Kazakhstani lawyers present statements to the OSCE, facilitated by the IBAHRI

Sunday 31 December 2018

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held its Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in September 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. The annual meetings invite from the OSCE participating States ‘hundreds of government officials, international experts, civil society representatives and human rights activists to take stock of how states are implementing their commitments in … the core values that promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.’1

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) facilitated the attendance of three Kazakhstani lawyers, who each presented statements on the independence of lawyers in their country. They heavily critiqued the draft Law on Advocates’ Activities and Legal Aid, noting the potential negative consequences for human rights across the whole of Central Asia. If passed into law, this will give an effective control over the national bar association to the Ministry of Justice. We commend the courage of these lawyers in defending their profession and hope that the bill will be repealed. The Ministry of Justice must listen to the concerns of Kazakhstani lawyers.

1 https://www.osce.org/odihr/hdim