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Briefing paper on torture and other ill-treatment European Union Advocacy Meetings

In recent years the authorities of Kazakhstan have made progress in their fight against torture. However, in November 2014 the United Nations (UN) Committee against Torture raised concern about persistent allegations of torture and ill-treatment and deplored ongoing impunity. Continued international attention and political will of the Kazakhstani authorities are needed to achieve lasting results.Positive steps the authorities have taken in recent years include the setting up of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) in 2013, which started visiting detention facilities across the country in March 2014, the abolition of the statute of limitations applicable to the offence of torture and the
exclusion of torturers from prisoners amnesties in Kazakhstan’s new Criminal Code that came into force in January 2015. 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. However, legislative measures have not always translated into practice and the NGO Coalition against Torture in Kazakhstan recorded between 350 and 400 complaints of torture and other forms of illtreatment in Kazakhstan annually in 2013 and 2014. By early April 2015 the Coalition against Torture
had registered 25 cases involving allegations of torture or other ill-treatment since the beginning of 2015. Some of these cases relate to several individuals claiming to have been tortured. In its November 2014 concluding observations the Committee against Torture pointed out that less than two per cent of torture complaints led to prosecutions.

This briefing focuses on three key areas that continue to be of concern to the human rights organizations issuing this briefing: 1) the authorities’ failure to ensure access of detainees to fundamental legal safeguards in all cases; 2) the lack of an independent investigation mechanism; and
3) the lack of legislation that would grant all torture victims reparations including compensation. At the end of the briefing we make three recommendations on how to tackle these key concerns that, if implemented, would significantly reduce incidents of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in the country.

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