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441-00155 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons


  • The Government of Kazakhstan systematically violates its human rights obligations by mislabeling peaceful opposition movements as terrorist organizations;
  • The Government of Kazakhstan has captured and sentenced several peaceful human rights activists and their law-abiding associates, as demonstrated in the case of Bekizhan Mendygaziyev, the brother of the human rights activist Barlyk Mendygaziyev;
  • The Government of Kazakhstan is hindering free communication via the censorship of the internet, specifically with the increase of censorship on social media platforms and messaging apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube;
  • The policies of the Government of Kazakhstan enables and advances the Uyghur genocide by denying political asylum to ethnic Kazakhs fleeing Xinjiang and persecutes those seeking information about missing relatives and loved ones in Xinjiang, serving to hide these atrocities from the international community and concerned human rights organizations; and
  • The Government of Kazakhstan misuses civil and criminal proceedings for political purposes and abuses international criminal cooperation mechanisms, including Interpol Red Notices and mutual legal assistance, to prosecute and seize documents of political refugees as in the cases of lawyer and human rights defender Botagoz Jardemalie and the leader of a peaceful opposition movement Mukhtar Ablyazov, who was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment by a Kazakh court in violation of the right to defense.

We, the undersigned, citizens and permanent residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:

1. Publicly raise the deterioration of human rights in Kazakhstan with the Government of Kazakhstan and on a global platform;

2. Call on the Government of Kazakhstan to release political prisoners and human rights activists including Bekizhan Mendygaziyev;

3. Demand the Government of Kazakhstan to stop political persecution and suppression of pro-democracy opposition voices; and

4. Join the European Parliament in their application of targeted sanctions against high-ranking officials responsible for the perpetrating of gross human rights violations, repression, arbitrary arrests, persecution, torture, and beating of peaceful protestors and pro-democracy activists.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

The freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental to democratic and inclusive societies. The Government of Canada regularly calls on States to respect their international human rights law and international refugee law obligations.

Canada closely monitors political, social, and economic developments in Kazakhstan. Global Affairs Canada maintains an ongoing dialogue with Kazakh authorities and regularly emphasizes the importance of upholding democratic values and respecting human rights. Canada does not hesitate to raise concerns with regards the respect for human rights in Kazakhstan through bilateral and multilateral channels, including on issues such as the right to freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to a fair trial. In various fora, Canada has encouraged Kazakhstan to ensure that these fundamental freedoms are protected, in line with Kazakhstan’s constitution and its obligations under international law.

Canada followed closely developments related to the nationwide unrest in Kazakhstan in January 2022, publicly expressing concern and calling for calm. Since then, Canada has continued to call for the prompt publication of a thorough investigation into recent events by the Government of Kazakhstan. The Government of Canada has welcomed the Government of Kazakhstan’s invitation to civil society organizations and the United Nations special rapporteurs to participate in this investigation.

On January 20, 2022, Canada’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe delivered an intervention along with other Participating States, in response to the address by the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan to the Permanent Council meeting. The intervention called for Kazakhstan to meet its domestic and international human rights obligations towards those detained, in particular with respect to due process and conditions of detention. In February 2022, Global Affairs Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe, the Arctic, the Middle East and the Maghreb reiterated Canada’s concerns over reported human rights violations and noted the importance of a full, transparent and independent investigation into the events of January during her meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.

Global Affairs Canada is aware of and deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations, including of arbitrary detentions related to the January 2022 civil unrest and of unlawful treatment of displaced Uyghurs. Kazakhstan is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention. It has also ratified the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which requires Kazakhstan to perform a non-discriminatory, individual assessment of each person’s status as a potential refugee, including of the risk they face in their home country, which by definition is impossible in an expedited or mass expulsion situation.

Sanctions are an important element of Canada's foreign policy tools. Canada is judicious when it chooses to deploy sanctions and is committed to their effective and coordinated use, when appropriate, along with other tools, which include dialogue, capacity building, advocacy, multilateral engagement, and other diplomatic actions.

The Government of Canada has noted and welcomed the Government of Kazakhstan’s commitment to institutional reforms. It encourages the Government of Kazakhstan to ensure that the promised citizen-focused reforms have a positive impact on the working environment of human rights defenders and journalists, on individuals’ ability to exercise their right of peaceful assembly, and on the ability of civil society to function effectively. Canada remains ready to assist Kazakh authorities and stakeholders with their ongoing efforts and progress towards greater political and economic inclusion.

Canada will continue to remain engaged and closely follow developments in Kazakhstan.

Presented to the House of Commons
Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan)
February 9, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00155)
Government response tabled
March 25, 2022
Photo - Garnett Genuis
Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan
Conservative Caucus

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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