Astana (Agenzia Fides) - The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has recently signed the decree ordering the establishment of a Ministry for religious and civil affairs. The text of the decree, published on the website of the Kazakh Presidency, clarifies that the new department will also have the task of caring for relations with religious communities and ensure the rights of citizens to freedom of conscience. The new body will be given the powers previously exercised by the Ministries of Culture and Sports, and the management of specific initiatives addressed to young people, previously entrusted to the Ministry of Education and Science. Former Presidential adviser Nurlan Yermekbayev has been placed at the head of the new Ministry.
The Kazakh population (17 and a half million inhabitants) consists of: 70 percent Muslims, 25% Christians (mostly Orthodox Russians, with Catholics amounting to 1.15 per cent) and 5 % Buddhists. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 14/09/2016).