Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council rejected the proposed homophobic propaganda bill as unconstitutional Tuesday. Human Rights First noted that this ruling, which blocks the bill from becoming law, will ensure that 2022 Olympic contender Kazakhstan meets requirements included in the Olympic Charter with regard to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“This ruling is an important moment in the fight for the protection of human rights in Kazakhstan,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We hope it will serve as an example both for other countries vying for an Olympic bid and for countries in the region considering similar propaganda bills.”
According to Kazakh media, the Constitutional Court invalidated the proposed bill because its wording was unclear. Kazakhstan’s propaganda bill “on protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” was introduced to ban the promotion of “non-traditional sexual orientations.” The bill would have created a ban on propaganda similar to the ban that currently exists in Russia. Versions of this bill have been considered throughout the region, and one such proposal is currently moving forward in the parliament of Kyrgyzstan.
Human Rights First has worked with Kazakh activists to press the U.S. government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to encourage 2022 Winter Olympic Games contender Kazakhstan to protect the human rights of all of its citizens in accordance with the Olympic Charter. Earlier this year, Human Rights First issued a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach, urging him to press Kazakh President Nursultan Nazabayev to veto the discriminatory propaganda bill.
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government work to prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region. Human Rights First’s blueprint, “How to Stop Russia from Exporting Homophobia,” details how Russia’s homophobic laws and policies have spread throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and outlines key steps that the U.S. government can take to stop the spread of laws and policies which infringe on the human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.