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PACE President ends official visit to Kazakhstan, encourages closer co-operation

PACE President Rik Daems ended his three-day official visit to Kazakhstan. Congratulating the country on the 30th anniversary of its independence, he particularly focused on strengthening co-operation between the Parliamentary Assembly and Kazakhstan with a view to implementing reforms in the field of  human rights recently announced by the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

In the course of the meetings with the President of Kazakhstan, the Speakers of both Chambers of the Parliament (Senate and Majilis) and other officials, it was highlighted by both sides that PACE can play an important role in helping to build effective democratic institutions and promoting human rights in Kazakhstan.

The need to assess the effectiveness of the current co-operation agreement between PACE and Kazakhstan (signed in 2004) and to explore different options for enhanced, mutually beneficial co-operation (such as, for example, Partner for Democracy status) was agreed.

Mr Daems commended the decision of Kazakhstan to totally abolish the death penalty in the country and welcomed the statement made by President Tokayev, just two hours before their meeting, on full integration of the provisions of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (related to the abolition of the death penalty) into the Kazakh legal system.

The PACE President emphasised the importance of stepping up the work aimed at establishing a common legal space between Europe and Kazakhstan, and strongly encouraged the authorities to bring Kazakh legislation further into line with European standards. For that purpose, Mr Daems stressed the importance for Kazakhstan of becoming a party to various Council of Europe Conventions which are open to non-member states, such as the Lanzarote Convention or the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

Welcoming recent steps made by the authorities of Kazakhstan to combat domestic violence and violence against women, Rik Daems invited Kazakhstan to accelerate its accession to the Istanbul Convention (for which the invitation to accede was made by the Committee of Ministers in 2020) and received assurances of the firm intention of Kazakhstan to sign and ratify this Convention in the near future. He also addressed the national round table on gender equality and protection of women's rights.

In a joint statement, the PACE President and the Head of the delegation of the Kazakh Parliament to the PACE, expressed their interest in enhancing cooperation, expanding contacts, and deepening dialogue between the Parliament of Kazakhstan and the PACE.