Date: April 20, 2018
In a crackdown on religious freedom in Kazakhstan, the Religious Affairs Department in the west of the country is demanding the personal details of all those under 18 years of age who attend Christian meetings.
Registered churches were ordered to submit by 10 April 2018 the full names, ages, places of study and state-assigned identification numbers of all people under 18 who attend meetings. A government official admitted that the demand for personal data, "was not sent to Muslims … just to Christians”.
At the time of writing, churches have refused to give in to the demand from the Religious Affairs Department.
In the last year, Kazakh authorities have clamped down on Christians’ religious freedom.
The country is around 70% Muslim with a large Christian minority, estimated at 26%. The secular government requires churches to register, although most evangelical congregations find it very difficult to get registration and therefore meet unofficially, at risk of potential fines or imprisonment.