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Briefing paper on torture and ill-treatment in Kazakhstan for EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogue

The authorities of Kazakhstan have implemented some significant positive steps in recent years in the area of torture prevention and eradication, but we are concerned that torture and other forms of ill-treatment are continuing and impunity is still the norm. We would like to call on the EU aknowldge these positive steps, but not to stop emphasizing the need for further reform on the backdrop of recent reforms.

These are the key positive steps made by Kazakhstan in recent years:

  •  Kazakhstan’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) was established under the Ombudsman’s office in 2013 and started visiting detention facilities across the country in March 2014. In May 2015 it issued its first Consolidated Report.
  • When Kazakhstan’s new Criminal Code came into force in January 2015, the country abolished the statute of limitations applicable to the offence of torture and excluded torturers from prisoners amnesties.
  • Legal safeguards pertaining to detainees in pre-trial detention were strengthened in the new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) that also came into force in January 2015.

This briefing that was jointly prepared by the NGO Coalition against Torture in Kazakhstan and International Partnership for Human Rights highlights our main concerns in the following areas:

1) implementation of fundamental legal safeguards,
2) investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment,
3) implementation of the Istanbul Protocol (medical),
4) implementation of UN treaty body decisions on individual cases,
5) the National Preventive Mechanism.

Key Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture and our own recommendations are included at the end of each thematic chapter. In those cases where Kazakhstan accepted a recommendation in the course of the October 2014 Universal Periodic Review, that coincides with one of our priority recommendations, a reference to this is included in the section on recommendations.

In the annex to this briefing you find two individual case that illustrate some of the concerns mentioned in the thematic chapters of the briefing. We urge the EU to raise these cases during the upcoming Human Rights Dialogue on 27 November with Kazakhstan authorities. Since January 2015, the NGO Coalition against Torture in Kazakhstan has registered 67 new cases of men, women and children who allege to have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. In its November 2014 Concluding Observations the Committee against Torture pointed out that less than two per cent of torture complaints led to prosecutions and we believe that the situation remains largely unchanged.

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