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Statement of the human rights organizations of Kazakhstan about establishment of alternative public monitoring board (PMB) in Kostanai oblast


The Public Monitoring Board (PMB) of Kostanai oblast presently effective has been established in November 2006.


Currently the PMB has 9 members.  They are human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and a psychologist.  During 6 years of operation Kostanai PMB has performed more than 200 visits to closed penal institutions of Kostanai oblast (correctional facilities (colonies), pre-trial detention centers), its members have delivered more than 1000 free legal consultations to convicts and their relatives, have organized contests and legal quiz games for convicts, exhibition of paintings by free-lance artists, have conducted two human rights schools, which have also been attended by the oblast’s penitentiary institutions staff.


Kostanai oblast PMB has also conducted more than 180 lectures, trainings and seminars, information-sharing meetings and round tables both for penitentiary system officers and convicts and individuals in closed institutions, as well as for NGOs and civil society activists, working in this area.


PMB has prepared reports, has developed recommendations for the state agencies, which have been forwarded to correctional institutions themselves and competent state bodies, such as RK Justice Ministry, RK Interior Ministry, RK Interior Ministry Penitentiary System Committee, Ombudsman and various levels of Prosecutor’s Offices.


In addition to monitoring penitentiary institutions, the PMB members have also monitored such institutions as Centre for Temporary Isolation, Adaptation and Rehabilitation for the Minors, State Institution Kostanai Oblast Psychiatric Hospital, Adaptation Centre for Homeless and Temporary Detention Centres of the oblast.


Besides, PMB member have attended repeated occasions in capacity of the observers civil and criminal trials. 


To conclude Kostanai PMB has actively participated in drafting of a complaint by the resident of Kostanai oblast for the UN Committee against torture, which the Committee has revised and decided on July 10, 2012 in favour of the complainant.


In May 2012, PMB took a decision on forced suspension of its activity on visits to pretrial detention centers and correctional facilities of Kostanai oblast due to regular violations by the staff of penitentiary system of public monitoring rules and terms pursuant to the Law of RK and relevant international standards as well as defiance of applications, initiatives and recommendations made by PMB. 


A press-conference was organized on this occasion in Astana, on May 14, 2012 with the representatives of Penal Reform International and Coalition of Kazakhstan NGOs Against Torture represented by Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law.  The objective of the press-conference was to draw public and media attention to problems faced by human rights organizations during their visits to custodial institutions.


Press-conference participants have announced the decision of Kostanai oblast PMB and have read out an appeal to relevant state agencies to ensure an uninterrupted and efficient work of the public monitoring boards during their visits to custodial institutions to prevent torture and other types of cruel treatment.


To resolve the situation PMB of Kostanai oblast and other participants of the press-conference have offered to competent state bodies to start seeking mutually acceptable solutions for the problems in order to promote human rights and to pursue implementation of international commitments of our state.


The latter is of particular significance since Kazakhstan, according to these international commitments, must establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) – a system of regular visits including sudden visits to all institutions where citizens are in custody and their freedom is limited.  According to proposed legislative draft public monitoring boards shall constitute the basis of the NPM.


However, we have discovered a few days ago that an alternative Public Monitoring Board was established in Kostanai oblast with the support of some non-governmental organizations.  Establishing another PMB in Kostanai oblast does not only contradict the effective PMB and Coalition of Kazakhstan NGOs Against Torture decision to suspend the functioning of the regional board till full satisfaction of human rights activists demands to Penitentiary System Department of Kostanai oblast, but also is a violation of the law, which allows organizing and functioning of only one public monitoring board in every region.


We consider establishment of alternative PMB a threat to protecting the rights of imprisoned individuals and see this act as strikebreaking undermining the foundation of human rights monitoring and as provoking the conflict in relations between various structures of the civil society.


In this regard we announce that for the purpose of monitoring human rights of convicts in custodial institutions we recognize the Public Monitoring Board effective since 2006 as our only partner in Kostanai oblast.


We also state hereby the impossibility of maintaining cooperation with the organizations who deliberately took active part in establishment of alternative PMB in Kostanai oblast or who have supported its establishment ignoring thereby the opinions of wider human rights society of the country.



Almaty, July 26, 2012



Organizations and independent experts:


Charter for Human Rights Public Fund


Svetlana Chernikova , psychologist of Crisis Center for psychological help to population, State Institution Kostanai Psychiatric Hospital, Kostanai oblast PMB member


Vadim Sobolev, representatives of “Zharyk” foundation, Kostanai oblast PMB member


Anastasia Miller, Chairman of Kostanai oblast PMB


Stas Kiselev, Vremya newspaper journalist, Kostanai oblast PMB member


Coalition of Kazakhstan NGOs Against Torture


Union of Kazakhstan’s Crisis Centers


Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law


Adil Soz International Fund for Protection of Freedom of Speech


Fund for Development of Parliamentarianism in Kazakhstan


Amansaulyk Public Fund


Kazakhstan’s Children’s Fund


International Legal Initiative Public Fund


Media Net International Journalism Center


Feminist League


Tatiana Chernobyl, Independent Experts


Legal Policy Research Center


Taldykorgan Human Rights Center


Taldykorgan Regional Center for Support to Democracy


Kuat Rakhimberdin, East Kazakhstan oblast PMB


Alexander Mukha, Mangistau oblast PMB


Pavel Kochetkov, West Kazakhstan oblast PMB


Yuri Gussakov, Karagandy oblast PMB


Anara Ibrayeva, Chairman of Astana city PMB

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