EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

UNHCR Concerns Over SCO In Its Review Of Kazakhstan

Posted by Info on 04/08/2011

During the UN Human Rights Committee’s July 14-15 review of Kazakhstan Committee in its concluding observations noted with concern that Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member state Kazakhstan “may be willing to rely” on diplomatic assurances provided within the SCO framework “to return foreign nationals to countries where torture and serious human rights violations might occur.” Kazakhstan keeps returning Uyghur asylum seekers to fellow SCO member state China – most recently, Ershidin Israil – and of returning asylum seekers and refugees to other SCO member states as well, including the return in June of 28 Uzbek refugees to Uzbekistan.

The Committee further expressed its concern that “individuals, particularly Uzbek and Chinese nationals, who might have valid claims for asylum or refugee status have no protection under the principle of non-refoulement . . . .” It recommended that Kazakhstan “monitor the treatment of such persons after their return and take appropriate action when [diplomatic] assurances are not fulfilled. Furthermore, [Kazakhstan] should fully comply with the principle of non-refoulement and ensure that all persons in need of international protection receive appropriate and fair treatment at all stages in compliance with the Covenant.”

The SCO has the potential to undermine international human rights obligations by imposing countervailing and problematic commitments upon member states, one of which is the obligation to return any individual accused or suspected of “terrorism,” “separatism,” or “extremism” – charges that are often politically motivated – to a requesting state.

Full text of the Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on Kazakhstan

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