Following the example of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan adopted new religious legislation.
Kazakhstan’s prime minister Karim Masimov officially signed the laws on September 1, 2011 and within a month they were unanimously passed by the lower and upper house, with only minor amendments. The drafts were then sent to president Nursultan Nazarbaev to be signed into law.
These drafts consist of two parts. The first one is completely new and replaces the 1992 legislation on religion; the second amends nine other existing laws touching on religion – bringing them into line with the new religion law and imposing harsher punishments. Together this legislation restricts religious activities to a great extent. Both laws were drafted by the government’s Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA), with no advice sought from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as in previous cases.
While the 1992 version was named “The Law on Freedom of Religious Confession and Religious Associations”, the new Law is officially titled “The Law on Religious Activity and Religious Associations.” The dropping of the term ”freedom”’ in the title is significant.
Since this law has passed, more than 200 out of approximately 660 churches are being closed down.
- For protection on all evangelism and outreach activities, especially among young people.
- For those involved in distributing Bibles and Christian literature.
- For wisdom for church leaders trying to register their churches with the authorities.