THE OPPOSITION GROUPS OF THE CENTRAL ASIAN STATES ISSUED A JOINT STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN KAZAKHSTAN
January 5, 2022
Reforma Party (Kyrgyzstan), Republican Party of Turkmenistan, Turmenia Unite, Foreign Bureau of Opposition of Kazakhstan, Birlik Party (Uzbekistan)
The right of the people to rebellion is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the last necessary and compelling means of the people against tyranny and oppression, when the authorities systematically and for decades trample on their rights and freedoms.
For 30 years, the people of Kazakhstan have endured tyranny, lawlessness, arbitrariness and injustice. And today we see that the people’s patience reached its limit. Numerous and mass protests that began in the western Mangystau region of Kazakhstan spread to all major cities, including the capital of Kazakhstan (Zhanaozen, Aktau, Atyrau, Oral, Astana, Almaty, Taldykorgan, Aktobe, Taraz, Tarbagatai, Oskemen, Shymkent, Kyzylorda, Kostanay, Zhezkazgan (Satpayev), Karaganda, Petropavlovsk, Pavlodar, Torgai, Zharkent, Kokshetau, Semey, Merke, Makanshi). Socio-economic demands objectively and naturally grew into a just protest against the family-clan rule of Nazarbayev and his puppet successor, against the political persecution of the opposition, against the corrupt oligarchic system that plundered and appropriated the national wealth. The protesters rightly demand respect for human dignity and the sovereign power of the people, and political reforms involving representatives of the opposition and civil society.
Nazarbayev’s regime of one-man rule left no legal opportunity for the Kazakh people to be the bearers and exponents of power, as prescribed by Kazakhstan’s Constitution. The political opposition, the free media have been destroyed, citizens who dare to tell the truth have been killed, imprisoned or expelled from the country and subjected to transnational repression, the country’s resources have been looted and serve the interests of individuals but not the people. By depriving citizens of the right to express their will, closing access to fair justice, driving the opposition underground, the authorities created a situation in which open political competition and the coming to power of new people through transparent and fair elections are impossible. Fear and submission were replaced by hatred and uncontrollable popular anger.
Protests in Kazakhstan are an objective and natural process from which all post-Soviet authoritarian rulers should learn an important lesson. A new generation of people has grown up who do not know fear and are ready to fight for the future of their country, who will not tolerate greed and arbitrariness of power, put up with corruption, lawlessness and family-clan rule that is flourishing in the country. It is impossible to stop this process by force. On the contrary, tightening and repression can lead to an escalation of the conflict, to numerous victims and serious consequences for the state. The people demand what is rightfully theirs.
We call on the Kazakh authorities to make every effort to avoid bloodshed, not to use weapons against protesters and not to repeat the mistakes of the past. The only correct solution is a dialogue with the protesters and a transition to a non-violent solution to the crisis, the holding of open elections, the beginning of political reforms with the participation of representatives of civil society and the opposition.
We also call on Kazakhstan’s international partners, the European Union, and the United States to immediately impose sanctions on those responsible for the corruption and systematic human rights abuses in Kazakhstan that have led to the current dire situation and prevent them from evading their well-deserved punishment.