KAZAKHSTAN INTERNATIONAL BUREAU FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND RULE OF LAW

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (KIBHR)

Strategic Plan for 2015—2016 (updated)

This Strategic Plan has been prepared as part of a project that included interviews with KIBHR staff and key partners, a series of discussions, and a two-day meeting of KIBHR staff to discuss internal and external factors affecting KIBHR`s work, and has been updated to reflect changes in the social and political environment.

contents

 

  • About KIBHR

 

  • Political context and how it affects KIBHR strategy

 

  • Challenges and goals

 

  • Strategic priorities and objectives for 2015—2016

 

  • KIBHR work within the context of its strategic priorities:

 

  • Principal directions (institutional support)

 

  • Current and planned projects 

 

  • Fundraising

 

  • Emergency action plan 

 

  • Communications

 

  • Training 

 

  • Attachment 1. Preliminary work and project schedule 

 

  • Attachment 2. Organisational structure

About KIBHR

The Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) is a Kazakhstan non-governmental, not-for-profit human rights organisation whose mission is aimed at promoting:

• observance of civil and political rights and freedoms in Kazakhstan and other countries;

• development of democracy, the rule of law and civil society through education, monitoring (data collection, analysis and dissemination of information), advocacy activities, analysis of legislation and bringing it in compliance with international standards.

KIBHR was founded in 1993 and officially registered in 1995. In Kazakhstan, KIBHR has a network, which includes nine branches and two representatives. The head office is located in Almaty. KIBHR has a staff of 45, including some of the country`s leading experts in the field of human rights, lawyers, journalists, sociologists and analysts.

For nearly 19 years KIBHR was led by Yevgeny Zhovtis, a well-known human rights activist. In April 2012 he resigned as director of KIBHR, but still continues to serve as KIBHR Chairman, providing strategic management of the organisation. Yevgeny Zhovtis also continues to work as an expert-consultant and participates in a number of key projects. Since 2012 KIBHR is headed by Roza Akylbekova who has been with the organisation since its inception and has a wealth of experience to ensure continuity of the operations.

Over its 21-years history, KIBHR has become a human rights leader in Kazakhstan. KIBHR`s work has always been about achieving systemic changes in the sphere of political rights and civil freedoms, drawing attention to violations of human rights, and providing systematic analysis of trends. Today, the public, state bodies and international community at large consider KIBHR as a sort of a human rights brand of Kazakhstan.

Political context  

The Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law was created in mid-1993 in the wake of the post-perestroika enthusiasm and ruling elite policy, which was prevailing at the time and was aimed at positioning Kazakhstan in the international arena as a new nation-state that was reforming the old Soviet totalitarian political system to usher in an era of political pluralism, transparency and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms. During that time (1991-1995) the political context in Kazakhstan seemed to be relatively conducive to the development of a system where there would be multiple parties and political pluralism, independent media, and organisations and institutes of a civil society.

In such a conducive political context KIBHR was able to develop its strategic objective, which was to promote democracy, the rule of law and respect for and observance of human rights and freedoms in the country by getting involved in the activities in four strategic areas:

• monitoring of compliance with fundamental political rights and civil liberties;

• promoting education in the sphere of legislation;

• maintaining a constructive dialogue with authorities in the sphere of reform of legislation, public institutions, and legal practice in the field of human rights;

• providing assistance to citizens and organisations in the sphere of protection of their rights and freedoms in relations with the state.

The political context began to change for the worse around 1995-1996, when the ruling elite, having completed the redistribution of state assets and ripping the most benefits in the process, began to create a system that would allow control and ensure the immutability of the results of privatisation. Following that idea, the state chose to create a super-Presidential national republic with a maximum control over state institutions and society to prevent any risks and surprises. First adopted in 1995 and later changed in 2007 and 2011, the new Constitution of Kazakhstan concentrated most of the power in the hands of the President. Using a fixed-results tender for radio frequencies in 1996-1997, independent television and radio channels had been pushed out of the information domain. Printed media had been subjected to significant pressure. After several tightly controlled elections, the political opposition was essentially “squeezed out” of the political system, and by mid-2000s had been effectively eliminated from any representative bodies.

Despite these negative changes in the political context, KIBHR was still able to achieve certain progress. KIBHR had effectively become the largest human rights organisation in Central Asia, one which had close contacts with virtually all international intergovernmental and non-governmental human rights organisations. KIBHR was one of the initiators of accession to international instruments of human rights protection, abolishment of exit visas, abolishment of the death penalty (an indefinite moratorium on death penalties had been introduced), transfer of the penitentiary system from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Justice (although a reverse transfer took place in 2011), introduction of the institute of a jury and notion of juvenile justice, creation of a system of public monitoring over penitentiary, including creation of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture, development of institutes and procedures enabling a dialogue between the authorities and the civil society, including human rights organisations.

KIBHR had been active making statements on the most sensitive issues dealing with violations of political rights and civil liberties in Kazakhstan, had a constant information presence in the socio-political and legal spheres, and was engaged in education and training of civil society activists as well as government officials.

Such an activity of an organisation, especially on the international level, could not but cause a certain level of irritation to the authorities. In good old Soviet traditions, KIBHR was accused of promoting the values and standards “of the West.” The organisation found it increasingly difficult to continue to be engaged in the promotion of legislative reforms, and was forced to be on a defensive trying to counter negative trends in the field of maintaining and protection of fundamental political rights and civil liberties.

The period from mid-2000s toward the end of 2000s was marked by even greater difficulties in the existence and development of a few remaining civil society organisations. Frightened by the “Orange revolutions” and “Arab springs,” the powers that be, first in 2005 by carrying out extensive all-sweeping inspections and perpetuating a negative image of human rights and other active civil society organisations, and later in the first half of the next decade by exercising brutal pressure on the “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” opposition movement, have created an atmosphere of fear and helplessness for civil and human rights activists. At the same time, the authorities had begun to actively shape a “state-society,” one very much akin to the old Soviet one, by introducing certain ideological control over the non-governmental sector, through control, management and manipulations.

The other factor that has an effect on the situation with human rights organisations is the intensifying internal political struggles and the strengthening authoritarian trends as the society approaches the moment when President Nursultan Nazarbayev will depart from the political scene. As we get closer to the inevitable moment of transfer of power, the more anxious the ruling elite becomes about their guarantees of security. In a situation like this, the ruling elite is compelled to introduce even greater control over the society, which results in even more pressure being applied against the civil society organisations. The new authoritarian tendencies manifested themselves in 2011-2012, when a strike of oil workers in Zhanaozen was brutally suppressed, the Alga! Party was banned, and several dozens of opposition media, including websites and web portals, where forced down with politicians, human rights and civil rights activists being sentenced and imprisoned.

In light of those authoritarian tendencies and ever-increasing crackdowns in 2012-2013, it had become obvious that KIBHR`s strategy to promote the development and resistance to negative trends needed to be amended; this finding was reflected in the KIBHR Strategic Plan for 2013-2016.

Nevertheless, the second half of 2013-2014 was marked by a certain revival in the dialogue between the authorities and civil society, including human rights organisations. Since the creation, in the beginning of 2013, of the Consultative and Advisory Body “The Dialogue Platform on Human Dimension” under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan (CAB DHD), the dialogue between authorities and the human rights community has significantly intensified, and begun to take shape as a proper institutional process. CAB DHD consists of more than 60 members representing the best-known human rights organisations and active civil society organisations, including Freedom House-Kazakhstan, the National Democratic Institute and Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation, as well as the representatives from relevant government agencies and departments. The observers in this body is the Regional Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Central Asia, the Office of the United Nations in Kazakhstan, the Representation of the European Commission in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Programme Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and others.

As part of the CAB DHD a Working Group has been established, co-chaired by Majilis deputy A. Solovyova and KIBHR Chairman Ye. Zhovtis. The members of CAB DHD have approved KIBHR to serve as Secretariat of the Working Group. In the second half of 2014 four sub-working groups under the CAB DHD Working Group were created: one dealing with the promotion of democracy, the other concerned with the promotion of the rule of law, third one concerned with the promotion of human rights, and fourth one dealing with the law-making process. The groups are co-coordinated by the representatives from the leading human rights and civil society organisations of Kazakhstan. Majilis deputies became co-coordinators from the state. The Working Group and CAB DHD subgroups have determined as their goal the implementation of recommendations of CAB DHD itself, as well as recommendations coming from international bodies and human rights organisations in the sphere of development of democracy, promotion of the rule of law, and promotion of human rights. More than 20 representatives from the state bodies and a few dozen NGOs take part in the Working Group and its subgroups.

Such a mechanism provides certain opportunities to the non-governmental sector to influence the process of improvement of the situation with human rights, and for maintaining a constructive dialogue with the authorities. In addition, it allows for stirring the dialogue within various advisory bodies (such as the Expert Council under the Human Rights Commission under the President of Kazakhstan, the Public Council under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the recently created Working Group on cooperation with non-governmental organisations under the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and a number of others), as well as within the National preventive mechanism for the prevention of torture.

challenges

KIBHR recognises that in the current situation the planning of any future activities should be made taking the following factors into consideration:

1. The political context which was described in the previous section severely limits KIBHR`s ability to promote the improvement of the situation with human rights in the short term. Authorities` perception of NGOs is one of suspicion and sometimes hostility. Almost no independent media are represented in the country. The state is actively funding GONGOs, setting them up against NGOs that are foreign-funded. The certain “warming-up” in relations between authorities and the human rights community that was observed in 2014--early 2015 gives certain hopes that the Kazakh authorities might decide to change over to a more balanced and reasonable policy in relation to the independent civil society, but recent events in Russia, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan raise concerns an “exchange of experience” might occur, especially if we consider the context of living within the same Eurasian Economic Union.

2. The lack of institutional mechanisms that would be able to support democratic changes is only part of the problem. A widespread neglect of human rights and democratic values that is being perpetuated by the official media and propaganda is a serious challenge. Human rights concepts and ideas are being misinterpreted and misrepresented in the state policy, by-laws discussions initiated by the GONGOs. This results in a chasm between Kazakhstan`s international commitments, national laws that exist nominally, and the actual state of affairs. What exacerbates the problem is the fact that such discussions are taking place in a society where there is a widespread mistrust of freedom as something of a value in and by itself, and of legal institutions as non-personified mechanisms ensuring the rule of law and justice.

3. Another major challenge is a change in the policies of donors. Difficult relations with the authorities make it very difficult for KIBHR to expect state funding, and donations are difficult to obtain because of the legislative restrictions. Foreign donors and international organisations remain the main source of funding for KIBHR. However, in recent years the donors have started changing their policy, partly due to the difficult economic times and in part due to the policies conducted by Kazakhstan authorities. One of the most difficult aspects in relations with donors is that they always try to apply “performance indicators” in measuring progress. Those concepts are based on business models and have little relation to organisations working in the field of human rights.

4. The ongoing change in the KIBHR structure is yet another serious internal challenge. A number of structural changes have been introduced, but KIBHR is facing the need to channel significant resources to ensure planning and consistent implementation of changes that are required for the work. There are other difficulties, including search for new staff, due to a lack of qualified candidates who would be willing to work in this field.

The strategic plan defines which activities KIBHR need to carry out in light of the aforementioned challenges, and spells out the types of activities that are necessary to ensure KIBHR carries on its mission.

 

Strategic priorities and objectives for 2015-2016

 

Because the political context is so multidirectional it impedes systemic changes in the country, KIBHR has revised and refined its approach to efficiency and effectiveness of the work, and identified strategic priorities for 2015 and 2016. The four-year period which was selected in the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan because there had been a high probability of serious changes to take place in the country which would require from KIBHR to revise its Strategy, we only have two remaining years to run, so taking into account the processes that are taking place in the country this all required that KIBHR change its priorities somewhat.

 

Prior to adopting the previous Strategic Plan (up to 2013) KIBHR`s strategy was mainly aimed at improving the situation with human rights and at withstanding negative trends.

 

Given the scale of challenges that existed at the time, KIBHR believed that over the next four years (2013-2016) it should concentrate its activities on achieving three key strategic objectives:

 

• Ensure KIBHR has sufficient financial resources, support and internal stability to survive and keep its ability to carry on its activities, including its ability to conduct monitoring and react to the situation with human rights in the country.

 

• KIBHR should maintain its ability to voice the fundamental concepts and notions of international standards in the sphere of human rights and freedoms, keep the dialogue open with authorities and public, and prevent further erosion of concepts and terminology.

 

• KIBHR should prepare itself for the emergence of a possibility of change in the directions the country is taking, and for a change in the system of social and political coordinates should a relevant process present itself within the power elites, which if realized would inevitably end in a change of power.

 

Certain changes in the socio-political situation and new opportunities for the institutionalisation of the dialogue between the human rights community and the government of Kazakhstan, have prompted a new strategic goal:

 

• KIBHR should facilitate the process of institutionalisation of the dialogue between the human rights community, organisations of the civil society, and authorities concerning the matters of democracy development, supremacy of human rights and freedoms within the framework of the Consultative and Advisory Body “The Dialogue Platform on Human Dimension,” its Working Group and subgroups, and other public consultancy structures and mechanisms, in particular the National Preventative Mechanism in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

 

KIBHR believes that in order to achieve these strategic objectives it should concentrate its efforts on the following tasks over the next two years:

 

1. In order to survive and ensure it can still perform its fundamental functions, KIBHR should limit its activities to the following principal activities:

(1) monitoring and informing the public about the situation with human rights;

(2) conduct analysis of legislation and develop alternative draft laws, put forward recommendations aimed at institutional reforms and changes in law enforcement practice;

(3) promote the institutionalisation of the dialogue between the human rights community and the authorities on sensitive matters pertaining to democracy development, rule of law and human rights;

(4) work with the international system of human rights protection and create a database of precedents in Kazakhstan;

(5) work toward education, promotion of the concept and basic principles of human rights in international law, build the agenda in the field of human rights protection, and counteract any efforts aimed at eroding the fundamental concepts and terminology.

 

Other activities that used to be strategically important to KIBHR in the past cannot be included in the list of principal activities today because tangible and sustainable results are unlikely to be achieved in the short or even medium term. Those activities include: provision of legal assistance and consideration of applications from citizens and organisations, as well as large-scale advocacy campaigns aimed at involving the general public.

 

In order to preserve its ability to efficiently implement strategic programmes, KIBHR was required to also ensure performance of the following tasks:

1. Consider that the likelihood of success is greater in those areas where there has been a history of successful cooperation and/or goodwill on the part of authorities.

2. When considering new projects, priority should be given to those that have the aim of researching or solving issues in the sphere of human rights, and are relevant for three or more provinces of Kazakhstan (based on the results of surveys conducted by KIBHR regional branches), where short-term and medium-term programmes could actually lead to tangible and concrete results.

3. In the process of receiving funding and providing support, it is critically important to underscore that KIBHR should be present in different provinces and how important it is to have the branches. A regional presence is paramount to ensuring the quality of monitoring, and is especially important considering the lack of independent media.

4. It is important to improve efficiency of fundraising, and the quality of reporting;

5. It is necessary to have an emergency action plan which would outline the actions that need to be taken to ensure the safety of the staff and uninterrupted functioning of the organisation (examples include arrests, persecution by the authorities, disruption of activities and/or projects).

6. Improve the efficiency of communications with the international community and a more consistent reporting on the work of KIBHR.

 

2. In order to maintain the level of debate and prevent the erosion of concepts and terminologies, the following tasks should be performed:

(1) KIBHR should take upon itself to act as a leader in consolidating and collecting opinions with respect to the formation of the national agenda in the sphere of human rights, and in employing available instruments and means to maintain the dialogue with the authorities,

(2) KIBHR needs to improve in keeping the Kazakh authorities, international and Kazakh informed of its findings, expert opinions and analysis.

 

3. In order to preserve and build on the expert potential and body of knowledge which might be requested after the change of political vector of the country, KIBHR needs to:

(1) improve the quality of staff training, develop a comprehensive training plan, actively seek funds to train new staff, especially in matters of human rights activities, international standards and management in not-for-profit organisations;

(2) continue to develop and update the electronic library on human rights, continue to distribute materials;

(3) revise the programme of analysis and development of legislation, and the programme for the development of recommendations for legal reform and improvement of law enforcement practice;

(4) promote training programmes for the next generation of civil activists.

 

4. To promote institutionalisation and efficiency of the dialogue between the human rights community, civil society organisations and the authorities on matters of democracy development, the rule of law and human rights, KIBHR needs to:

(1) tap into its own expert potential and use external expertise in preparation of proposals and recommendations, including the alternatives for the implementation of recommendations of the CAB DHD and international bodies and human rights organisations;

(2) employ its own organisational and expert potential in consolidating the efforts of the civil society organisations in having the dialogue with the authorities on key matters pertaining to security and protection of fundamental political rights and civil liberties in the Republic of Kazakhstan;

(3) actively participate in public and advisory and other structures in which it is possible to achieve cooperation with the authorities in promoting the concept and basic principles of international law in the sphere of human rights.   

 

main activities

 

The key directions constitute the foundation for KIBHR`s work. These areas are financed mostly through institutional grants. In part, the key directions are financed out of individual project applications. The key directions that account for 60-80% of the load of the staff are listed below.

 

1. Monitoring and reporting

 

Description: In KIBHR`s project terminology, monitoring is understood to be a procedure of long-term monitoring over the realisation of certain rights/freedoms and as part of a set of actions aimed at protecting public interests. KIBHR is the only human rights organisation in Kazakhstan that has a regional network thus enabling it to collect field data. Work under this section assumes monitoring over the actual processes of practical implementation of the rights and freedoms, recording those processes, statistical processing and analysis of the data, ultimately resulting in a measurement of the state of rights and freedoms and determination of the dynamic of changes in this field, presented in the form of a report. The results obtained through monitoring are supposed to be provided to the authorities, international community, and Kazakhstan public so that measures would be taken to better the legislation, reform the institutions, and improve law enforcement practices in the sphere of human rights protection.

 

Objectives for 2015-2016:

• Ensure the authorities, international agencies and organisations, international and Kazakhstan public are kept informed on a timely basis of serious violations of human rights in the regions within KIBHR coverage.

• Ensure that monitoring is conducted in accordance with standards as set forth by the KIBHR Information and Monitoring Centre.

• Ensure analysis of the results of monitoring in those areas where the most significant and large-scale violations have been detected. In 2015-2016 those areas will be the freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion or beliefs, and freedom from discrimination, freedom of association and, in some cases, the right to a fair trial. Such extended monitoring and analysis will require additional funding.

• Improve accessibility to the results of monitoring, including by sending monitoring presentations and reports to state authorities and national human rights institutions; in doing so, budget for costs associate the timely translation of the results of monitoring (reports, presentations in the Kazakh and English languages).

• Promote efficient operations of coalitions in which KIBHR is a member, in particular the Platform for Civil Solidarity, the NGO Coalition against Torture, the NGO Coalition for the Promotion of Human Rights in Central Asia, the Coalition for the Universal Periodic Review (to the extent of implementation of recommendations of the UN Council on Human Rights), the NGO Coalition “Article 20,” Working Group on the Rights of Children, and others.

• Promote feedback by opening a comments section on the KIBHR website, promote debates.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

KIBHR Information and Monitoring Centre

KIBHR Human Rights Centre

Expert consultant

 

 

2. Analysis of legislation and development of alternative draft laws, maintaining the institutionalised dialogue with government authorities

 

Description: KIBHR experts have a wealth of experience in providing legal expertise and development of alternative draft laws based on international standards. In this area, it would be useful to achieve a deeper level of informing the public and promote the results of the work conducted by KIBHR. KIBHR`s expert potential is sufficiently widely employed by the various working groups within the Kazakhstan Parliament, public advisory structures under various government authorities and departments, etc. Given that the dialogue has intensified between government authorities and the human rights community, and that institutionalised forms of such dialogue have started to emerge, for example on the basis of CAB DHD and other structures (e.g. the Working Group on the cooperation with non-government organisations under the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan, etc.), these opportunities should be used to promote the concept, fundamental principles of international law and international standards in the sphere of human rights.

 

Objectives and tasks in 2015-2016: 

  • The results of KIBHR work in this area should be reviewed and it should be determined which comments (analytical memos, opinions) or reports submitted by KIBHR have been noted or taken into consideration. The results may be published on the website.
  • KIBHR should be more proactive in putting forward alternative draft laws / comments (analytical memos, opinions) for debates (current mode)
  • Occurrences when alternative draft laws/comments are not accepted by the authorities should be reported to the public with a simple and accessible explanation as to what the consequences may be if the draft laws proposed by the authorities are accepted.
  • Alternative draft laws, analytical memos, opinions on draft laws or enacted laws should be posted on the KIBHR website, published and the links forwarded to government authorities.
  • KIBHR should proactively participate in the work of CAB DHD and its subgroups dealing with democracy development, promotion of the rule of law, human rights and law-making process in order to implement the recommendations accepted by CAB DHD, recommendations from international bodies and organisations, and continue to maintain a dialogue with authorities; 
  • KIBHR should promote, and supply it with efficient procedures, the institutionalised dialogue between civil organisations and the authorities within the framework of CAB DHD, take an active part in the activities and improvement of the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture in Kazakhstan;
  • KIBHR should take an active part in various international initiatives concerned with reforming the national legislation in the sphere of political rights and civil freedoms.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Legislative analysis group

KIBHR Information and Monitoring Centre

CAB DHD Secretariat

 

3. Collaboration with the international human rights system, participation in coalitions within Kazakhstan and internationally 

 

Description: KIBHR is the only NGO in Kazakhstan that collaborates with the international human rights system, primarily with the main bodies at the UN (such as the UN Council on Human Rights), sectional committees, special rapporteurs, and other topical mechanisms. KIBHR regards the collaboration with the main UN bodies in the sphere of human rights and promotion, as an opportunity to hold debates on the “hot topics” of the Kazakhstan legislation, institutionalised support, enforcement practice, work of government bodies in the field of human rights on the international level. Recommendations and opinions developed based on the debates provide the state with a ready-to-use set of efficient measures to fix various problems in the sphere of human rights, being, therefore, a sort of a means of improving the legislation, enforcement practices and work of state authorities in the sphere of human rights.

 

KIBHR actively collaborates with the international human rights system by exchanging comments or “shadow” (alternative) reports on Kazakhstan`s performance of its obligations under international treaties and agreements in the field of human rights. This work is being done in close collaboration with other Kazakhstan and international non-government organisations, which results in temporary or permanent coalitions. Recommendations contained in such comments and reports often serve as the basis for recommendations coming from international bodies, organisations and topical mechanisms in the sphere of human rights. This works needs to be continued as it brings tangible results but requires additional financing.

 

Besides, strategic lawsuits both inside the country and abroad can also bring certain results. Strategic lawsuits inside the country, when the KIBHR lawyers provide free-of-charge assistance to the public and organisations whose civil or political rights have been violated makes it possible for KIBHR to create precedents allowing the application of international standards in the sphere of human rights. Lawsuits at convention bodies on human rights, if successful, make it possible to exert direct influence on the enforcement practice in the cases of violation of political rights and civil freedoms in Kazakhstan.

 

Objectives in 2015-2016:

 

International system for the protection of human rights

  • Work out the principles of collaboration with human rights protection mechanisms, upload the information on the website.
  • Train staff that will be able to work on submitting cases to the UN Council on Human Rights and other convention bodies at the UN.
  • Make sure the materials (cases, resolutions, correspondence) and results of collaboration with the UN mechanisms are available to Kazakhstan NGOs, media and public.
  • Coordinate the work of human rights organisations in Kazakhstan in preparing the “shadow” report on Kazakhstan`s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international agreements in the area of human rights, considering that the Kazakhstan authorities plan on submitting the relevant documents during the same timeframe.
  • Take an active part in the implementation of recommendations of CAB DHD and international bodies and organisations in the sphere of human rights and freedoms, including as part of the work of CAB DHD.

 

Strategic litigation

  • Place the information on the terms and conditions for providing legal assistance and consultations on strategic lawsuits on KIBHR website; 
  • Make sure the information on strategic lawsuits is published in a user-friendly format.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Complaints Group

Precedents Group

Coalition of NGOs on the preparation of shadow reports for the UN committees and other documents in the sphere of human rights

 

4. Education, promotion of human rights concept, setting the agenda in the sphere of human rights

 

Description:  For KIBHR to perform its mission, one of the key tasks is to support discussion, educate and promote international standards, including explaining and drawing attention to the main concepts, terms, principles and definitions in the sphere of human rights.

 

Objectives in 2015-2016:  

  • Consolidate the efforts of human rights organisations in: the development of a national agenda in the sphere of human rights – a concept that defines the complexities and distortions in the approach to the human rights promotion that exists in Kazakhstan and offers measures to fix such distortions; the preparation of the Alternative national action plan in the sphere of human rights for 2015-2020 which should be based on internationally-accepted approaches to ensuring and protecting the fundamental human rights; and in collaborating in the work on the new National plan of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the sphere of human rights, should the authorities permit for such a plan to be worked out. 
  • Use Consultative and Advisory Body “The Dialogue Platform on Human Dimension” under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, its Working Group and subgroups on the development of democracy, promotion of the rule of law, human rights and law-making, towards expanding the dialogue with the authorities on matters of human rights and for the promotion of required legislative changes, institutionalised support, and enforcement practice, as well as other platforms;
  • Continue to add new sections and update documents in the electronic library on human rights on a web resource associated with KIBHR (hrlib.kz);
  • Continue work with the young generation of civil activists, distribute information, meetings with students, develop internship and volunteer programmes for students from the relevant departments and the youth, arrange a “Human rights school;”
  • Continue to be actively present in the mass media, conferences, seminars, and “round tables” by promoting international standards in the sphere of human rights.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Education centre

Coalition of NGOs on the preparation of shadow reports for the UN committees and other documents in the sphere of human rights

KIBHR Expert consultant 

Secretariat of KIBHR Working Group

 

PROJECTS in 2015-2016

 

In addition to the key activities KIBHR will seek additional funding for a number of priority projects. These projects meet the above criteria and KIBHR`s strategic objectives.

 

1. Monitoring of compliance with the right to freedom of peaceful assembly

 

Description: KIBHR began implementing a programme to monitor freedom of peaceful assembly in 2010. Initially, the main objective was to inform the international community and remind Kazakhstan`s state bodies, on a one-off basis, that the situation with respect to freedom of peaceful assembly in Kazakhstan was far from the OSCE standards. The results of the programme were in demand both from Kazakhstan and international community. KIBHR became the first organisation to ensure consistent monitoring of freedom of peaceful assembly in Kazakhstan for four years. The project helped not only to analyse the statistics of assembly and violations of the right to freedom of assembly, but also to assess the law enforcement practice.

 

Objectives:

• Obtain funding to continue the project;

• Use the results of monitoring to resume work on an alternative draft law on freedom of peaceful assembly, which KIBHR had developed in 2007 and which was revised in 2010.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Information and Monitoring Centre

 


2. Monitoring of compliance with the right to freedom of conscience, religion (faith) or belief

 

Description: Freedom of conscience, religion (faith) or belief is a very topical issue for Kazakhstan, a country experiencing a growing number of lawsuits against people accused of “religious extremism,” when after new legislation on religious activities and associations had been passed in 2011, pressure on the so-called “non-traditional” religions has been increasing. KIBHR is represented in those regions where the problem has been the most serious, and where it has the tools and ability to reliably conduct monitoring and analysis of the situation with freedom of religion (faith).

 

Tasks:

• Obtain funding to carry out projects in the region (2014-2015).

• Conduct a detailed comparative analysis of the existing legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the area of regulation of freedom of conscience and religion (faith) with a view to establishing its compliance to international standards.

• Develop instruments and conduct monitoring of the situation with freedom of conscience and religion (faith).

• Given the complexity of the topic, develop guidelines for the staff involved in the project (how to work with sources within religious groups, how to protect the anonymity of the sources, how to communicate any attempts to interfere with KIBHR activities in a timely and prompt manner).

• Prepare and publish a report on the results of the monitoring.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Information and Monitoring Centre

Group on Legislative Review

KIBHR branches

 

3. Monitoring of compliance with the right to freedom from discrimination

The right to freedom from discrimination is very relevant for the Republic of Kazakhstan, primarily at the system level. The recommendations of the UN Council on Human Rights following the review of the report made by Kazakhstan within the framework of the Universal Periodic Review, the UN Committee on Human Rights, the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, called for Kazakhstan to include in its legislation a definition of “discrimination” which would conform to international law, and to develop and adopt specific anti-discrimination legislation, create anti-discrimination institutes which would be equipped with efficient anti-discrimination procedures. However, the situation in this area still has not changed and KIBHR remains effectively the only human rights organisation that attempts to approach this issue both from a systemic point of view and in terms of specific vulnerable groups, such as ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. This project is a new activity for KIBHR as in the past, despite the fact that KIBHR was indeed engaged in the matters of non-discrimination, it did not have a comprehensive programme covering this area. This project aims to encourage the Kazakhstan government to develop and adopt an anti-discrimination legislation, and create anti-discrimination institutions equipped with efficient anti-discrimination procedures. Financially, the programme is partially supported by a project funded by the European Union through the Equal Right Trust.

 

Objectives:

  • Obtain additional financing for project implementation in the regions (2014-2016).
  • Conduct a detailed comparative analysis of the existing legislation in the field of legal regulation of the right to non-discrimination with a view to establishing its compliance to international standards.
  • Develop instruments and conduct monitoring of the situation with the right to non-discrimination in select regions.
  • Prepare and publish a report on monitoring results.
  • Arrange for a wide discussion of the report with representatives of states authorities and international organisations through joint round tables, perhaps conferences. 

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Information and monitoring centre 

Legislation review group

KIBHR branches

 

4. The programme of promotion of the minimum guarantees of fair justice in criminal matters

 

Description: According to monitoring conducted by KIBHR, violations of the right to a fair trial represent one of the most pressing problems in all regions of Kazakhstan. KIBHR believes that one possible way to improve access to justice could be through the analysis of progress in implementing the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges, which were made in 2004 after his visit to Kazakhstan. In his report, the Special Rapporteur had laid out a comprehensive approach to solving the problems in terms of fair trial, and if these recommendations are implemented it will contribute to a systemic change. The project provides for analysis of the implementation of those recommendations, including through the monitoring of court trials and expert opinions, as well as an active discussion of the results of such an analysis.

 

Tasks:

• Prepare an application and apply for funding.

• Engage those five branches and representative offices of KIBHR who have indicated in the survey “access to fair justice” as one of the most serious problems (Uralsk, Astana, Taraz, Shymkent, Almaty) in the implementation of the task.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Five KIBHR branches and representative offices (Astana to take the lead)

 

5. Programme of education in the field of human rights 

 

In 2010 KIBHR initiated a programme of education on human rights for the future police officers. The main objective of the programme is to assist in the capacity-building of the police in their professional activities to protect human rights and freedoms through introduction of a special course on human rights, and a new discipline on human rights, into the curriculum of secondary schools and higher education institutes under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, respectively. The programme consists of two components, one of which is working with secondary special schools under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the other one involves work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs` higher education institutes.

 

Tasks:

  • Develop an application and apply for funding to continue to carry on the project.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Four branches (Karaganda, Astana, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Almaty)

 

6. Programme for prevention of torture 

 

Description: The objective of this programme is tightly connected with the implementation of a task of creation, introduction and functioning of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), which would meet the requirements of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. In Kazakhstan, the NPM began to function since early 2014. Many employees of KIBHR are members on the NPM Coordination Council and its regional structures. However, the NPM still has some way to go before it fully meets expectations, including expectations on its independence, transparency, the system of “surprise” visits, etc. This mechanism still needs further improvement.

 

KIBHR plans to implement this task with the participation of the NGO Coalition against Torture, whose work KIBHR has been coordinating since 2008. The overall objective of the Coalition is to promote policy of “zero tolerance” towards the problem of torture in the Republic of Kazakhstan, reduction and eventually eradication of torture and bringing the legislation in compliance with international standards.

 

In addition, KIBHR employees also participate in the Working Group on detection/investigation of torture and inhumane treatment under the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Republic of Kazakhstan, various Expert Councils under the state bodies, etc.

 

Within the framework of this topical programme, KIBHR also plans to open a new direction in the sphere of torture prevention, the development of an institute of mediation in Kazakhstan under the title “Mediation as a method to overcome victimisation of sufferers of torture and inhumane treatment.”

 

Goals and objectives (subject to funding availability):

• Monitoring of the situation with the right to freedom from torture and other cruel, degrading treatment or punishment.

• Providing primary high-quality legal assistance, filing appeals and requests with competent state authorities.

• Strategic lawsuits aimed at the protection of victims of torture and prevention of torture.

• Analysis of legislation and development of recommendations.

• Capacity building of NGOs, the media and government agencies in the area of prevention and fight against torture.

• Use international human rights mechanisms against torture and inhumane treatment.

• Strengthen cooperation with government representatives.

• Develop and implement an action plan for advocacy campaigns.

• Conduct a series of training seminars for KIBHR staff and members of the Coalition to prepare professional mediators and experts in the area of prevention of torture.

• Develop practical guidelines on mediation.

 

7. Programme of work with asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons (funding in current mode)

 

Description: The programme to provide legal assistance to asylum seekers and refugees has been run by KIBHR staff for 15 years, since 1998. In the last three years stateless persons have been added as programme beneficiaries. For this programme has been running for such a long time, KIBHR has grown a team of professionals with significant experience in the analysis of legislation who provide legal assistance in this area. Today the team consists of three analysts and eight lawyers who provide practical legal support to asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons. On 4 December 2009 Kazakhstan adopted a Law “On Refugees” which entered into force on 1 January 2010. It has been five years since the law came into force, and certain enforcement practices have formed which allow us to evaluate the Law from the point of view of how it respects and observes the human rights of refuges and asylum seekers. 

 

Tasks:

  • Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the existing Law on Refugees and how it is being applied with a view to establishing its compliance with international standards, and arrange for a discussion of the results of such analysis.
  • With respect to stateless persons, make an assessment of the number of stateless persons who are without documents (using the network of branches) and submit the results to the Commission on Human Rights under the President of Republic of Kazakhstan, UNHCR.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Four branches (Almaty, Karaganda, Kostanai, South Kazakhstan oblast).

 

 

Fundraising

 

Main objective: ensure uninterrupted access to sufficient financing and improve efficiency of fundraising

 

Tasks:

  • Develop a medium-term plan for fundraising which would allow for monitoring of deadlines for submitting applications, assess success rate, account for and cover operational costs, depreciation and expenditures for equipment purchases.
  • At the beginning of each year, compile a list of necessities in operational costs (e.g. new equipment, communications, and training) and distribute those planned costs across the relevant projects. 
  • Provide additional training to those employees who are responsible for fundraising and strategic planning.
  • Develop a series of key messages for donors and ensure that all staff exposed to donors have the necessary information and are able to position KIBHR in a meaningful and proper manner.
  • Open up and make the calendar of planned meetings between KIBHR management and donors and partners available to all staff, update it on a regular basis, ensure discussions are held at those meetings of the topical matters pertaining to KIBHR funding.
  • At the end of each year, issue (publish on the KIBHR website) a brief report on the number of implemented projects, results achieved, and funding obtained.
  • Ensure that each project application includes costs of the English translation of materials and reports.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Project Development (Fundraising) Group

 

Emergency planning

 

Main objective:  KIBHR does not have an emergency plan or a risk assessment plan which would outline the actions by the staff in the event of planned attempts to interfere. Due to the fact that the political situation in Kazakhstan is highly unpredictable, and that many KIBHR employees are well known, there is a necessity in developing a document which would outline measures to ensure the safety of the staff and continuity of work in the event of undesirable scenarios, be it at a local or national level. 

 

Tasks: 

  • Develop guidelines to ensure the safety of the staff.
  • Compile a list of contacts in case of emergencies (representatives of state bodies, local and foreign media, foreign partners), including for the regional offices.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

A. Ibraeva, K. Rakhimberdin, R. Akylbekova

Branch directors

 

communications

 

Objective: Interviews with the staff and partners have revealed an insufficient understanding of the structure, goals and priorities of KIBHR. The information on KIBHR that is available in public domain does not give a fair idea of the scope of its activities.

 

Tasks: 

  • Formulate and/or update the key messages about KIBHR priorities and achievements.
  • Ensure any speakers giving speeches on behalf of KIBHR use those key messages.
  • Conduct training for the staff in communications with the media.
  • Update the website.

 

Responsible for task implementation:

Information and Monitoring Centre 

 

Training for Staff 

 

Objective: KIBHR does not have a standing programme of trainings for its staff, although the employees (especially at the regional offices) are indeed interested in improving their skills and professional development. Many employees are experts in their respective fields and often act as trainers for other organisations. Planning will allow for the use of conferences, seminars and other opportunities for staff training, using KIBHR`s own resources. Regular meetings and engaging more employees in the process of strategic planning will also allow to improve efficiency of work. 

 

Tasks: 

  • Obtain additional funding for staff training, as well as more comprehensive training for the key staff.
  • Make a calendar of attendance of regional events by the KIBHR staff, and use it in conducting internal training.
  • Invite external experts (who come to Kazakhstan on visits or to participate in conferences) to conduct brief meetings/session, e.g. on matters of management in an NGO, social media, or work in the regions. 

 

Responsible for task implementation: 

KIBHR Management