, and the officers refused to investigate, saying: “Oh you were over there, walking from that direction? Well that’s where the faggot night club is so we can’t help you.” A psychologist at an HIV clinic in Almaty said that of the hundreds of gay and bisexual male clients she had seen in the past five years, not even one had devised a strategy to safely come out.
The Oslo Times/HRW