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President Tokayev Signs Landmark Decree Advancing Human Rights in Kazakhstan

Astana — In a landmark move on December 8, 2023, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan signed a decree endorsing an Action Plan dedicated to the advancement of human rights and the rule of law in the country. This action was taken ahead of the International Human Rights Day on December 10 and the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This pivotal document underscores Kazakhstan’s commitment to fulfilling its international obligations, bolstering human rights institutions, and fostering the development of a national system for the protection of human rights and democracy.

The Decree and the Action Plan signify a new era in Kazakhstan’s dedication to democratic reforms and human rights. They ensure the effective operation of democratic institutions and human rights mechanisms within the country. A notable element of this initiative is the mandatory collaboration with prominent international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in executing the measures outlined in the Plan.

To bring the Decree into effect, Kazakhstan will undertake several significant actions. These include the adoption of seven laws aimed at addressing issues such as domestic violence, labor safety, and the establishment of regional child rights ombudspersons. The government will also approve four comprehensive plans that focus on labor safety, inclusive policy, the promotion of gender equality, and enhancing security in alignment with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Moreover, the implementation strategy involves conducting practical activities and training sessions, leveraging the expertise of international organizations like the UN and OSCE.

The Plan encompasses a range of measures to strengthen gender equality, protect child rights, combat domestic violence, and enhance human rights within the criminal justice system. It emphasizes a zero-tolerance policy for torture and cruel treatment, aligning with constitutional provisions. The Plan also includes initiatives to improve the rights of persons with disabilities, the right to work, and occupational safety. These collective measures are designed to eradicate systemic issues, safeguard human rights, boost public trust in law enforcement agencies, and garner support for addressing challenges in criminal justice.

This comprehensive approach reflects Kazakhstan’s determination to foster a society where human rights are respected and protected. Under President Tokayev’s leadership, the country is set to make notable progress in human rights protection, thereby strengthening its democratic framework and international standing.

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Kazakhstan is recognized as a regional leader in large-scale democratic and political reforms, as well as in initiatives for the protection of human rights, as part of its comprehensive transformation towards a Just and Fair Kazakhstan.

These reforms have included the direct election of district and city mayors, significant changes in the parliamentary election model to enhance diversity and inclusion, legislative changes to lower thresholds for political party representation, and the introduction of new political parties.

Additionally, Kazakhstan has made strides in human rights protections, such as the complete abolition of the death penalty and the advancement of gender equality, alongside constitutional and judicial reforms that include the establishment of the Constitutional Court and improvements in media law and civil society engagement.