A common outlook toward the history of human right defending organization
Looking back, to the one and a half decennial event of the work of our Bureau, which was founded in 1993, it is impossible not to recall an event in our history as it’s legal registration in 1995. And in this connection I want to recall Nagashbay Shaikenov, a former minister of justice of RK, who now is calm, who helped us a lot in that legal and political situation.
At the basing our Bureau in 1993 we were quite little, and we did not even present what exactly we were creating. But however, we already understood that want to defend legal principles and common to all mankind values, where are pertained the human rights. We created our non governmental and nonprofit organization together attempting to promote the principles of law supremacy in our country, as we understood it earlier and continue to understand it now.
For all these years we did not change neither own principles, own beliefs, and probably this is one of our main personal human achievements. We did not pretend earlier and do not pretend today to the truth of last location, to the monopoly in the field of human rights, to the authority or to the vicinity of the authority. If someone doesn’t like what we do or they think on-other they have exactly the same right to create own organization and defend own principles. This is called a liberty of the choice and pluralism but eventually the democracy develops by this way.
We understood and understood now that we can’t change legal state institutes, as: the court, departments, police, and that the truth and the fairness are grafted on the ground gravely, which is devastated by the totalitarian regime. But if we didn’t believe in truth and fairness, we wouldn’t do it as we do it now.
For these years our collective is rising and we have branches nearly in all countries of Kazakhstan, the part of which we had to close in case of financial problems. Some people left and coming new people. Some of them left us forever and today I want to recall them and honour the memory of our associates: Tatiana Silkina and Ermek Bekeshov from Astana, Dulat Tulegenov from Aktobe, journalists Aleksey Pugaev and Aleksander Skryl, one of the founders of the Bureau – my father – Aleksander Zhovtis. Today they all are with us too.
I want to thank people who left our Bureau in case of miscellaneous reasons Natalya Golovina, Amangeldy Shormanbaev and Aina Shormanbaev, Alfia Zaitova, Andrey Klimonov, Marat Davesov, Eleonora Tleu, Lyazzat Kydyrova, Aleksey Otroshko, Galina Dyrdina, Dmitriy Kireichev, Renat Muzafarov, Valeria Lubushina, Elena Ignatenko, Pavel Nosov, Vyacheslav Kim, Bagila Kuatova, Olga Didenko, Yulia Stepanova, Bahytzhan Chalabayev, Tatiana Beloglazova, Aleksander Tishakov, Daniar Alibekov, Elena Ostanina, Malik Isabekov, Dmitriy Halidov, Abdumutalip Ibraimov, Toleu Mukanov, Yulia Tatarinova, Vitaliy Petrenko, Andrey Bayev, Pavel Afanasiev, Nurgul Shakizade. I beg a pardon if someone wasn’t called.
From the beginning of our Bureau’s activity we have defined the observance of the political rights and civil liberties as our purposes. We considered earlier and consider today that observance of the right on freedom of speech, expression of own opinion, liberty of the reception and spreading the information, right on freedom of thought, liberty of the association and peace meeting, liberty of the movement, right on impartial and equitable court, and the main, right on participation in management of own country, on responsible and accountable power is a necessary condition and if you want, guarantee of observance of the other rights, economic, social and cultural. We are convinced of it and consecutively defend our conviction all these years.
Exactly in this way we see our patriotism, realization of our desire to live in free, democratic, economic and developed country, where the law is supremacy. And this country – is not USA, Great Britain, France and Russian. This country – is our mother land, it is a Republic of Kazakhstan.
All the things that did and do the bureau are realized in 4 blocks of projects and programmes:
– Firstly, this monitoring of the political rights and civil freedoms in our country and informing Kazakhstan society and International community about our conclusion, attraction of attention on breaches of human rights, a public checking of powers’ activity. We released printed and electronic bulletins on situation with human rights in Kazakhstan as we see it in real. We made statements, conduct press-conferences and spread information as inwardly country, so and overseas. No authorities in any countries like it, so sometimes we are not surprised of inadequate and irritable reaction of power in case of our activity.
– Secondly, it is enlightenment in the field of human rights. For these years we have conducted several dozens International conferences, seminars, trainings, round tables, in which took part several thousand representatives of state organs, International organizations, experts, representatives of NGO, scientists. We have released in Russian and Kazakh languages several dozens groups of collection names, methodical allowances, memorandums, booklets. We have translated into Kazakh language the main international documents on human rights, and made by us a translation of Universal declaration of human rights was recognized by the UN as the official translation. We have prepared and have released more than two hundred training television programs about human rights in Russian and Kazakh languages. Our employees emerged with lectures and conducted the popular occupations about human rights in schools and institutes, for employee of law-enforcement organs and simple people.
– Thirdly, a maintenance of the dialogue with authority on the observance of human rights, developments of legislation and law-enforcement practices. We participated in development of the row of the legislative acts, touching human rights, prepared the alternative proposals, presented own conclusions and commentaries. In different years, though with miscellaneous degrees of efficiency, beside us were realized useful cooperation with the Administration of President, Security Council and Constitutional board, Commission on human rights and Commissioner on human rights, High court, General public prosecutor’s office and Ministry of justice, Ministry of Internal affairs and Committee of national security. Together we have conducted the row of successful projects, especially in the field of reforming the penitentiary system, canceling capital punishment, humanization of criminal policy.
– Fourthly, in spite of the fact that majority of human rights defending organizations in other countries don’t concern with practical legal help, we created public receiving for rendering free legal consultation. For about thirty thousand people for these years received free legal consultations in written or spoken form. We are not the state organ and we can’t give a guarantee that we will decide all problems of people, but we tried to do everything depends on our power. And if unlawfully convicted have released from prisons in a result of our participations, whose problem was solved or in respect of someone was restored a fairness – it signifies, that our efforts were not vain.
Though we are convicted that provision of supremacy law and fairness must be laid in the base of state organ activity, not in right protector organizations. That’s why all efforts we put in the field of reforming the legal system of state, increasing the efficiency of acting legal institutes and procedures.
We pleased that our efforts in this sphere have brought to the positive results. This concerns also moving in the field of realization of the right on freedom of associations, in particular canceling the exit visas, and reforming the penitentiary system (in particular, it’s translation to the conduct of Ministry of Justice), and humanization of criminal system as a whole. This is advancement to full canceling of capital punishment; this is a ratification of a row of International documents in the field of human rights and a row of other initiatives.
Of course, all our activity would be impossible without many interstate, state and private organizations, which helped us financing our projects and programmes, helping organizing, technically and morally. They are: Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights), and Delegation of European commission and other structures of European Union.
Also the governments and embassies of the United States of America, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland. They are private funds and organizations, first of all American human rights defending organization “The Unit of Councils” by Mike Naftalin and Leonid Stonov. This is National fund of support of the democracy, The Institute of Open society and the Soros-Kazakhstan fund, and Dutch nongovernmental organization “HIVOS” and Institute on war and peace reporting from Great Britain and Fridrich Ebert fund from Germany. And this is “Amnesty International”, and International league of the human rights, and International Helsinki federation, and many others.
And certainly, all this would be impossible without employee of our organization, people not indifferent, manly, purposeful, and sometimes frantic. This is Zhemis Turmagambetova, a former perennial deputy director of Bureau, now leading new human rights defending organization “Charter for human rights”, and Olga Malakhova, she is a main person on questions of finance and book-keepings, Maria Pulman – our main lawyer. Rosa Akylbekova – a director of informational-educational centre and coordinator of branches’ works and Victoria Tyuleneva – a director of human rights defending centre, coordinator of the lawyers’ work.
Our lawyers: Inara Aldybayeva, Leila Ramazanova and Svetlana Hizhnichenko; Denis Dzhivaga, a leader of the joint project with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Alfia Zaitova, an employee of the joint project with International organization on migration . This is our journalists Sergey Duvanov, Andrey Sviridov and Andrey Grishin. This is our office-manager and manager of grants Diana Berezovskaya and our technical specialist Aleksey Korinevskiy.
This is our employees of branches, and first of all Anara Ibraeva from Astana, Yuriy Gussakov from Karaganda, a candidate of the legal sciences Kuat Rakhimberdin from Ust Kamenogorsk, became known human rights defender and experts. This is Pavel Kochetkov from Uralsk and Tatiana Shneider, Rezeda Gluschenko from Shymkent, Anastasia Knaus from Kostanay and Halida Ruslanova from Taraz.
We have outlived a lot for these years. The fire, robbery, threats, and hanging labels “enemy of nation and state”, “heel of the pillar”, “agents of the influence” and etc. Regrettably, in post-Soviet countries this usual practice, such singular belief about human rights defenders organizations beside separate representatives of authority. We will write it on diseases of the connecting period.
But we continue go ahead. We became a laureate to prizes of European Union and USA in the field of democracy and developments of civil society in 1998, prizes of International League of human rights in 1999, prizes of European alliance in the field of democracy and civil society in 2004. Amongst the structures of civil society in Kazakhstan, in the CIS, in determined degree and on International arena our organization uses the confession and respect.
And all these obtained all people, who worked and works in our Bureau.
Beside us there are a lot of problems and many difficulties, but do not speak in vain that road will be strengthened by going person, and I will add – by convicted. But we live, we go and we are convicted. And I wish you a success to all on this way!
The speech by Yevgeniy Zhovtis, a founder and director of the KIBHR&RL,
during celebration of Bureau’s 15th anniversary on September 15th in 2008