On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Kazakhstan.

Strongly denouncing the widespread acts of violence that followed the peaceful protests in Kazakhstan that began on 2 January, Parliament urges Kazakh authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and immediately release arbitrarily detained demonstrators and activists.

Condemning President Tokayev’s inflammatory rhetoric, including his general portrayal of the protesters as ‘terrorists’, MEPs want the Kazakh authorities to refrain from bringing forward terrorism charges ‘on the basis of overly broad interpretations of the term’ and to distinguish between peaceful protesters and those using violence and committing crimes.

Parliament demands a proper international investigation into the crimes committed against the people of Kazakhstan. It also urges the Kazakh government to consider setting up a permanent working group under the OSCE’s auspices to assess whether the unrest was a result of foreign interference or internal power struggles, and to address the root cause of the unrest.

Noting President Tokayev’s announcement of socioeconomic and political reforms, MEPs encourage the government to improve citizens’ living standards and tackle discontent. According to MEPs, Kazakhstan needs urgent reforms to fight corruption and reduce rising inequality.

The text was adopted by 589 votes in favour, 35 against and 47 abstentions.