Statement on potential attempts to discredit the Open Dialog Foundation and its staff

  • 19.04.2012
  • Author:

18.04.2012, Lublin

The staff of the Open Dialog Foundation hereby informs about potential attempts, made by  the Kazakh government to discredit the Foundation in order to eliminate this organisation as one of the sources of independent information about the situation on human rights and media freedom in Kazakhstan.

Such concerns have arisen on the basis of repeated warnings made by the partners of the Foundation, as well as on the statements of Mr. Erik Utembaev during meetings with representatives of the European Commission and European Parliament on "disinforming European Community" by activists of the Foundation.

In the past months, the Open Dialog Foundation and its Brussels partners - international human rights organisations, namely: Open Society Institute, Human Rights Watch, EUCAM, as well as a wide range of representatives of civil societies of Kazakhstan, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine, have been actively involved in the preparation of the initiative of the joint Resolution of the European Parliament. One of the main activities of the Foundation is continuous monitoring and disseminating information about the level of compliance with fundamental principles of human rights and freedom of speech in Kazakhstan.

In April 2012, Mr. Utembaev will step down from his post of the Head of the Representative Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the European Union and will take the post of the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Republic of Poland.

This decision of the central authority in Astana may be caused by the cooling in relations between the EU and Kazakhstan after the joint resolution of all political groups in the European Parliament of Kazakhstan was issued on the 15th of March, 2012. The main content of the document is an appeal directed to the government of Kazakhstan to give up the use of force and oppression in its communication with the civil society and to observe international commitments made earlier, as well as to conduct a transparent investigation of the tragedy in Zhanaozen and to release political prisoners. It is obvious that deposing Mr. Utembaev from his post as the Head of the Representative Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the European Union, and his appointment to the post of the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Republic of Poland, is, in fact, a decrease of his diplomatic status.

Taking into account the above, the Open Dialog Foundation hereby kindly requests that any efforts to disseminate information which dicsredits the activities of the Foundation be reported to:odfoundation@odfoundation.eu. Also, the organisation appeals not to give in to provocations. 

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