The European Union and Kazakhstan held the seventh round of their annual Human Rights Dialogue in Astana on 26 November. The Kazakhstan delegation was led by Mr Iogan Merkel, First Deputy Prosecutor General, while the EU delegation was led by Mr Toivo Klaar, Head of Central Asia Division at the European External Action Service
The dialogue allowed for constructive exchanges on a wide range of issues, including freedom of association, women's rights, the prevention of torture and ill-treatment of detainees and press freedom.
The EU acknowledged the significant efforts made by Kazakhstan to prevent the mistreatment of detainees, including through the work of the National Preventive Mechanism, and encouraged implementation of the recommendations adopted by the UN Committee against Torture in 2014.
The EU noted its concerns in relation to pressure on independent media outlets and the possible negative implications of new draft legislation on the funding of civil society organisations. The EU welcomed the release since the last Human Rights Dialogue of a number of imprisoned human rights and labour activists, and reiterated its concerns regarding the situation of Mr. Vladimir Kozlov and other detained activists.
The next round of the EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogue is expected to take place in Brussels in 2016.