EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

OSCE Chairmanship As Validation Of Policies In Kazakhstan

Posted by Info on 26/11/2009

When the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe finally decided to designate Kazakhstan as the chair of the group in 2010, the general hope in Vienna was that the responsibility would encourage Astana to liberalize its political system.

“Unfortunately, our worst fears have come to pass: things have not only not gotten better, they have gotten worse,” said Ninel Fokina of Kazakhstan’s Helsinki Committee, summing up the current situation in Kazakhstan. “Our leadership has come to believe that they were given the [OSCE] chairmanship … as a validation of their policies.”

Press freedom has become a particular point of concern.There are 3,000 registered media organizations in Kazakhstan, five of them are opposition sources. A law adopted on November 19 that expands punishments for invasion of privacy will only make it more difficult for independent-minded journalists to do their jobs, Kaleeva said. The law considers defamation of character to be a criminal offense and does not distinguish between public figures, including elected officials, and private individuals, which could mean harsh punishments for reporters who try to investigate officials’ actions.

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