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U.S. Statement on the UPR of Kazakhstan
February 12, 2010

UN Human Rights Council


Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Kazakhstan
Intervention of the United States of America

Delivered by John C. Mariz

The United States welcomes

His Excellency the Deputy Prime Minister and and the Kazakh delegation to the Working Group of the UPR. We thank the delegation for the submission of its national report and for its presentation today. We offer the following comment and recommendations.

The United States welcomes the National Human Rights Action Plan that the Government of Kazakhstan adopted in 2009, but we remain concerned about media freedom and religious freedom in Kazakhstan.

The United States recommends that Kazakhstan, working together with civil society, fully implement its National Human Rights Action Plan, ensuring that it is enshrined in law and has appropriate budgetary support. Similarly, the United States recommends that Kazakhstan continue its efforts to combat child labor and requests that the Government provide more concrete information on the Working Plan to Eliminate Child Labor in Kazakhstan and on the results attained.

The United States recommends that Kazakhstan eliminate criminal liability for defamation in the media and amend the civil code to assure that any judgment in a civil libel case is reasonable, proportionate, and does not result in the closure of the media outlet in question.

The United States remains concerned about the treatment of members of minority religious groups in Kazakhstan. We welcome Kazakhstan’s standing invitation to the Special Procedures mandate holders and recommend that the Kazakhstan reach out to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to arrange a visit at the earliest opportunity.