Kazakhstan: Feminist Group Denied Registration

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09/13/2019

An appeals court in Kazakhstan on September 3 upheld a decision denying Feminita, a national feminist initiative, registration as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). The group’s focus includes the rights of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. The Almaty department of the Justice Ministry had refused the group registration on the grounds that it didn’t comply with the Law on Noncommercial Organizations. That refusal was upheld as lawful by both a lower-level court and the appeals court. Registration is required for the group to operate lawfully in the country, and to conduct activities such as raising money and hosting events. “This appeals court ruling allows an arbitrary and discriminatory decision by the Ministry of Justice to stand,” said Laura Mills, Europe and Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Kazakhstan authorities should stop preventing groups from operating lawfully just because they are critical of the government or work on controversial issues.”

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