Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help prevent human rights infringements against protestors in Kazakhstan; and what discussions the Government has had with authorities in that country since that unrest began.
The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs is following developments in Kazakhstan closely and is very concerned by the violent clashes witnessed in recent days. Protests should be peaceful and law enforcement responses proportionate and in line with Kazakhstan's international commitments. At the beginning of the protests, President Tokayev signalled his intention to engage with the legitimate demands of peaceful protestors, a fact that we welcomed. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon spoke to the Kazakh Ambassador to the UK on 6 January, and with Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Alimbayev on 7 January. During these meetings, Lord Ahmad was that clear that the right to peaceful protest should be protected, that internet services should be restored, and that the Kazakh authorities should respect their commitments to freedom of speech and expression. Our Ambassador and her team in Nur-Sultan are in contact with the authorities in Kazakhstan and we will continue to engage in the coming days.