On 17 February 2020, we arranged a visit of Kazakhstani human rights defenders, Bota Jardemalie and Dana Zhanay, to the European Parliament in order to attend an exchange of views with DCAS members on the situation of human rights in Kazakhstan prior to the 17th EU – Kazakhstan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) meeting in Nur-Sultan on 25-27 February. The roundtable discussion provided a rich exchange of views between the MEPs and members of civil society and NGOs.
One of the speakers, Tinatin Tsertsvadze, from the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), highlighted that the new Criminal Code of Kazakhstan contains vaguely defined articles which restrict the freedom of assembly and of expression, criminalising peaceful protesters. Bota Jardemalie, a human rights lawyer from Kazakhstan and political refugee in Belgium, called upon the MEPs to keep pressuring the Kazakhstani government to prevent further abuses of mutual legal assistance mechanisms with democratic countries, including EU Member States, safeguarding human rights guarantees of political refugees.
Dana Zhanay, a young representative of the Qaharman movement, presented a report prepared by Qaharman together with ODF, the Italian Federation for Human Rights and other NGOs, highlighting the lack of implementation by Kazakhstan of the EP resolution recommendations adopted on 14 March 2019. So far, Kazakhstan implemented only 2 out of 20 of them. Finally, members of DCAS, MEPs Róża Thun (Poland; EPP) and Atidzhe Alieva-Veli (Bulgaria; Renew Europe) assured that the MEPs visiting Kazakhstan will engage in dialogue with human rights activists on the ground, instead of the so-called GONGOs which promote the government’s policies.
We also had the opportunity to meet MEPs Isabel Santos (Portugal; S&D) and Marie Arena (Belgium; S&D) after the DROI meeting “Authoritarianism and shrinking space for freedom of expression”. We reminded members of DROI of the need to put a follow up to the resolution of 14 March 2019 on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan (2019/2610(RSP)) on the agenda.
- A New Resolution of the European Parliament Urges Kazakhstan to Put an End to All Forms of Political Repression (March 21, 2019)
- “Attacks on the Legal Profession and Lawyers Defending Human Rights” – an Event at the European Parliament (February 20, 2019)
Read our reports:
- “List of Kazakhstani Political Prisoners and Other Politically Prosecuted Persons (updated)” (November 4, 2019)
- “Servants of the Regime: Who Prosecutes Peaceful Protesters in Kazakhstan” (September 3, 2019)
- “Kazakhstan: A Dialogue or Bluff? – How Kazakhstan Fulfills the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2019 on the Human Rights Situation in the Country (2019/2610(RSP)”