- Religious Freedom
A Kazakh regional Religious Affairs Department has demanded the personal data of everyone under 18 who attends Christian meetings for worship. “It was not sent to Muslims, for example, just to Christians, and selectively”, an official stated. She refused to explain what “selectively” means.
A research institute attached to the Religious Affairs Department of West Kazakhstan Region instructed some local registered religious communities to submit by 10 April full names, ages, place of study and personal state-assigned numbers of all people under the age of 18 who come to meetings for worship. The official who sent the letter claimed to Forum 18 the information is needed for “monitoring”. Kazakh human rights defenders have expressed concern about the move.
“It was not sent to Muslims, for example, just to Christians, and selectively”, an official stated. She refused to explain what “selectively” means (see below).
After the deadline expired, the official who issued the instruction told Forum 18 that five religious leaders who replied had all refused to supply the personal data. “We accepted this,” he claimed. He added that he would apologise to them “verbally”, but defended his original instruction seeking the information (see below).