A website for LGBT teenagers was blocked in Kazakhstan

Февраль 22, 2024
Логотип ECOM для новостей, a website for LGBT+ teenagers that contained materials on health, relationships, and acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity, has been blocked in Kazakhstan. News about this appeared on February 12, 2024 in the register of the portal of the Ministry of Culture and Information. The register notes that access to the site has been restricted due to the “posting of information harmful to the health, and moral and spiritual development of children.”

The Information Committee of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan notes that the Internet resource violates the norms of the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan “on mass media”, “on the rights of the child in the Republic of Kazakhstan”, and “on the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development”.

The provisions of the laws mentioned by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan do not contain a prohibition on the provision of information regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. 

  • states in Article 1, that the Republic of Kazakhstan is a democratic state governed by the rule of law, the highest values of which are the person, his life, rights and freedoms;
  • guarantees in Article 14, the right to be free from discrimination, which is under threat here, in addition to restrictions on freedom of speech and information;
  • protects in Article 20, the right to freely receive and disseminate information in any way not prohibited by law, which is being violated as a result of the actions of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Republic of Kazakhstan has signed and ratified the main international documents guaranteeing human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees every person, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender identity, equal rights and freedoms, including the rights to information, freedom of speech, and freedom of peaceful assembly. The actions of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan has led to a violation of these rights and freedoms. Furthermore, blocking the website significantly contradicts the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which promotes the freedom of children to access information. It also provides the opportunity to develop appropriate principles for protecting children from information and materials harmful to their well-being, taking into account the principle of parental responsibility for raising a child and the emphasized subsidiary and supportive role of the state (Articles 13, 17, 18, 29 of the Convention).

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed its views on the ineffectiveness of laws “prohibiting propaganda” as a tool for protecting children. During the consideration of the periodic reports of the Russian Federation in January 2014, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the Russian authorities “repeal its laws prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality and ensure that children who belong to LGBTI groups or children from LGBTI families are not subjected to any forms of discrimination by raising the public’s awareness of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity”1.  This prohibition, which targets and stigmatizes LGBT people, also applies to children who are LGBT or live in families with LGBT parents or relatives. It violates their rights to freedom of expression, family life, safety and well-being, as well as their right to health, and exposes them to discrimination. The Ministry’s action also violates the right of all children to receive necessary information, including critical information about sexual health and rights. 

It should be noted that in 2018, the Ministry of Information and Communication of the Republic of Kazakhstan initiated the draft bill “Rules and Methods for Assigning Age Classification to Informational Production”, including a rule prohibiting the dissemination of “demonstrations of the culture of the LGBT community” among children under 18 years of age. Through the efforts of the human rights, journalistic and activist community of Kazakhstan and the international human rights community, including UN bodies, this provision was successfully removed.

ECOM condemns the blocking of the website by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and calls on the country's authorities to restore the violated rights. 

1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of the Russian Federation, CRC/C/RUS/CO/4-5, 31 January 2014,


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