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Kazakhstan Strengthening Cooperation with Council of Europe

Kazakhstan’s Heads of the Commission on Human Rights met with senior delegates from the Council of Europe (COE). The head of COE’s Human Rights Division: “We shall hold joint activities to support the reforms taking place in Kazakhstan”.

Kazakhstan’s Chairman and Secretary of the Commission on Human Rights, Igor Rogov and Tastemir Abishev, met this week in Astana with senior delegates from the Council of Europe, and the European Human Rights Education Program for Legal Professions (“HELP”), Sergey Dikman and Kristina Khokhlova. During the meeting, the parties discussed the protection of human rights at the stage of pre-trial investigation, including the prevention of torture in the law enforcement activities of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as the prospects for cooperation between Kazakhstan’s Commission on Human Rights and European structures.

Welcoming the distinguished European guests, Igor Rogov, the officiating chairman of the commission and Kazakhstan’s former Minister of Justice, noted that systematic work is being carried out across Central Asia’s largest country to protect human rights, including at the stage of pre-trial investigation. The commission receives significant methodological and organizational assistance from the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe promoted the values of Human rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law, and advocates freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities. It also helps EU member states fight corruption and terrorism and undertake necessary judicial reforms. Its group of constitutional experts, known as the Venice Commission, offers legal advice to countries throughout the world. The Council of Europe promotes human rights through international conventions, such as the Convention on Combating Violence against Women, and the Convention on Cybercrime. It monitors member states’ progress in these areas and makes recommendations. The Council of Europe member states no longer apply the death penalty.

The European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) supports the Council of Europe (COE) member states in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) at the national level. This is done by enhancing the capacity of judges, lawyers, and prosecutors in all 46 member states to apply the ECHR in their daily work, and benefit from high-quality training.

The Сouncil of Europe was represented in Astana, this week, by Sergey Dikman, the head of the Human Rights National Implementation Division, and project coordinator, Krystyna Khokhlova. The Kazakh officials included the Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Presidential Commission on Human Rights, Igor Rogov, Secretary of the Human Rights Commission Tastemir Abishev, and Ambassador-at-Large of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Usen Suleimen.

“The Council of Europe experts show great interest in Kazakhstan since we have undergone serious constitutional democratic reforms”, Igor Rogov noted. “Our entire law enforcement activity is being restructured. One of the problems we are facing, which is intolerable nowadays, is the violation of the law in the early stages of the criminal process. And first and foremost, of course, is a shameful fact as torture. The HELP program is doing a lot of work on preparing special training programs for law enforcement officers in Kazakhstan. The task of our legal system is to develop mechanisms and a system that prevents the very possibility of violating the legality of the use of torture and other unlawful methods.

According to the Directorate for Human Rights and the Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, Sergei Dikman, this visit to Astana takes place against the backdrop of strengthening cooperation between the Council of Europe and Kazakhstan. “This is not our first visit to Kazakhstan”, he noted. “We are implementing a regional program in which we work with representatives of the legal professions in all countries of Central Asia. A Consulate General of the Republic of Kazakhstan is operating at the headquarters of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg. Deputy Foreign Minister, Roman Vasilenko, was on a working visit to the Council of Europe lately. We hope that this year we will be able to hold several joint events”.

The delegation of the Council of Europe plans to meet with the leadership of Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republican Bar Association, the Kazakh Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as scientists and teachers of the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Academy of Justice under the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. “We are implementing a program called the Central Asia Rule of Law in which we work with representatives of legal professions in all countries of Central Asia”, Sergei Dikman Concluded. “The current visit to Astana takes place in the context of expanded collaboration between Kazakhstan and the Council of Europe. We hope to hold several joint activities that will support the reforms that are taking place in Kazakhstan.”




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