The oil-rich nation of Kazakhstan “heavily restricts freedom of assembly, speech and religion,” stated a recent annual Human Rights Watch World Report. According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Kazakhstan, psychiatric abuses are also rampant. Because of the country’s lax commitment procedures, psychiatrists regularly drugged citizens without informed consent and locked them up in psych wards. But since CCHR was established in Almaty in 2010, the abuses began to subside, largely through the efforts of Executive Director and attorney Aliya Abdinova.
Abdinova launched a public information campaign in regions surrounding major psychiatric institutions. Reports of abuse began flowing in to CCHR, who intervened on patients’ behalf, protecting their rights and freedoms by submitting the damning paperwork to the prosecutor’s office, the courts and the hospitals—and sending details to the media. To date, CCHR Kazakhstan has informed some 14 million people that “the worse the diagnosis, the bigger the budget for psychiatric installations,” said Abdinova.