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Kazakhstan joins APF as associate member

Graphic: Kazakhstan flag

The National Human Rights Institution of Kazakhstan has been admitted as an associate member at the APF's 19th Annual Meeting.

Membership of the APF has grown to 22, with the national human rights institution of Kazakhstan admitted as an associate member at the APF's 19th Annual Meeting, held in New Delhi in September 2014.

The APF Forum Council unanimously approved the application of the Commissioner for Human Rights of Kazakhstan.

The APF now has 15 full members and seven associate members.

Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia, established the position of Commissioner for Human Rights by Presidential Decree in 2002. The National Centre for Human Rights, which supports the work of the Commissioner, was established by the same Presidential Decree.

Under the Decree, the Commissioner can receive and investigate complaints (either suo moto or in response to an application); participate in court hearings and seek a review of court findings; and review and propose improvements to legislation, in conformity with international human rights law.

Askar Shakirov, Commissioner for Human Rights of Kazakhstan, told the APF Annual Meeting that the focus of his work was determined by the types of complaints received.

"Most of our attention is directed at the defence of the rights of children, persons with disabilities and other socially vulnerable groups, persons with conviction records, observance of human rights in institutions with limited access and observance of social and economic rights, including the right to work," he said.

Shakirov also noted that a law creating a national preventive mechanism, in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture was adopted in 2013, with the Commissioner for Human Rights taking on the role of coordinator.

In March 2012, the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC) accredited Kazakhstan's national human rights institution – which follows an Ombudsman model – with 'B status'. The report of the ICC's Sub-Committee on Accreditation is available on the APF website.

To ensure consistency and to minimise duplication, the APF considers the decisions of the ICC when determining APF membership status.

Full membership of the APF is equivalent to the ICC accreditation of 'A status' and associate membership of the APF is equivalent to the ICC accreditation of 'B status'.

Date: 16 September 2014

Image credits

  1. Kazakhstan flag - Sara Yeomans, Flickr Creative Commons