Kazakhstan’s Commitment to Human Rights and the Rule of LawExtensive measures to improve human rights in Kazakhstan are set out in two current programs: theNational Human Rights Action Plan for 2009-2012 and the Legal Policy Concept for 2010-2020. As thesepolicy documents are being implemented successfully, Kazakhstan is achieving a more efficient,consistent and coordinated policy on human rights, with the involvement of Government, civil societyand international organizations. Kazakhstanhas already made progress that has brought Kazakhstancloser to EU and OSCE standards, following comprehensive work on the reform of law enforcement andjudicial systems and in the area of human rights protection.The National Human Rights Action Plan for 2009-2012 has been developed jointly with Kazakh andforeign NGOs. The Government is developing a National Human Rights Action Plan for 2013-2020, whichwill be adopted after consultation with civil society.Kazakhstan’s activity in the field of human rights is reinforced by a constructive dialogue with the OSCE(ODIHR) on a number of issues related to enhancing democratic processes in Kazakhstan. The ODIHR’srecommendations are being taken into account and many are being implemented and incorporated intothe texts of legislative regulations.The Government and public organizations in Kazakhstan has also started implementing the guidelines ofthe Social Modernization Program of Kazakhstan, initiated by the Head of State, with a focus on revisinglegislation in the field of social care.In 2011, Kazakhstan chaired a number of authoritative international organzations such as theOrganization of Islamic Cooperation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Kazakhstanis alsoactive within the UN and the OSCE Troika. During Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the OIC a standingCommittee on Human Rights was established. This Committee will now enable us to form a platform fordialogue and the exchange of views and experience on the issues of human rights and freedoms in allmember states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.Kazakhstan has successfully joined fundamental international human rights conventions andagreements, which allow the Government to implement human rights protection mechanisms better.Kazakhstan is pleased to has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council by a vote of the UnitedNations General Assembly. Kazakhstan took up our membership on 1st January 2013 and will sit on theCouncil until 2015. Kazakhstan pledges to lead not only from within the Council, but also at home, toguarantee that universal human rights are protected and observed not just across the globe, but inKazakhstan too.Kazakhstando not see our election to the Council as a badge of honour. Kazakhstansee it as anopportunity to contribute to global efforts to make progress in this crucial field.Kazakhstan has been actively supporting the work of the Human Rights Council. Our Minister of ForeignAffairs takes part in an annual high-level meeting of the Human Rights Council.
One of the hallmarks of the Kazakh OSCE chairmanship in 2010 was the consistent work of theGovernment with civil society and international experts. A clear demonstration of this collaboration wasthe establishment of a Consultative Council on the OSCE Human Dimension in 2010, comprised ofofficials, civil society representatives and international experts from the United Kingdom, United States,Netherlands, Estonia and Germany. Following the completion of the Council’s work, the internationalexperts and civil society representatives expressed their gratitude for the formation of this essentialbody and the possibility of having an open dialogue on the current and anticipated issues in the field ofhuman rights.Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry announced the establishment of a Working Group on the HumanDimension, which includes representatives of Government, political parties, and Kazakh civil society.Kazakhstan also invited representatives and experts from international human rights organizationsaccredited in Kazakhstan to this Group, including the Almaty Helsinki Committee, the KazakhstanInternational Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Freedom House, NDI and others.The first meeting of the Working Group on Human Dimension took place at the Ministry of ForeignAffairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan on January 14, 2013. Importance of human rights issues andaffirmative work experience at the OSCE Consultative Council on Human Dimension under Kazakhstan’sMinistry of Foreign Affairs, which was functioning in the year of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in theOrganization, were the reasons to convene the Working Group on Human Dimension. As a platform fordialogue between government agencies and public sector, the working group might also be helpful inKazakhstan’s UN Human Rights Council membership activity starting from January 1, 2013.The session included representatives from government agencies, Parliament and political parties,domestic and foreign NGOs. Among attendees were Adviser to the President of KazakhstanYermukhametYertisbayev, Commissioner for Human Rights AskarShakirov, Executive Secretary of theMinistry of Culture and Information ZhannaKurmangaliyeva, Member of Mazhilis (the LoKazakhstanrChamber) of the Parliament AigulSolovyeva, Secretary of the Commission on Human Rights under thePresident of Kazakhstan TastemirAbishev, prominent human rights activists – ZaureshBattalova,YevgenyZhovtis, VitaliyVoronov, Sergey Zlotnikov, Tamara Kaleeva, BakhytTumenova,ZhemysTurmagambetova, NinelFokina and others.The meeting was an open dialogue with representatives of NGOs on human rights issues. Minister ofForeign Affairs ErlanIdrissov opened the meeting by emphasizing the growing importance of humandimension in implementation of Kazakshtan’s national policy. It is no coincidence that the head of statein his Address to the nation on December 14, 2012 underlined the importance of focusing all our effortsto increase the quality of human potential in Kazakhstan. Idrissov urged members of the session toconduct a constructive dialogue on key issues of the agenda and asked representatives of thegovernment bodies and non-governmental organizations to learn to «listen and hear each other».Director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law YevgenyZhovtisexpressed solidarity with this call, and mentioned that the increase in the living standards in our country
is the common goal for both the state institutions and the civil sector. He emphasized that it is necessaryto move from "opposition of individuals" to "competition of the arguments" in order to ensure development of a more constructive dialogue between the government bodies andNGOs.Adviser to the President of Kazakhstan YermukhametYertisbayev mentioned recent substantive growthin the number of NGOs registered in Kazakhstan. From his point of view, it indicates continuousstrengthening and qualitative development of the civil society in our country. Speaking about thepractical support of the civil sector by the government, Yertisbayev marked that during theindependence years, funding of non-governmental organizations from the republican and local budgetsgrew more than twenty times.Commissioner for Human Rights AskarShakirov on his part pointed out the timeliness of the decision toconvene this Working Group and expressed his hope for a fruitful work in all aspects of the humandimension, including political, economic, cultural and other issues of the human rights area.Participants were all positive with the initiative to form the Working Group. They also introduced anumber of proposals concerning the status and framework of the Group, on allocating the functionsamong the key directions of its activities, and as a result developing "esprit de corps" in order to achievetangible results.Over the meeting was a very successful and paved the way for a better constructive dialogue betweenthe Government and Kazakh and foreign human rights NGOs on issues related to the implementation ofinternational human rights agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights, as well as the promotion of cooperation with OSCE institutions in the area of human rights. Thisstep, in our view, is consistent with the spirit of the Astana OSCE Declaration, unanimously adopted bythe Heads of 56 participating OSCE States in December 2010.Kazakhstan is committed to continuing efforts to ensure that legislative and law enforcement practicesconform to international standards, and to guarantee the domestic tools of human rights protection.Kazakhstanhas also moved quickly to tackle the underlying economic, social and human rights issuesexposed by the shocking unrest in Zhanaozen a year ago. Over the last year, Kazakhstanhas worked toimprove labor and employment conditions in Zhanaozen and introduced new legislation aimed ataddressing the wider problems highlighted by the tragedy to ensure that events like this don’t happenagain.