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Aqylbek Muratbai


Aqylbek Muratbai is a Karakalpak human rights defender, community leader and advocate living in exile in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He has been raising awareness about the human rights violations the Uzbekistani authorities committed against the people of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan since July 2022, when the peaceful protests calling for independence commenced in Karakalpakstan, and Uzbek authorities engaged military equipment to suppress the protests. Since 2022, the goal of the Uzbekistani authorities has been to suppress the free expression of the people of Karakalpakstan, including the voices of human rights defenders such as Aqylbek Muratbai. He has been working to support the Karakalpak diaspora in Kazakhstan, as well as providing extensive support to the Karakalpak activists and dissidents, who fled Uzbekistan due to persecution from the Uzbekistani authorities.


Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Kazakhstan are faced with physical and verbal threats, acts of intimidation, judicial harassment, and arbitrary detention; their work continues to be hindered by legislative obstacles that vastly infringe on the rights to freedom of association, assembly, and expression, as well as human rights monitoring and promotion.