ASTANA, Kazakhstan – The Kazakh government has formed a working group to fully develop a National Action Plan on human rights for 2008-2011, and it met for the first time today. The group will consist of rights experts from government and public human rights institutes across the country.
According to Yerlan Karin, the head Internal policy department of the Presidential Administration, “Kazakhstan has ratified a number of international documents in the sphere of human rights. Several international regulatory acts are planned to be ratified as well. The work of the state bodies in this direction is among priority ones in the activity of all state bodies.”
Kazakhstan’s human rights record has been in the spotlight often, especially since the country was named chair-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in November 2007. Many human rights organizations criticized the appointment, claiming that it undermined the integrity of the OSCE’s human rights principles because Kazakhstan does not meet its own human rights obligations. Some of the criticisms state that Kazakhstan has not held a fair election, its media is dominated by loyalists, and libel is still a criminal defense often used against independent journalists.
The Kazakh government states that it has been attempting to make changes, but human rights critics claim that they do not see results and they watch the country closely. For that reason, the National Action Plan developed by today’s working group will likely be widely critiqued and regularly monitored.
For more information, please see:
Human Rights Watch – Kazakhstan: OSCE Chairmanship Undeserved – 30 November 2007
Kazinform – National Action Plan in the field of human rights for 2008-2011 discussed in Astana – 26 March 2008