The European External Action Service has replied to a letter from the Open Dialog Foundation addressed, in February 2015, to the High Representative, F. Mogherini. In the context of the enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan, officially initiated on 20 January 2015, the Foundation pointed to the practice of inflicting torture in Kazakh prisons and detention centres. It noted, at the same time, that the NPM is used for propaganda purposes by the country’s authorities and that the system itself requires reform.
The EEAS emphasised that prevention and eradication of all forms of torture and ill-treatment in detention world-wide is a core objective of the European Union’s human rights policy. Hence – as the EEAS argues – the EU is committed to using all available tools of diplomacy including diplomatic partnerships and is monitoring the situation in Kazakhstan closely both from Brussels as well as through the delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan in Astana. At the same time, the External Action Service warrants that the implementation of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) is continued, in support of which it mentions, amongst other things, the number of monitoring visits and NPM’s functional budget of EUR 1 million.
As the EEAS asserts, officials at the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan have received positive feedback from representatives of NGOs engaged in the NPM in relation to the operation of the mechanism. However, opinions have also been voiced about the over- centralisation of the system which was highlighted, inter alia, by the Open Dialog Foundation in its letter. Consequently, the European Union decided to implement a project aimed at providing additional support to the NPM in Kazakhstan. The amount allocated for the project is EUR 76,000. The project is intended, amongst other things, to improve the efficiency of reporting on the results of monitoring in Kazakh prisons.
In conclusion, the EEAS alluded to the Dosmagambetov case and made assurances as regards the continued monitoring of the situation in Kazakhstan and the further implementation of the NPM.