Shortcomings of draft freedom of assembly law in Kazakhstan of concern, OSCE human rights head says
WARSAW Pending the final vote on a draft law to regulate the organization and holding of peaceful assemblies in Kazakhstan, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) expressed her concern about undue limitations to the freedom of assembly.
“While I welcome the initiative to replace the current legislation on the right to assemble, I am concerned that the draft law as it now stands fails to ensure the free exercise of the right to peaceful assembly,” said ODIHR Director Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir. “Although the draft law introduces a number of positive changes, it still contains overly harsh rules on the time, place and manner in which peaceful assemblies can be held.”
Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right crucial for the development of tolerant and democratic societies in which groups with different beliefs, practices or opinions can co-exist peacefully with each other. Such gatherings can serve many purposes, ranging from strong support to passionate protest.
“The legislative process is still ongoing. I very much hope that the Senate will address the shortcomings that remain and ensure the final legislation is balanced in its regulation of the right to peaceful assembly,” Gísladóttir added.
ODIHR encourages the Senate to ensure the draft law is brought in line with international standards, and offers its assistance to develop and improve it further. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is enshrined in numerous human rights instruments. All countries across the OSCE region have also committed to upholding this right in the OSCE Copenhagen Document (1990), the Paris Charter for a New Europe (1990), and the Helsinki Statement of 2008, which oblige countries to guarantee the right to peaceful assembly both in law and practice.
Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe