For a second time this year, Irish GUE/NGL MEP Paul Murphy has been denied a visa to travel to Kazakhstan, where he was meant to head a delegation of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group in the European Parliament.
For press releases on the return to Kazakhstan today of opposition movement leader, Esenbek Ukteshbayev, see Campaign Kazakhstan here
For a second time this year, Irish GUE/NGL MEP Paul Murphy has been denied a visa to travel to Kazakhstan, where he was meant to head a delegation of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group in the European Parliament. He comments:
“There can be no doubt that the refusal to grant me a visa to Kazakhstan is politically motivated. I am deeply concerned, although not entirely surprised, about these developments. They are in line with the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Kazakhstan. Why are the Kazakh authorities so worried about a Member of the European Parliament trying to speak to victims of the Zhanaozen tragedy? Why are they worried about me trying to speak to political prisoners, Vladimir Kozlov and Roza Tuletaeva?
"Why are they so keen on preventing me from meeting with trade unionists, opposition activists and to bring their stories to life in the European Parliament? These are the key questions I want to be answered.
"The behaviour of the Kazakh government in denying me a visa once again is intolerable. I will be expressing my dissatisfaction to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz and, the High Representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, and will ask them to intervene."
Notes to Editors:
Paul Murphy was meant to head a delegation of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament. The delegation was to take place against the background of the deterioration of human rights in this Central Asian country. The delegation intended to visit political opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov as well as leading strike activist Roza Tuletaeva in prison. Both face long prison sentences as a result of their involvement and support for the oil workers’ strike in the west of Kazakhstan. Oil workers were engaged in an eight month long strike in 2011; in December 2011 oil workers and their supporters were brutally attacked by Kazakhstan state forces and at least 17 people were killed.
The delegation was invited by the Almatinskaya Association of Trade Unions “ODAK” and other civil society organisations.
As a result of being denied a visa in April 2012, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament sent a letter to the Kazakh Ministry for Foreign Affairs, expressing his concerns:
“There have been occasions when Members [of the EP] have not met with any response from the Kazakh Embassy in Brussels, and were not able to get a visa or reply at all… I hope that MEPs may be permitted to carry out their legitimate business without encountering this problem again in the future”.
Those concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears as also this time round, no explanation was given by the Kazakh embassy in Brussels as to why no visa was issued.
Paul Murphy MEP visited Kazakhstan at the height of the oil workers strike in July 2011. He defended their right to strike and expressed support for their demands.
As a response to Mr Murphy´s visit and public support for the oil workers, the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan declared "its right to declare [Mr Murphy] as ’persona non-grata’" in a communication addressed to the EU Delegation in Kazakhstan.
At the next Plenary Session of the Parliament in Strasbourg, Parliament will discuss the European Parliament´s recommendations to the European Council, European Commission and the European External Action Service on the negotiations for an enhanced EU – Kazakhstan partnership and cooperation Agreement. The Recommendations include strong provisions on human rights.