This week, PRI facilitated a visit to the Slovenian Ombudsman by a delegation from the Ombudsman’s office in Kazakhstan, including the Askar Shakirov, Ombudsman of Kazakhstan and Rustam Kypshakbayev, a specialist from the Ombudsman office.
This visit was undertaken as part of a new 10-month PRI Central Asia project funded by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which aims to enable PRI to support the review of criminal legislation currently underway in Kazakhstan and influence the development and alignment of new legislation and penal policy, with international human rights standards and best practice.
A component of the project is to support the operational development of Kazakhstan’s new National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to prevent torture and ill-treatment in detention, which was established in law in July 2013. Over the last few years, PRI’s Central Asia office has played a central role in the establishment of an NPM in Kazakhstan, supporting the drafting of the new law, advocating in particular for the essential involvement of civil society in the NPM and for the NPM to be financed by central government. It has also provided training and capacity building for future NPM members and helped to establish its operational procedures.
The Kazakhstan model of NPM established in legislation is an ‘Ombudsman plus’ model which includes a role for the Ombudsman (the Commissioner for Human Rights), but also stipulates the active participation of civil society. The Kazakhstan NPM is now in the final stages of operationalisation and is expected to formally start work in March 2014.
The visit to Slovenia, where the NPM has a similar structure, was designed to enable international exchange of good practice and focused on detailed operational matters in particular the modes of communication and interaction between the Ombudsman and civil society NPM members. As well as discussion, the visiting delegates were also able to visit a prison in the district of Nova Gorica.
Photograph: lunch for prisoners in Nova Gorica (Saule Mektepbayeva)
Find out more about our work in Central Asia.