ARTICLE 19 presented an oral statement on behalf of ARTICLE 19, Adil Soz and PEN International at the UPR Pre-session on Kazakhstan.
Amongst particular areas of concern that were highlighted in the statement were legislative provisions concerning criminal defamation and incitement to social hatred.
The statement calls on states to recommend that Kazakhstan:
- decriminalise defamation and insult. Criminal defamation and criminal insult have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. Furthermore, any harm caused by defamation and insult can be
adequately addressed through civil law which is less restrictive and better equipped to remedy the injury to the victim’s reputation by compensation in terms of damages.
- remove criminal provisions providing special protections to the reputations of public officials. The Criminal Code should not provide any special protection for public officials. International standards recognise that such officials should tolerate more, rather than less, public criticism. The Criminal Code does not provide the defence of public interest by those who have acted reasonably in the public interest and have taken whatever steps were reasonably possible to check their facts.
- reform of the provision on incitement to hatred in the Criminal Code to comply with Article 20 (2) of the ICCPR. The terms “social hatred” and “class hatred” should be removed from Article 174 of the Criminal Code in compliance with Article 20, paragraph 2, of the ICCPR.