Kazakh civil society prepares for upcoming UPR

Published on 25 Feb 2019, 09:40 AM

The Centre organized several trainings for Kazakh civil society, focusing on the UPR and the Human Rights Committee, and participated in a round table with government.

Cover page of UPR-Report on civil and political rights submitted by the NGO coalition with the support of the Centre

Kazakhstan was reviewed by the Human Rights Committee in 2016. As a result, several recommendations were adopted. The Concluding Observations are available here. Kazakhstan’s UPR is coming up in November 2019. The Centre, together with its partner, the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (KIBHR), organized workshops for several groups of national civil society, to make sure that they holistically utilize the human rights mechanisms at their disposal. The goal of the workshops is to ensure that the Human Rights Committee’s recommendations that are not (fully) implemented, will be reiterated during the UPR process.

"The UPR on Kazakhstan is a unique opportunity to follow-up on the recommendations on ICCPR implementation issued in 2016 by the Human Rights Committee"

- Lazarie Eeckeloo, Human Rights Officer CCPR-Centre


Many activities were organized by the Centre and KIBHR in Kazakhstan.

  • On 18 February, a workshop was organized for national NGOs on the assessment of the implementation of the Human Rights Committee recommendations. This assessment will be included in the UPR submission of this coalition.
  • On 19 February, the Centre participated in two meetings with the Kazakh authorities to stress the importance of Kazakhstan’s participation and commitment to these human rights mechanisms. The Centre presented the follow-up letter of the Human Rights Committee, that was published in August 2018.
  • On 20 February, a new generation of human rights defenders received a training on strategic advocacy. They highlighted several issues that will be discussed in their alternative report, and assessed their implementation.

Main concerns

Civil society in Kazakhstan is primarily concerned about the freedom of expression, assembly and association. They were also concerned about the fact that the Zhanaozen events were never investigated by an independent commission.

Other important issues were torture, discrimination, deaths in custody, independence of the judiciary, violence against women, freedom of religion, the fight against terrorism and extremism, etc.

The new generation of human rights defenders focused on discrimination, freedom of expression, electoral rights and rights of persons with disabilities.

Next steps

The Centre supported several coalitions in submitting joint reports to the UPR of Kazakhstan: 

The following organisations participated in these reports: 

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR); Development of Parliamentarism in Kazakhstan Foundation; Feminist League; Kazakhstan’s feminist initiative “Feminita”; Commission on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities named after Kairat Imanaliyev; Children's Fund - Kazakhstan; "Sana Sezym" Legal Centre for Women’s enterprise; PA “Taldykorgan Regional Center for Support of Women”; Women Support Center Foundation; Legal Policy Research Centre (LPRC); “Kadir-kasiet” (Dignity); “Aman Saulyk”; Freedom of Speech International Foundation; “Adil Soz”; Association of Religious Organisations of Kazakhstan (AROK); “Ar.Rukh.Khak. Foundation"; Agency for Legal Information and Journalistic Investigation “Vityaz”; International Center for Journalism MediaNet; Charter for Human Rights; Union of Crisis Centers of Kazakhstan; Physicians without Drugs Foundation; Echo Foundation; International Legal Initiative (ILI); Liberty Foundation.

The pre-sessions will take place in September or October 2019. The actual review will take place in November 2019. You can find more information here.

Kazakhstan will also be reviewed by several Treaty Bodies in the near future:

  • CESCR: end of February 2019
  • CRPD: first State report submitted in June 2017, first review most likely in 2020
  • CEDAW: fifth State report submitted in July 2018, review process including adoption of List of Issues will probably start in 2019
  • CAT: fourth State report submitted in December 2018, review process including adoption of List of Issues will probably start in 2019/2020
  • HR Committee: third State report due in July 2020
  • CRC: combined fifth and sixth State report due in September 2021
  • CED: second State report due in March 2022
  • CERD: combined eight to tenth State report overdue since September 2017
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