Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev is scheduled to visit Brussels this week and to meet with EU Commission President Manuel Barroso. In view of this, International Partnership for Human Rights and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee have sent a letter to Mr. Barroso, urging him to use this visit as an opportunity to send a clear and strong message on human rights in Kazakhstan.
The two organizations called on Mr. Barroso to publicly and unequivocally convey the message that human rights are a key element of EU-Kazakhstan relations and that the Kazakhstani government is expected to demonstrate real improvements in this area for relations to further deepen, including in the context of the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that has been negotiated. They also urged him to raise major concerns regarding the human rights situation in Kazakhstan, including the continued lack of justice in relation to the December 2011 events in Zhanaozen; the attack on the political opposition; the decline in media freedoms; growing pressure on civil society; and restrictions of the right to freedom of religion. They further encouraged him to insist that Kazakhstan fully cooperates with the Universal Periodic Review of the country later this month and takes effective measures in follow-up to it, in close cooperation with Kazakhstani civil society.
Read the letter here.