WARSAW, September 14, 2018 - The annual meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights was launched on September 10 in Warsaw, to review recent human rights reforms globally.
The agenda of the meeting is quite extensive and includes such relevant and topical human rights issues as the provision of basic human rights and freedoms, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, freedom of speech and the media, freedom of assembly, religious and national minorities, democratic elections, gender equality, and combating human trafficking.
The Warsaw meeting is the largest and most representative event within the Organisation's humanitarian agenda - every year about one thousand non-governmental organisations and national delegations from 57 OSCE member states take part in it.
The Kazakh delegation consists of representatives of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, the Central Election Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Prosecutor General's Office.
The first two days of the meeting were devoted to the role of democratic institutions, including at the national, regional and local levels, holding democratic and open elections in the OSCE area, and ensuring freedom of the media.
The participants of the event in Warsaw exchanged views on relevant issues related to the topics of the first days of the meeting, and got acquainted with the experience of the partner countries on this topic.
In his speech, Ambassador-at-Large of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhalgas Adilbayev noted that Kazakhstan is committed to observing the rule of law at the national and international levels, especially in keeping international peace and security. He noted that Kazakhstan has become a full-fledged actor of international law and a participant in more than sixty multilateral universal international human rights treaties, including seven main universal human rights conventions of the United Nations, the so-called “international instruments for the protection of human rights”. The Kazakh diplomat stressed that “the key role in the national system for the protection of human rights is played by non-governmental human rights organisations. At the same time, the state policy of Kazakhstan is aimed at developing and supporting the activities of civil society institutions.”
The Dialogue Platform on Human Dimension Consultative and Advisory Body (CAB) has been permanently operating since 2013 based on Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry, and was noted as an example of the fruitful work carried out by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the field of cooperation with non-governmental organisations. The main participants of this body are the leaders of human rights NGOs and the heads of state agencies. In this context, Mr. Adilbayev said that since 2013, more than 20 CAB meetings have been held, more than 100 recommendations were developed and adopted for implementation, and another 50 recommendations of international human rights organisations and civil society representatives were selected by the Government of Kazakhstan to improve national legislation and law enforcement practice, resulting in the development of 50 road maps for implementation.
Zauresh Baimoldina, member of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan, spoke about the modernization of Kazakhstan's electoral legislation in accordance with international standards, which is primarily aimed at “further improving certain legal norms and institutions of the electoral process, including based on the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations.”
Mikhail Komissarov, representative of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Information and Communication, noted in his remarks that Kazakhstan takes consistent steps under its international commitments to ensure the respect of citizens' rights to freedom of speech and expression. Large-scale work is being carried out to modernise the national media landscape, develop a strong and competitive national media, and develop a dialogue between the state, society, and professional participants in the media market.
Kazakhstan's civil society actively participated in the meeting as well. On the sidelines of the forum, they self-initiated a number of events devoted to various topics in accordance with the meeting agenda.
The two-week event will end on September 21, with stock-taking, reviewing the situation in the humanitarian dimension in the OSCE area, and making specific recommendations for the participants.