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OSCE Members Urged To Address Human Rights In Kazakhstan

ASTANA -- Human rights activists and journalists from Kazakhstan and other countries are urging OSCE member states to "increase the efficiency of [their] dialogue" with Kazakh officials about human rights in Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

In an open letter issued today, the activists expressed their concern about the situation faced by independent journalists, rights activists, opposition political figures, and religious minorities in Kazakhstan. They say Kazakh authorities have increased "repression against activists and journalists."

Some 80 human rights activists and journalists based in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan signed the letter.

The letter also asks Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) members to pressure Kazakh authorities to guarantee media freedom and to release jailed independent journalist Ramazan Esergepov, rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis, former uranium company director Mukhtar Dzhakishev, and opposition activist Yermek Narymbaev.

Kazakhstan is the chairman of the OSCE for 2010.

An OSCE summit that will include the leaders of most member states will be held in Astana from December 1-2.

Read more in Russian here.