On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations in Kazakhstan. However, Hungary’s ruling parties, Fidesz and the Christian Democrats, did not participate in the vote. In a later statement, they said that the Kazakh authorities had already launched an official investigation into national security and that “it would therefore be disrespectful to make hasty statements in the form of a resolution that was drafted only a few hours ago.”
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
The European Parliament issued a joint statement strongly condemning the violence that erupted after peaceful demonstrations in Kazakhstan on Jan. 2nd. The EP called on the Kazakh government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to immediately release the protesters and activists who were arbitrarily detained.
The representatives also condemned the “inflammatory rhetoric” of President Kazim Zomart Tokayev, who has called the protesters “terrorists.” Parliament also called on Kazakh authorities to refrain from prosecuting individuals based on an “overly broad interpretation of the term” and to distinguish between peaceful protesters and those using violence and committing crimes.
The EP demanded a proper international investigation into the crimes committed against the people of Kazakhstan as well. They urged 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 called on 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 joint resolution was adopted by 589 votes in favor, 35 against, and 47 abstentions.
At the same time, Christian Democrat (KDNP) MEP György Hölvényi reacted to the resolution in a message sent to the Hungarian News Agency (MTI). He wrote that Kazakh authorities had already launched an official national security investigation and that it would therefore be disrespectful to make hasty statements in the form of a resolution drafted just hours ago “to judge a country that has come a long way.”
“Violations have been committed, the perpetrators of violence must be condemned, but every country has the right to settle its own internal conflicts. So we must wait for the end of the Kazakh investigation,” wrote the MEP.
In connection with the events in Kazakhstan, Péter Szijjártó said over a week ago that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had offered help to the “attacked” Kazakh state. The next day, he also stated that in his opinion, human rights activists had no business in the country, where hundreds of people had been killed and thousands imprisoned as a result of the demonstrations.
This is not the first time when the MEPs of the Hungarian ruling parties decided to be absent from the vote of a joint resolution that condemn the political leadership of some countries. This is exactly what happened when the EP criticized China or Russia.
The protests in Kazakhstan began after a sudden sharp increase in liquefied gas prices following the lifting of a government-enforced price cap. Thousands protested against the decision in the country, but the political leadership responded with great brutality and asked Russia for help.
Featured photo via the press office of the Russian Ministry of Defence/EPA/MTI