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HRW Warns Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship Could ‘Backfire’

President Nursultan Nazarbaev should take the lead on the OSCE chairmanship, according to HRW.
ALMATY -- Human Rights Watch's executive director says Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010 could turn into a "debacle," RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Kenneth Roth told RFE/RL in Almaty that unless Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev or Prime Minister Karim Masimov sends a clear signal that the government cares how its OSCE chairmanship is received, the lower levels of government will not take the necessary steps to improve media rights, the freedom of assembly, and religious freedoms.

Roth said that instead of boosting the Kazakh government's reputation and legitimacy around the world, its OSCE chairmanship could backfire if it is seen as the "hypocrisy of a leader that fails to abide by the democratic standards it is supposed to be upholding."