Written reply from Josep Borrell Fontelles – High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission to LGBTI Intergroup Letter on LGBTIQ rights violations in Kazakhstan

Brussels, 17th July 2023

Brussels, 30/06/2023
A(2023)3314759 – 5066480

To all MEPs co-signatory to the letter asking for support on concern over the serious and ongoing violations of the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ activists in Kazakhstan.

Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

Thank you for your letter of 11 May 2023 drawing my attention to human rights violations of LGBTIQ activists in Kazakhstan and in the world.

The EU raises awareness about this important issue in our human rights dialogues with third countries as well as in other dialogue platforms and multilateral fora. The specific case of the NGO Feminita was consistently raised during the EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogues in November 2019, November 2020, and December 2021, in particular the organisation’s problem registering as an NGO. On these occasions, the EU also raised the difficulties of the NGO Transgender Europe (TGEU) to meet with Kazakh authorities.

More generally, and also during the last Human Rights Dialogue with Kazakhstan in March 2023, we raised concerns about ongoing harassment, discrimination, stigmatization and domestic, physical, psychological and sexual violence committed against members of the Kazakh LGBTIQ community. The EU called upon the Kazakh authorities to prevent and actively combat violence and discrimination of LGBTIQ persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, in line with the specific recommendations of the 2020 Universal Periodic Review, which Kazakhstan has accepted. We also raise consistently the right to freedom of assembly in all our human rights dialogues with Kazakhstan.

On 17 May 2023, to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHoBiT), the EU Delegation in Astana joined EU Member States’ Embassies and like-minded partners in signing a joint statement to express support and solidarity with the LGBTIQ communities in Kazakhstan and around the world. This joint statement was re-posted in English, Russian and Kazakh language. On this same day, the EU Delegation in Astana also joined local activities to draw attention to discrimination against LGBTIQ persons, and to promote openness and tolerance.

The EU, including the EU Delegation in Astana, will continue to be vocal in raising the human rights of LGBTIQ activists in Kazakhstan and in the world.

Yours faithfully,
Josep Borrell Fontelles Electronically signed on 30/06/2023 09:29 (UTC+02) in accordance with Article 11 of Commission Decision (EU) 2021/2121
Ref. Ares(2023)4536638 – 30/06/2023