Ahead of vote to pick the host for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Human Rights Watch has called out Kazakhstan on it’s anti-gay treatment.
HRW recently released a 31 page document, discussing how LGBT people in Kazakhstan are living in a “climate of fear”, facing regular hostility and discrimination – even though homosexuality has been legal in the country since 1998.
The document, titled “That’s When I Realized I was Nobody”, notes how the country’s homophobia is deeply rooted in it’s soviet background and yet is still clearly noticeable today.
The group want to “hold Kazakhstan accountable for the values enshrined in the Olympic Charter” in light of their bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
In May the country threw out an anti-gay bill which banned “promotion” of homosexuality – similar to a Russian bill in 2013 – as an action to protect minors.
The bill was taken down as it was “not in line with the constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan”, however it’s previous drafts still got passed through the senate.
This isn’t the first time Kazakhstan has been accused of homophobia.
In 2014, the Mayor of the country’s capital Astana claimed that the media had been “promoting homosexuality” and “brainwashing” children.
HRW and many celebrities – such as Martina Navratilova – stood against the bill, urging the International Olympic Committee to reject the country’s bid to host the 2022 games. Other countries in the running include Beijing and Almaty.