20 March 2002
OSCE'S OFFICE IN ALMATY, PRESIDENTIAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION HOLD ROUND TABLE
The OSCE's office in Almaty and Kazakhstan's Presidential Commission on Human Rights held a round table in Astana on March 20, where the results of monitoring of the human rights situation in different regions of the country were discussed. The monitoring got underway last year. Representatives of some Kazakh NGOs reported that some of the rights guaranteed to every Kazakh citizen under the Constitution are not supported by regulations of the Criminal and Criminal-Procedural Codes. For example, according to the Kazakh Constitution, every citizen of Kazakhstan has the right to use services of his or her lawyer at the very moment of his/her detention, while the Kazakh Criminal-Procedural Code does not even contain any mention of the "moment of detention." The same Code says that a detained person has the right to make his or her first phone call only after the first interrogation.
Also discussed at the round table was the issue of the overdue social allowances owed by Baidibek Regional administration, South Kazkahstan, to local women (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 29 November 2001 and 9 January and 13 March 2002). The Mazhilis (the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament) decided at its 20 March session to create a special working group to investigate the Baidibek women's complaints. The ladies have been striking since the beginning of 2001, demanding that their overdue social allowances since 1995 to be fully paid off.
ASSOCIATION OF THE WORLD'S KAZAKHS TO LAUNCH SPECIAL PROGRAM TO SUPPORT OF ETHNIC KAZAKHS ABROAD
The Association of the World's Kazakhs held a session in Almaty on 20 March at which Kazakh repatriates from eight countries were present. Qaldarbek Naymanbayev, who is the Association's vice chairman, announced that it has been decided to launch a program of support for ethnic Kazakhs living abroad. After Kazakhstan declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Kazakh government unveiled a state program on moving ethnic Kazakhs from Afghanistan, China, Mongolia, Iran, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and other countries to Kazakhstan. In recent years Kazakhstan had to reduce the annual quotas for Kazakh repatriates due to a shortage of funds.
IRANIAN AMBASSADOR CONGRATULATES KAZAKH CITIZENS WITH NAURYZ HOLIDAY
The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Kazakhstan, Murtaza Safoori, held a special press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Almaty on 20 March where he congratulated the population of Kazakhstan with one of the main holidays of Central Asia and Middle East - Nauryz. According to Ambassador Safoori, he is going to celebrate Nauryz outside of his country for the first time in his life this year.
UNITED DEMOCRATIC PARTY MEETS IN WARSAW
Amirzhan Qosanov, who is chairman of the Executive Committee of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, told RFE/RL on 20 March that the United Democratic Party of Kazakhstan held a session in Warsaw earlier this month. According to Qosanov, 12 persons took part in the session. The main issues discussed were the further activities of the coalition party, which unites the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, the Party of People's Congress and the Azamat party.