This week, on Thursday 30 October 2014, the human rights situation in Kazakhstan will be scrutinized in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council. This will be the second time that Kazakhstan is reviewed under the UPR since this state peer review mechanism was launched in 2008. The first review of Kazakhstan took place in 2010.
Kazakhstani NGOs have been actively involved in the process leading up to the new UPR. Kazakhstani NGO coalitions have prepared several joint written submissions for the review, in which they draw attention to current human rights concerns in Kazakhstan, assess the efforts made by the Kazakhstani government in follow-up to the last review, and provide recommendations for steps the government should be asked to take to improve its human rights record. These submissions include three joint submissions that address, respectively, civil and political rights, economic and social rights and the rights of vulnerable groups, and rule of law issues.
The joint UPR reports by Kazakhstani NGOs are available here
See summary of key points and recommendations in the joint UPR report on civil and political rights
See summary of key points and recommendations in the joint UPR report on economic and social rights and the rights of vulnerable groups
See overview of recommendations in the joint UPR report on rule of law issues
In addition to preparing their own submissions, Kazakhstani NGOs have participated in consultations held by the Kazakhstani government in relation to the drafting of the official, national UPR report. Government officials have also been invited to public UPR hearings organized by civil society. NGOs have, however, expressed disappointment that the government’s UPR report does not reflect their concerns.
At the beginning of October, Kazakhstani NGO representatives took part in a pre-UPR session event for UN member state missions organized by the NGO UPR-Info in Geneva. At this well-attended event, they briefed members of the diplomatic community on major trends in human rights protection in Kazakhstan since the first UPR review. In connection with the pre-session, meetings were also held with individual UN member state missions to provide further information.
See statement made by Yevgeniy Zhovtis, chairman of the board of Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, at the pre-UPR session in Geneva.
The UPR involves a regular review of the human rights record of all UN member states on the basis of information provided by the states themselves, information from UN human rights bodies, as well as information from civil society organizations and other stake-holders. Both member and observer states of the Human Rights Council can take part in an inter-active exchange with the state under scrutiny and make recommendations. Reviews end with the adoption of an outcome report that summarizes the discussion at the relevant session and lists the recommendations addressed to the state being reviewed.
During the UPR review in 2010, Kazakhstan received a total of 128 recommendations, out of which it accepted 121. A mid-term assessment prepared by Kazakhstani NGOs in late 2012 showed that most of these recommendations were fully or partially unimplemented.
International Partnership for Human Rights has provided assistance to Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law and its national partners on UPR-related advocacy, as part of joint projects implemented by the two organizations.