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President Tokayev signs laws aimed at protecting the rights of women and safety of children

Astana, 15 April, 2024 (GNP): President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has enacted the laws of Kazakhstan “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan Regarding the Protection of Women’s Rights and Children’s Safety” and “On Amendments and Additions to the Administrative Offenses Code of Kazakhstan Regarding the Protection of Women’s Rights and Children’s Safety.”

These laws significantly strengthen protections for women and children. The Kazakhstan Senate passed the legislation on April 11, following its approval on February 21 by the Mazhilis, the lower house of the Kazakh Parliament.

This law became the first in the Commonwealth of Independent States region to introduce novel measures for the protection of women and children.

The legislation was developed in collaboration with the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, members of Parliament, and various government agencies following directives from President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The law aims to increase the safety and security of families and children across Kazakhstan, focusing on the development of a robust infrastructure to support those in vulnerable situations and to prevent instances of violence.

Norms have been introduced to toughen accountability for all acts of violence against women and children, strengthen the institution of the family, and enhance the safety of minors.

Specifically, the intentional infliction of minor health harm and battery have now been criminalised. Additionally, the accountability for intentionally causing moderate to severe health damage has been increased.

Also Read: Factsheet on Kazakhstan’s new law on rights of women and safety of children

Criminal liability now applies to those who incite or assist in suicide, as well as those who promote it. Similarly, sexual harassment of individuals under the age of 16 is now subject to criminal liability.

The penalties for kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment of minors have been significantly toughened, reflecting a broader commitment to safeguarding young people.

Additionally, administrative responsibility for bullying, including cyberbullying, of minors has been established for the first time.

To ensure the safety of children in educational environments, institutions are now mandated to immediately report any illegal acts committed by or against minors to law enforcement.

Furthermore, to protect children under 16 on public transport, a new rule prohibits their forcible removal for lack of fare payment.

Moreover, legal foundations have been established for a contact centre dedicated to family issues and the protection of women’s and children’s rights.

Government bodies must now collaborate and inform the centre about responses to citizens’ appeals. Additionally, laws have been enacted to create family support centres that offer specialised services to domestic violence victims.

Furthermore, new principles of marital and family legislation have been established, aimed at strengthening the institutions of marriage and family, fatherhood, motherhood, and childhood, along with the principle of providing moral and spiritual education to children, fostering respect for universal, national, traditional, cultural, and family values.

President Tokayev has been a vocal advocate for strengthening legal measures against domestic violence, which he reiterated as a major social evil during the third meeting of the National Kurultay (Congress) in March this year.

The directives to strengthen penalties for violence against women and children were issued by President Tokayev in his addresses to the people of Kazakhstan on March 16, 2022, and September 1, 2023.

The President’s commitment to combatting this issue is reflected in the robust provisions of the new legislation, which highlight the government’s dedication to the protection of fundamental rights of citizens.

The law marks a significant step forward in Kazakhstan’s commitment to social justice and the protection for women and children.