“Kazakhstan remains committed to the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms” Barlybay Sadykov, Ambassador of Kazakhastan to Ethiopia


In connection with the recent mass protests, a state of emergency has been introduced in Kazakhstan. The CSTO peacekeeping forces have arrived in Kazakhstan and the situation in the country is beginning to stabilize. We decided to look into the situation and get the information “from the first-hand”. The following is interview with Ambassador of Kazakhastan to Ethiopia.

Ambassador, thank you very much for agreeing to answer our questions. What really happened, what are the reasons for the protests and riots in Kazakhstan?

Ambassador: The protests in Western Kazakhstan were of an economic nature. On January 2, 2022, several demonstrations took place in Western Kazakhstan. The main requirement was to reduce gas prices. In accordance with the concept of the «Hearing State» of President Tokayev, all the demands expressed by citizens during peaceful demonstrations were heard by the state and resolved, decisions were made to reduce gas prices, and a package of social support measures was introduced.

It is important to note that there were no clashes between the police and civilians. The police did not use any force. Unfortunately, peaceful demonstrations in Almaty have been hijacked by terrorist groups trained outside the country seeking to undermine law and order in the country. Their criminal activities led to riots, robberies, rapes and mass violence.

Due to the sharp aggravation of the situation, President Tokayev assumed the post of Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan.

To prevent social unrest, the President dissolved the Government and declared a state of emergency until the situation will be fully stabilized.

We know that the country’s largest city, Almaty, suffered the most. What happened there?

Ambassador: Almaty was attacked by almost 20,000 armed groups and terrorists trained outside the country. They destroyed administrative buildings and military facilities, seized the airport and took foreign passenger and cargo planes hostage. This indicates a high level of readiness and coordination of the actions of criminals.

According to preliminary data, there are persons among the attackers who have experience of combat participation in «hot spots» on the side of radical Islamist groups. Terrorist groups appeared due to the activation of the so-called «sleeping cells». Unfortunately, the law enforcement agencies of Kazakhstan were not ready for such massive and coordinated attacks in different regions of the country at the same time.

Unfortunately, there are human casualties, both among law enforcement officers and military personnel, and among the civilian population. This is a huge tragedy for us, the relatives of the victims and the entire Kazakh people. Due to the large number of victims in a number of regions of the country, President Tokayev declared January 10, 2022 a day of national mourning.

On January 6, President Tokayev ordered to launch a counter-terrorism operation to deal with the national security threats, protect lives and property of citizens. The President ordered law enforcement agencies to act promptly and without hesitation.

Ambassador, what is the task of the peacekeeping mission of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Kazakhstan?

Ambassador: From the very beginning, Kazakhstan has been a member of the CSTO, a regional security organization. On the basis of articles 2 and 4 of the Collective Security Treaty and the Agreement on Peacekeeping, President Tokayev officially requested assistance from the CSTO member states in conducting a counter-terrorism operation.

On January 6-7, peacekeeping troops (total number are around 2,500 people), consisting of multinational forces of the CSTO member states, were deployed in Kazakhstan on a temporary basis and will remain until the situation in the country stabilizes.

I would like to emphasize that the CSTO peacekeeping troops do not participate in the elimination of militant and terrorist groups. Their main tasks are the protection of strategic facilities and administrative buildings.

What is the current situation in Kazakhstan?

Ambassador: The anti-terrorist operation continues in the country. Terrorists continue to damage public and private property and use weapons against citizens in Almaty.

However, the introduction of a state of emergency brings its results. Constitutional legality is being restored throughout the country. Currently, the situation in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nursultan, as well as in the most of the cities of the country is stable. Banking applications are working. There is no shortage of food. All social and medical services are available to the population.

Kazakhstan provides security and protection of foreign diplomatic missions in the country, as well as personnel and property of foreign companies and investors. The situation will soon stabilize, and there will be no changes in the economic policy and investment climate of the country, all our obligations remain in full.

In order to avoid large casualties, do the authorities in Kazakhstan plan to conduct a dialogue with armed persons?

Ambassador: Very often foreign partners call for negotiations on a peaceful solution to problems. Today, law enforcement agencies and the army of Kazakhstan have to deal with armed and trained terrorists, both local and foreign. Therefore, there will be no negotiations with terrorists.

President Tokayev instructed law enforcement agencies to form an investigative group to conduct a large-scale investigation and bring all those responsible to justice. The results of the investigation will be presented to the international community upon its completion.

I would like to note the unity of the people of Kazakhstan in this difficult time. Our citizens support the measures taken by President Tokayev to restore peaceful life and initiate the creation of people’s squads to protect social facilities.

In addition, the decisions of President Tokayev were supported by the heads of international organizations, including the UN, as well as many leaders of foreign countries, including Russia, China, Turkey, Central Asian countries, and etc.

Kazakhstan has recently become a member of the Human Rights Council. As part of the tragic events in Almaty, does Kazakhstan feel some external pressure?

Ambassador: The tragic events in our country highlight the problems of democracy and human rights in a new way. As stated by President Tokayev, only law and order can guarantee the wellbeing of all civilized states, including Kazakhstan.

As the recent tragedy in Almaty demonstrates, violence and anarchy, unlawful actions of criminals and terrorists not only undermine the security of civilians but also lead to violation of fundamental human rights.

Kazakhstan remains committed to the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. We have come a long way to building our state from scratch. And will do all it takes to protect our democracy and our people from any unlawful interference both at home and abroad.

Thank you Ambassador for your interview. For our part, we wish the people of Kazakhstan a speedy stabilization of the situation and peace, prosperity, and success.

The January 15/2022

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