Kazakh Institute Requests Personal Information on Minors from Selected Churches
ICC Note: An institute in Kazakhstan has requested selected Christian places of worship to provide the personal data of anyone under the age of 18 who attends worship. It is unclear why certain churches were selected, why the request was made, and if places of worship will be punished for refusing to provide the data. Generally, the data of children under the age of 18 can only be released with the permission of the parents.
04/12/2018 Kazakhstan (Forum 18) – 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).
A Deputy Head of the Religious Affairs Committee in the capital Astana, Balgabek Myrzayev, claimed to Forum 18 he knew nothing about the letter. He refused to say whether such a demand for personal data on people under 18 without their parents’ or guardians’ permission is legal or not (see below).
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