Thursday, June 20, 2024
 
 

U.S.-Kazakhstan dialogue on human rights and democratic reforms continues

KAZAKHSTAN GOVERNMENT
Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya and Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan for External Affairs, Ambassador Erzhan Kazykhan cochair the 3rd meeting of annual High-level Dialogue on Human Rights and Democratic Reforms between Kazakhstan and the U.S., Astana, Kazakhstan, May 20, 2024.

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The United States and Kazakhstan convened the third annual U.S.-Kazakhstan High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights and Democratic Reforms on May 20 in Astana, focusing on further implementation of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s political reforms, underscoring their commitment to advancing human rights.

The delegations discussed a range of key issues, including rule of law; protection of freedom of expression, including for members of the media, and freedom of religion or belief; protection of members of vulnerable and marginalized populations; disability rights; and multilateral cooperation, including with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and C5+1 Platform. Protection of human rights, including freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, and respect for independent media are essential for a healthy and thriving democracy.

The U.S. delegation was led by Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya.  The Kazakh delegation was led by Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan for External Affairs, Ambassador Erzhan Kazykhan.

“The dialogue is a good mechanism to exchange views on very important issues of human rights, rule of law and democracy building in our nations. Among the most recent steps #Kazakhstan has taken in this area is criminalising domestic law, welcomed by int’l community including U.S.,” Kazakhstan’s deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko wrote on X.

The parties paid special attention to strengthening the policy of zero tolerance for violence against women and children, the government of Kazakhstan said in a statement.

According to a statement by the U.S. Department of State, “the United States reaffirmed its strong support for the full implementation of President Tokayev’s reform agenda and commended the Republic of Kazakhstan for progress made in the advancement of human rights including the passage of the April 2024 law recriminalizing domestic violence, a very important step in protecting survivors.”

Kazakhstan’s President signed last month key legislation largely criminalizing domestic abuse, ensuring women’s rights and safety of children.

At dialogue, Kazakhstan and the U.S. focused on further implementation of President Tokayev’s political reforms.

“At the same time, the U.S. delegation encouraged advancement of Kazakhstan’s reform efforts with the full participation of, and in consultation with, civil society partners for transparency and accountability.  Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are integral to a prosperous, vibrant ‘New Kazakhstan,’ where independent media, civil society groups, and political parties can operate freely, without undue restrictions.” the statement read.

The participants also discussed promoting human rights at multilateral and regional fora, including through cooperation at the UN Human Rights Council and initiatives of the C5+1 Summit held in New York last year, the government of Kazakhstan said, adding that following the meeting, the participants agreed to continue productive interaction and hold the next meeting of the High-Level Dialogue in 2025 in Washington, DC.

 

 

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