Kazakhstan (CEDAW 12-11-2019)
The Committee considered the fifth periodic report of Kazakhstan (CEDAW/C/KAZ/5) at its 1724th and 1725th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1724 and CEDAW/C/SR.1725), held on 24 October 2019. The list of issues and questions raised by the pre-sessional working group is contained in CEDAW/C/KAZ/Q/5, and the responses of Kazakhstan are contained in CEDAW/C/KAZ/Q/5/Add.1.
E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
Civil society organizations
- The Committee welcomes the increase in grants made available to civil society organizations, including those working on gender issues. However, it is concerned about the overall limited cooperation of the State party with civil society and about the cases of registration being denied to feminist organizations promoting women’s human rights and the rights of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons for reasons of non-compliance with “spiritual and moral values, culture, prestige and the role of the family”, as stated in one such decision. In this context, it also notes that the vision for the development of civil society for the period up to 2025 is pending approval.
- The Committee recommends that the State party take advantage of the adoption of the vision for the development of civil society for the period up to 2025:
(a) To enhance cooperation with civil society organizations, in particular those working on women’s rights, to ensure that they play a strong role in the area of the advancement of women and are meaningfully involved in policymaking and law-making processes;
(b) To review the law on charities to remove disproportionate restrictions on the registration of civil society organizations and ensure that such organizations, including feminist organizations promoting women’s human rights and the rights of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association without undue interference.
Disadvantaged groups of women
- The Committee is concerned about reports that women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, refugee women, asylum-seeking women, stateless women and women with undetermined citizenship continue to experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) With regard to women with disabilities:
(i) Improve access to employment, entrepreneurship and training opportunities for women with disabilities;
(ii) Ensure that women with disabilities have access to the special social services that they require;
(iii) Effectively address the unmet need for family planning among women with disabilities;
(iv) Ensure that women with disabilities have the right to bring their pregnancy to term and that gynaecological consultations, medical examinations, family planning and adapted support during pregnancy are available and accessible;
(v) Raise awareness of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in accessible formats;
(vi) Criminalize forced sterilization and forced abortion;
(vii) Ensure that women with disabilities have the opportunity to exercise their legal capacity, enjoy access to justice and are guaranteed protection of their right to free and informed consent to any medical intervention;
(viii) Investigate, prosecute and convict cases of forced abortion and sterilization;
(b) With regard to lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons:
(i) Review the legislation, including article 257 (13) of the Code on Marriage and Family, to remove sex reassignment surgery from the list of requirements for gender recognition;
(ii) Ensure that its health-care policies and HIV programme take into account the needs of transgender women;
(iii) Criminalize offences based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity as a stand-alone crime and consider “sexual orientation and gender identity” as aggravating circumstances if they are used as a motive for committing a crime;
(iv) Revise articles 121 to 123 of the Criminal Code to remove the reference to “lesbianism”;
(v) Investigate reports of threats and blackmailing against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons and prosecute the perpetrators and bring them to justice, as appropriate;
(vi) Ensure that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons are not prosecuted merely on the ground of their real or assumed sexual orientation or gender identity;
(c) With regard to asylum-seeking women, refugee women, stateless women and women with undetermined nationality:
(i) Provide asylum-seeking women, refugee women, stateless women and women with undetermined nationality, including those temporarily residing in the State party, with health insurance and basic health services, including prenatal and postnatal care, and ensure that they have access to employment, education and the registration of civil acts;
(ii) Strengthen its procedures for identifying asylum seekers and determining asylum status, which should be gender-sensitive, age-sensitive and culturally sensitive, in order to ensure the systematic and early identification of women and girls who are victims of or who are at risk of gender-based violence and provide appropriate assistance to such women and girls;
(iii) Accelerate the regularization of stateless women and women with undetermined nationality and their children;
(iv) Ensure the collection of data, disaggregated by age and gender, on stateless persons and persons with undetermined nationality;
(v) Accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.