Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan

Speech by Ambassador Traian Hristea at the international conference "Towards a society without torture: progress to date and next steps"

Astana, 27/04/2018 - 09:44, UNIQUE ID: 180504_6
Speeches of the Ambassador

Speech by Ambassador Traian Hristea at the international conference "Towards a society without torture: progress to date and next steps", 27 April 2018, Astana.

Thank you very much Mr Akhmetzhanov,

Right Honourable Members of Parliament,

Right Honourable Justices,

Your Excellency Constitutional Council,

Dear colleagues,

It is an honour and privilege to join the previous speakers with some opening remarks at today's  conference dedicated to prevention of torture and ill-treatment.

I am also glad Mr Akhmetzhanov shortly underlined that EU contributed to the topic discussed today, by providing the best European expertise.

Promotion and protection of the freedom from torture is a priority of the EU's human rights policy.

In 2012, the EU has reinforced its Guidelines on Policy against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

All EU Member States are strongly committed to work towards the prevention and eradication of all forms of torture and ill-treatment within the EU and world-wide. In this regard, we appreciate the efforts done by the EU and EU partner states, through their respective Embassies, such as the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Finland in supporting civil society initiatives in their work to combat torture in Kazakhstan during those years.  

The EU supports actively the work of all relevant actors - the Committee against Torture, the UN agencies, the Committee for Prevention of Torture, the OSCE and others.

I am glad to see the representatives of international partner organisations, particularly Council of Europe.

Furthermore, to act on these commitments, through the ongoing EU project on "Enhancing criminal justice", the EU Delegation supported the project “Towards a society without torture”, initiated by the General Prosecutor Office in 2016. As a result of our cooperation a comprehensive Action plan based on data analysis and international law consultations has been developed.  In this process the project ensured participation of the Civil Society Organizations and I am also glad to see them at this conference today.

The proposed Action plan had all the ingredients, which also make up the EU policy against torture: 1) Development of legal guarantees during criminal investigation; 2) Combatting impunity; 3) Providing reparation and rehabilitation for victims and 4) Improving procedures for complaints and reports of torture and ill-treatment.

The Action Plan was an important step in the country’s anti-torture policy.  More important work followed at the implementation stage throughout the 2017.  The EU project supported these efforts by providing training, technical expertise and inclusive engagement of all stakeholders.  It also supported practical measures, which were taken by the GPO to implement standards for prompt and effective investigation of torture complaints. 

This year Kazakhstan is due to report to the UN Committee Against Torture with its 4th periodic report.  I am sure that the results of today’s discussion will form an important part of the dialogue between the Country Delegation and the Committee Members in Geneva.

I am also positive that the honest efforts which are being taken by the Government to implement zero-tolerance policy to torture shall be recognized.

We highly support the April 19 statement of the General Prosecutor on the need for comprehensive reform of the prison system to ensure respect to human dignity and for systemic approach to prevention of torture and ill-treatment in closed institutions. 

In this regard, we stand ready to support the next steps of the Government in further advancing towards the society without torture.  These may include practical implementation of the 2016 Action Plan to combat torture, as well as development of the specific anti-torture legislation.

 I once again want to express the gratitude for the General Prosecutor Office for the open invitation to have such an important dialogue with all stakeholders: Constitutional Council, Judges, Members of the executive prosecutors, lawyers, NGOs, international organisations, practitioners, law enforcement agencies and work together to combat one of the gravest crime in the international law. 

I wish you all a productive and successful work.