Kazakhstan's National Preventive Mechanism: One Year to Implementation

Monday, November 17, 2008
The recent ratification by Kazakhstan of the OPCAT triggered the beginning of the one-year deadline by which the country should establish or designate its National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). In order to prompt a national discussion about Kazakhstan's NPM several interested organisations co-sponsored a meeting on this issue on 20 November in the capital, Astana. While various possible NPM structures were discussed, a sizeable number of the participants appeared to be of the opinion that a so-called 'Ombudsperson plus' model might be the most applicable for the Kazakhstan context.

Date:
20 November 2008
Place:
Astana, Kazakhstan
Purpose:
To promote the effective implementation of the OPCAT in Kazakhstan.
Activities:
Kazakhstan's much anticipated ratification of the OPCAT on 22 October 2008 triggered the beginning of the one-year deadline by which the country should establish or designate its National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). In order to prompt a national discussion about Kazakhstan's NPM several interested organisations co-sponsored a one-day round-table meeting on this issue on 20 November in the capital, Astana. These included the Representative Office of OHCHR in Central Asia, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Embassy of the Republic of Germany in Kazakhstan, Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Freedom House, National Centre for Human Rights and the APT.
Outcome:

Approximately 40 representatives from the government, civil society and the so-called national anti-torture working group attended the meeting. This latter thirteen-person body was established earlier in 2008 under the auspices of the Commissioner for Human Rights or Ombudsman's Office to examine the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in the country, including the implementation of the OPCAT. The working group comprises representatives from the Ministries of Justice and Interior, Prosecutor's Office, Committee of National Security, Commission for Human Rights, National Centre for Human Rights as well as three NGOs.

It is hoped that the event succeeded in facilitating the OPCAT-related activities of the working group as well as wider civil society and conveyed to the various representatives how the OPCAT is being realized in practice by other countries. While various possible NPM structures deemed appropriate for Kazakhstan were discussed during the meeting, a sizeable number of the participants appeared to be of the opinion that a so-called 'Ombudsperson plus' model might be the most applicable for the Kazakhstan context. It is envisaged that this discussion will continue in the coming months.

The APT will continue to monitor developments in the country concerning the designation or establishment of the NPM.


On 3 June 2008 the Senate, the upper house in the Kazakh parliament, passed legislation to ratify the OPCAT, which was approved by President Nazarbayev on 25 June 2008. On 22 October 2008, Kazakhstan formally became a State Party to the OPCAT.

Documents:
Agenda (Russian)
Contact Person:

Matthew Pringle, Europe & Central Asia Programme Officer