Update to KKT26666.E of 5 May 1997 on the rights of women to seek protection from domestic violence through the courts, laws, government agencies and women's organizations, shelters and other means [KKT32736.E]

Recent information on the recourses available to women who are victims of domestic violence in Kazakhstan is scarce.

However, a 7 March 1998 AFP report quotes local feminist groups as saying that more that 60 per cent of women in Kazakhstan had been subjected to physical violence and sexual assault and that one-third of Kazakh families had been affected. The director of the Crisis Centre for Women and Children in Almaty (NEWW Website), psychologist Guldan Tlyegenova, is quoted as saying that women in Kazakhstan had lost the legal protection offered to them under the Soviet Union and during which they could confront their husbands at workers' committee meetings. Since that time, women had been denied help from local police and many judges (ibid.). Tlyegenova is also reported to have said that under the prevailing patriarchal system, violence against women was more frequent and could often be horrible.

According to the AFP report, the Crisis Centre for Women and Children, registered in Almaty in early March 1998, was the first of its kind in Kazakhstan and the fourth operating in Central Asia. The Centre was at the time housed temporarily in a one room office and had only one hotline. Eight volunteers provided free and "confidential legal help" to abused women (ibid.). The report also states that women's groups were putting pressure on government to sign the convention on women's rights and to introduce legislation to protect women and punish abusive husbands.

A 5 March 1999 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency report quotes Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev as saying at a meeting with members of the national commission for women and family affairs in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, that "paramount attention" should be given to women not only because they are "the best part of Kazakhstan, but because everything depends on women in these difficult times." The report also states that a special sub-unit to protect women from violence had been set up at the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the initiative of the head of state.

For further information on violence against women and the status of women in general in Kazakhstan, please refer to undated articles provided in a bulletin on the UNDP Gender in Development in Kazakhstan (GID) Webpage located at http://www.undp.uz/GID/eng/KAZAKHSTAN/index.html.

No further information on the recourses of women who are victims of domestic violence in Kazakhstan could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 7 March 1998. Heather Clark. "Kazakhstan Women." (NEXIS)

Interfax-Kazkahstan [Almaty, in Russian]. 5 March 1999. "Kazakh President Feels Women Should Be Given More Attention." (BBC Summary 6 Mar. 1999/NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Electronic sources:

Institute for Global communications (IGC) Website, WomensNet.

IRB databases.

Miscellaneous Internet searches.

Network of East-West Women's (NEWW) Website.

Open Society Institute Website, Network Women's Program page.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Website.

Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) Website.

Transitions Online Website.

United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Website.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Website.


Women Watch Website.

Oral sources:

Unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the Crisis Centre for Women and Children in Almaty.