First meeting of the Working Group on Human Dimension took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan on January 14, 2013
Jan 15. MFA
Importance of human rights issues and affirmative work experience at the OSCE Consultative Council on Human Dimension under Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was functioning in the year of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the Organization, were the reasons to convene the Working Group on Human Dimension. As a platform for dialogue between government agencies and public sector, the working group might also be helpful in Kazakhstan’s UN Human Rights Council membership activity starting from January 1, 2013.
The session included representatives from government agencies, Parliament and political parties, domestic and foreign NGOs. Among attendees were Adviser to the President of Kazakhstan Yermukhamet Yertisbayev, Commissioner for Human Rights Askar Shakirov, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Information Zhanna Kurmangaliyeva, Member of Mazhilis (the Lower Chamber) of the Parliament Aigul Solovyeva, Secretary of the Commission on Human Rights under the President of Kazakhstan Tastemir Abishev, prominent human rights activists – Zauresh Battalova, Yevgeny Zhovtis, Vitaliy Voronov, Sergey Zlotnikov, Tamara Kaleeva, Bakhyt Tumenova, Zhemys Turmagambetova, Ninel Fokina and others.
The meeting was an open dialogue with representatives of NGOs on human rights issues. Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov opened the meeting by emphasizing the growing importance of human dimension in implementation of Kazakshtan’s national policy. It is no coincidence that the head of state in his Address to the nation on December 14, 2012 underlined the importance of focusing all our efforts to increase the quality of human potential in Kazakhstan. E.Idrissov urged members of the session to conduct a constructive dialogue on key issues of the agenda and asked representatives of the government bodies and non-governmental organizations to learn to «listen and hear each other».
Director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law Yevgeny Zhovtis expressed solidarity with this call, and mentioned that the increase in the living standards in our country is the common goal for both the state institutions and the civil sector. He emphasized that it is necessary to move from «opposition of individuals» to «competition of the arguments» in order to ensure development of a more constructive dialogue between the government bodies and NGOs.
Adviser to the President of Kazakhstan Yermukhamet Yertisbayev mentioned recent substantive growth in the number of NGOs registered in Kazakhstan. From his point of view, it indicates continuous strengthening and qualitative development of the civil society in our country. Speaking about the practical support of the civil sector by the government, Yertisbayev marked that during the independence years, funding of non-governmental organizations from the republican and local budgets grew more than twenty times.
Commissioner for Human Rights Askar Shakirov on his part pointed out the timeliness of the decision to convene this Working Group and expressed his hope for a fruitful work in all aspects of the human dimension, including political, economic, cultural and other issues of the human rights area.
Participants were all positive with the initiative to form the Working Group. They also introduced a number of proposals concerning the status and framework of the Group, on allocating the functions among the key directions of its activities, and as a result developing «esprit de corps» in order to achieve tangible results.