Kazakhstan: “OSCE Summit should be cancelled”…

Demands Joe Higgins MEP

Following a visit by a delegation from the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/UL) Group of the European Parliament headed by Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP for Dublin, the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the European Parliament is to hold a “Hearing on Human Rights in Kazakhstan in view of the OSCE chairmanship” on October 26, 2010.

The Hearing coincides with a visit by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the European Union in Brussels from October 24-27, where he is due to hold discussions with Belgium’s King Albert II, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, NATO, the European Union’s Council of Ministers, the European Investment Bank, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Throughout 2010, Kazakhstan has held the Presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and in December a Summit of the 56 Heads of State of the OSCE member countries is due to take place in the country’s capital, Astana. Within Kazakhstan, this is being presented by the authoritarian regime as a massive celebration to mark the success of the 2010 Presidency – in effect claiming that the 56 Heads of State approve of the situation.

Joe Higgins and the other signatories to this statement are calling for the Summit to be cancelled. During his visit to Kazakhstan he met with several dozen human and democratic rights activists, trade union and political activists, journalists, prison rights campaigners and former prisoners and campaigners against legal injustice and against the banks and building companies. Without exception, they all painted a picture in which an authoritarian regime based around an increasingly dynastic family clique is tightening the repressive state apparatus.

Based on this extensive evidence, Joe Higgins believes that these are not individual problems that can be resolved through dialogue with this undemocratic regime, but are the result of a systematic and conscious policy by the ruling clique to maintain their power and control over the economic wealth of the country. Clearly repression is being stepped up to ensure that December’s OSCE summit takes place with no disruption.

Joe Higgins is therefore calling for the 56 member states of the OSCE to cease their collaboration with this vicious regime, to call off this December’s summit and to make a clear and unambiguous statement condemning the way in which Kazakhstan’s government is retreating from even the basic principles of democracy and human rights.

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October 2010