Reforms in Kazakhstan Could Improve Religious Freedom

Aug 6, 2021

The Kazakhstani government is implementing promising reforms that could make Kazakhstan Central Asia’s leading example of religious freedom. USCIRF has recommended the U.S. State Department place Kazakhstan on its Special Watch List, and previously USCIRF’s Tier 2 List, since 2013 in response to deteriorating religious freedom conditions stemming from the passage of its religion law in 2011. However, proposed amendments to that law could significantly improve the religious freedom landscape in Kazakhstan.

USCIRF is deeply invested in Central Asian religious freedom reform and has engaged directly with the Kazakhstani government. In recent years, the Commission has traveled multiple times to Kazakhstan and other countries in the region, released numerous reports with policy recommendations, and held a hearing on religious freedom conditions in Russia and Central Asia in September 2020.

Today we are joined by USCIRF Senior Policy Analyst Jason Morton to discuss recent reform efforts and the religious landscape in Kazakhstan more broadly.

Read the 2021 Annual Report chapter on Kazakhstan available in English, Kazakh, and Russian.