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Procedure : 2021/2544(RSP)
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Texts tabled :

RC-B9-0144/2021

Debates :

PV 11/02/2021 - 6.2
CRE 11/02/2021 - 6.2

Votes :

PV 11/02/2021 - 8
PV 11/02/2021 - 17

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0056

Debates
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Thursday, 11 February 2021 - Brussels Revised edition

6.2. Human rights situation in Kazakhstan
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Przewodnicząca. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dziennego jest debata nad siedmioma projektami rezolucji w sprawie sytuacji praw człowieka w Kazachstanie 2021/2544(RSP)*.

__________

* Patrz protokół posiedzenia.

 
  
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  Róża Thun und Hohenstein, author. – Madam President, the Kazakhstan Government intends to celebrate the 30th anniversary of independence, but it will not be a real celebration until all political prisoners are released, until politically-motivated court proceedings are dropped, as well as all kinds of harassment aimed at regime critics, human rights defenders and civil society activists – until all of this is stopped.

But, unfortunately, these are the common practices in today’s Kazakhstan. A year ago, I visited Kazakhstan to discuss the implementation of Kazakhstan’s human rights obligations stemming from the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It was during this very visit that Dulat Agadil, a blogger and a prominent human rights activist, died in a pre—trial detention facility. Died, or was he killed? I saw pictures and films from his brutal deportation from home. I saw pictures and films showing his dead body with traces of torture. I heard that he was denied medical aid and he died only several hours after his detention. I asked at several meetings with the authorities, ‘what happened’? So far, nobody has received a serious response.

Those films were made by his son, Zhanbolat. A few months later, Zhanbolat, 17 years old and the main witness of Dulat’s arbitrary arrest, was murdered in suspicious circumstances. Those also have not been properly investigated. Only in 2020, three more opposition activists, Serik Orazov, Amanbike Khairolla and Garifulla Embergenov, lost lives after being put under immense political pressure.

The authorities obstruct a fair and transparent investigation into these deaths and none of the perpetrators has been brought to justice. Yes, we hear and we welcome the release from prison of certain opposition leaders and we welcome the cancellation of fines that had been unjustly put on NGOs, but we cannot accept imposing bans on their activism and constant pressure on civil society organisations is an unacceptable practice.

Opposition movements, human rights activists, are labelled extremist organisations and treated as such. We elaborate more on this in our resolution. I want to very sincerely thank all of your colleagues and our wonderful staff members who cooperated on it and I want to appeal to you all. I also want to urge all our EU institutions to strengthen Kazakhstan’s civil society, raising concerns with the authorities and even considering the imposition of targeted sanctions against state officials linked to human rights abuses, including the political killings.

I wanted to add the last sentence because, as we are talking now, at least 17 supporters of peaceful opposition movements risk sharing the fate of Dulat Agadil if not immediately released from prison. Their names are Askhat Zheksebayev and Kairat Klyshev. Meanwhile, others like Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) activist Almat Zhumagulov, Aset Abishev and Kenzhebek Abishev [...] (The President interrupted the speaker) ... long prison sentences, free for political prisoners.

 
  
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  Andris Ameriks, autors. – Labdien, godājamie kolēģi deputāti! Cienījamā priekšsēdētājas kundze!

Es gribētu sākt ar to, ka Kazahstāna ir ļoti svarīgs Eiropas Savienības partneris un attiecības ar Kazahstānu kā vienu no Centrālās Āzijas reģiona stabilitātes un attīstības nodrošinātāju ir ļoti nozīmīgas. Augsti vērtējamas ir arī veiktās reformas valsts pārvaldē un likumdošanā, tai skaitā atceļot nāves sodu. Tieši tāpēc kā Eiropas Savienības nozīmīgam, uz nākotni vērstam partnerim, kā mūsu draugam ir svarīgi izteikt to kritiku, tās bažas par cilvēktiesību normu ievērošanu un nepieciešamību paātrināt un paplašināt demokrātijas reformu ieviešanu. Jau gadu atpakaļ ir stājies spēkā Eiropas Savienības un Kazahstānas uzlabotais partnerības un sadarbības nolīgums, kura mērķis ir nodrošināt plašu pamatu pastiprinātam politiskam dialogam, kur būtiska loma ir demokrātijai, tiesiskumam, cilvēktiesībām un pamatvērtībām. Mūsu kopīgs mērķis ir iedzīvotāju labklājība un demokrātija.

Šodien mēs balsosim par rezolūciju par cilvēktiesību pārkāpumiem Kazahstānā. Kāpēc šis jautājums vispār ir nonācis mūsu dienaskārtībā?

Sākot no pagājušā gada augusta, līdz pat gada beigām vairākos Kazahstānas reģionos bez pietiekoša pamata un pierādījumiem varas iestādes sāka vērsties pret pilsoniskās sabiedrības pārstāvošām organizācijām. Sākās pārbaudes par šo organizāciju saņemtajiem ziedojumiem no ārvalstīm un to izlietojumu. Kopā pret vairāk nekā 20 nevalstiskām organizācijām tika uzsāktas lietvedības. Dažām tika uzlikti lieli naudas sodi, un vairākas organizācijas bija spiestas pārtraukt savu darbību. Šādas Kazahstānas varas iestāžu darbības piesaistīja starptautiskās sabiedrības, tai skaitā arī Eiropas Savienības uzmanību. Un mums ir jāreaģē!

Es aicinu Kazahstānas valdību rīkoties saskaņā ar tās starptautiskajām saistībām, ievērot cilvēktiesības un pamatvērtības. Tāpat aicinu Kazahstānu īstenot reformas, kuru mērķis ir valsts modernizācijas, demokrātijas un stabilitātes veicināšana, kā arī stiprināt centienus reformēt Kazahstānas politisko sistēmu, lai attīstītu parlamentārismu un daudzpartiju sistēmu, un paplašināt arī pilsonisko līdzdalību.

Es vēlreiz vēlos uzsvērt, ka Kazahstāna ir ciešs un uzticams Eiropas Savienības sabiedrotais Centrālāzijas reģionā un Eiropas Savienības un Kazahstānas draudzība ļauj garantēt daudz lielāku drošību šajā reģionā un pārskatāmāku nākotni valsts iedzīvotājiem.

Taču ir lietas, kas ciešā sadarbībā ar Eiropas Savienības institūcijām, Eiropas Parlamentu vēl būtu jāpaveic. Man Kazahstāna savos centienus stiprināt demokrātiskos procesus liekas simpātiska, un uzskatu viņus par saviem draugiem. Tāpēc šī rezolūcija kalpos kā laba ceļa karte, kas sniegs vēl lielāku ieguldījumu Eiropas un Kazahstānas partnerībai.

 
  
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  Petras Auštrevičius, author. – Madam President, Kazakhstan ranks 157th in the World Press Freedom Index. The state control over the freedom of speech in modernising and moves on online space seeking to censor and control the internet. Bloggers, opinion makers and social media users are being silenced with long-term prison sentences and confinement to psychiatric clinics. Corruption among ruling elite prevails. The country ranks 94th in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, and further impedes the human rights, social justice and socio-economic development.

Despite the Kazakh authorities’ promise to improve the human rights record under the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, despite acceptance of more than 200 recommendations provided by the UN Human Rights Council and despite long-standing OSCE/ODHIR recommendations and recent findings of the ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission, the human rights violations in Kazakhstan are taking place on a daily basis.

We are alerted and deeply concerned about the shrinking space of civil society, particularly the cases of several human rights organisations. Those activities were suspended and fined on alleged violations and the crackdown against the independent trade unions. An even more worrisome situation is with peaceful opposition movements, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) and Koshe Partiyasy, as their members and supporters dominate the list of political prisoners.

Last year, five political activists, including Dulat Agadil and his 17-year old son, died as a result of illegal actions and political repression by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Human rights defenders in Kazakhstan are under constant intimidation, harassment and threat of criminal charges. For example, Elena Semenova is being persecuted for exposing torture in prisons. Raigul Sadyrbayeva for helping activists to defend their rights. Anna Shukeyeva and her husband Baurzhan Atuzbayev for aiding politically persecuted persons.

Recent actions of the Kazakh government, when few political prisoners were released, with fines and suspension of activities for several NGOs were removed, are much welcome, but does not fulfil its commitments. It must be clear that the European Union seeks for cooperation with Kazakhstan, but puts respect for human rights and democracy above economic gains.

 
  
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  Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, author. – Madam President, 30 years ago, when Kazakhstan, the last remaining Soviet republic, declared independence and effectively ended the union, hope was high that the new Republic would embrace democracy and build an effective statehood. Hope was high that the people of Kazakhstan, who had suffered on the nuclear site at Semipalatinsk, would now be granted fundamental rights and a chance for a dignified life. All these hopes were crushed by 30 years of Nazarbayev’s dictatorship. Not a single fair election was held under his rule, corruption flourished, freedom of speech was severely restricted, the opposition imprisoned, mine workers’ protests brutally suppressed and journalists terrorised and murdered.

Now Nazarbayev’s successor has promised to do a better job at controlled democratisation . At first glance, party registration has been simplified, participation and protests partially allowed, the death penalty was recently abolished and regions were given a bit more self—governance. Yet the recent deterioration of human rights calls into question the real efforts of the new President.

The key OSCE recommendations were ignored during the last parliamentary elections, censorship was tightened and internet surveillance reached a dystopian level. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were illegally detained, and the practice of harassing, assaulting and arresting journalists was continued. Women and girls still suffer greatly, despite the introduction of mandatory quotas on electoral lists, not to speak of the terrible situation for women in detention centres. The government cracked down on the civil sector, trade unions and human rights organisations. Prisoners are still being tortured and the number of political prisoners has started to rise again.

The EU is based on the respect for fundamental rights and principles. Therefore, economic cooperation with Kazakhstan, which has huge potential, can only be advanced on condition of respecting our fundamental values. Human rights are not for sale.

 
  
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  Malin Björk, author. – Madam President, there are certain things that should be universal in this world, respect for democracy, fundamental rights and rule of law, and some of us fight relentlessly for this within the EU. And so that is why we also have to act when human rights and democracy are not respected outside the EU, as is the case today in Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan NGOs are harassed and silenced. Human rights activists are imprisoned. The peaceful opposition movements are banned. The elections did not meet democratic standards. The authorities imprison individuals on politically motivated charges. They abuse legislation against extremism to call people into defamation and calling them terrorists and also imprisoning, and the situation with ongoing torture, has been documented.

So because of their very activities, their democratic activities, journalists, politicians, peaceful protesters, bloggers and human right defenders, civil society is being targeted and this situation cannot go on. With this resolution we want to send a clear message urging the authorities to stop all types of persecution of dissident voices and to release all political prisoners immediately.

In today’s debate I also want to show our solidarity with our sisters in Kazakhstan who fight every day for the right to live a decent life, free from violence. Last year’s Women’s March was the biggest one in Kazakhstan’s independent history. And the women that gathered, they had a manifesto and I quote, we have the experience of living in a country where we do not feel safe, and where the laws do not protect us. Security is the basic need of every person and it is precisely what we are deprived of. The women’s activists wrote. So I want to speak up in solidarity with our sisters who fall victim to gender-based violence and urge Kazakhstan to sign the Istanbul Convention, just as I urge those Member States in the EU that haven’t signed the Istanbul Convention, to do so.

We call for Kazakhstan to adopt robust legislation against violence against women, against gender-based violence, to protect the rights of those that need it most in a situation when we have not full respect for democracy and rule of law. So feminists around Europe, we stand with women’s rights activists in Kazakhstan to speak up against impunity of those perpetrators of gender-based violence.

 
  
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  Thierry Mariani, auteur. – Madame la Présidente, il y a 29 ans, le Kazakhstan, alors république socialiste soviétique, devenait un État indépendant. En 29 ans, ce pays a réussi à devenir un État développé ouvert sur le monde où de multiples nationalités cohabitent paisiblement dans une liberté religieuse totale. La vie démocratique peut-elle y être améliorée? Bien sûr, mais bien peu d’États ont réussi à parcourir un tel chemin pacifiquement en si peu de temps.

Le Kazakhstan accomplit depuis des années des progrès évidents en matière de démocratie et de respect des droits de l’homme. Le président Tokaïev poursuit l’ouverture annoncée par le président Nazarbaïev et a encore annoncé récemment des réformes qui augmentent les libertés, comme les mesures déjà prises en mai 2020 avec des lois sur les partis politiques et les assemblées. Évidemment, des progrès restent à faire, les autorités kazakhes l’admettent elles-mêmes.

Que fait en réalité cette résolution? Elle attaque injustement une des républiques d’Asie centrale qui constitue un exemple dans la région, et envoie donc un signal déplorable aux voisins du Kazakhstan qui essayent de suivre la même voie, comme l’Ouzbékistan. Et puis, cette résolution répond surtout au désir d’un ancien ministre kazakh devenu le mécène de toutes les oppositions dans le pays et à l’étranger, M. Abliazov.

Ce monsieur n’est qu’un escroc. Il est accusé d’avoir détourné plus de 6 milliards d’euros dans son pays, lorsqu’il était président de la banque BTA. Il est condamné à la prison à vie pour avoir commandité le meurtre de son associé. Condamné en Grande-Bretagne, recherché en Ukraine et en Russie pour escroquerie, réfugié aujourd’hui en France. Pour se défendre, l’escroc a décidé de se repeindre en défenseur des droits de l’homme et finance abondamment de nombreuses ONG qui, à Bruxelles ou ailleurs, nous harcèlent pour condamner le Kazakhstan.

En 1993, à l’initiative du premier président Nazarbaïev, le Kazakhstan a lancé le premier programme Bolashak, qu’on pourrait traduire par «futur», et, depuis, a envoyé des milliers d’étudiants se former dans les meilleures universités américaines et européennes. Pensez-vous que ce soit le signe d’un gouvernement refermé sur lui-même qui aurait peur de la démocratie?

Voter cette résolution est un bien mauvais service à rendre à un pays qui, à son rythme, avance sur la voie du développement économique et démocratique.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, the deterioration of human rights in Kazakhstan is cause for deep concern. In the past few weeks there has been a crackdown on civil society organisations. Harsh restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly and association have also been imposed. The elections on 10 January did not demonstrate sufficient political reforms or any sort of democratic modernisation. Despite promises of the inclusion of genuine opposition parties to participate in the political system, no such parties were registered and allowed on the ballot, though several tried. This follows a slew of barriers and blockages to opposition, leaving many people without a voice.

The state of media freedom is also worrying. State-owned or state-subsidised media channels dominate the Kazakhstani media, since the main national opposition newspapers were all banned in 2016. Independent journalists continue to face harassment. Regrettably, gender equality also remains a problem in Kazakhstan. Violence against women is vastly under-reported and LGBTI persons still face legal challenges and discrimination. More must be done to ensure the protection of the victims of gender-based violence.

I urge the government of Kazakhstan to fulfil its domestic and international duties by stopping attacking civil society and providing a culture of open government that empowers citizens. Nothing less will suffice.

A Uachtaráin, comhghairdeas do mo chomhghleacaithe as ucht labhairt ar an ábhar an-thábhachtach seo.

 
  
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  Nacho Sánchez Amor, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señora presidenta, no insistiré en la descripción que han hecho la mayoría de los diputados, una descripción de la que solo ha parecido discrepar mi amigo Thierry Mariani, que ha hecho una descripción de la situación de Kazajistán ligeramente diferente de la otra.

Estamos ante un agujero negro en los derechos humanos que sigue mostrando retóricamente una voluntad de reforma, pero que siempre pondrá por delante —lo han hecho tradicionalmente— primero el desarrollo económico y luego lo que ellos llaman una democratización controlada. El grado de esa democratización lo marca la declaración de la OSCE sobre las elecciones: elecciones no competitivas, elecciones sin ningún estándar democrático y sin ninguna transparencia. La presión sobre las ONG sigue, al igual que la presión sobre los sindicatos. Y se ha hablado poco, yo creo, de la complicidad con China en la presión sobre los uigures.

Y lo que yo me pregunto es: ¿qué hace nuestra embajada?, ¿qué hace nuestra embajada en Kazajstán, que es la que debe garantizar que el Acuerdo de Cooperación incluya todos los aspectos de derechos humanos?

Hemos recibido, señor comisario, quejas sobre la actitud de nuestra embajada en Kazajistán, que dice practicar una diplomacia silenciosa. Señor comisario, la embajada en Kazajistán necesita tener un cantante de ópera, no a Harpo Marx, dada la situación de derechos humanos. Y creo que, si la embajada en Kazajistán no responde a la presión que le están haciendo, inútilmente, las ONG en materia de derechos humanos, seguramente lo que tenemos que hacer es mandar a un cantante de ópera y quitar a Harpo Marx.

 
  
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  Klemen Grošelj, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, (inaudible) must be, even if it wishes to be a geopolitical one, based on respect for fundamental rights and universally-respected human rights. Respect of implementation of fundamental rights enshrined in the foundation of the EU needs to be our main geopolitical tool in dealing with undemocratic regimes, because it is proven that they are unable to efficiently fight the ideas promoted by our fundamental rights. They can and are using violence and oppression and all forms of coercion to confront these ideas, but they ultimately fail. In a world of great competition, the promotion of this value sometimes proves to be challenging, but with our economic power, combined with credible military deterrence, we can succeed in both, on both the global and regional level.

We are faced with the rise of authoritarian and semi—authoritarian regimes in our neighbourhood, and Kazakhstan is, unfortunately, one of them. It’s one of the countries in which the transition to democratic society failed, not yesterday but years ago. What we are seeing now is the sliding of the country into an increasingly authoritarian regime, and Central Asia, which is of strategic importance to the EU, is witnessing, in parallel with the rise of China, also the rise of authoritarianism. This authoritarianism is based, rather than on use of brutal force, on the use of sophisticated technologies for mass control of people’s everyday lives.

But we don’t need to fill ourselves with illusions. If needed, brutal force is still at the regime’s disposal, and if needed, it will use it without any mercy. But in Kazakhstan, a country at the crossroads of Western and Eastern influence, the regime also uses proven methods of opposition suppression which are part of the well-known arsenal of illiberal democracies. Full control of media, suppression of independent media, internet control and fake news dissemination as well of scores of legal and administrative tricks to rig and manipulate the election process. All this is done to portray to the world the Potemkin mirage of democratic society. In the long run, the suppression of democratic hopes cannot withstand the call for freedom and democracy. For this, I urge the Kazakhstan authorities to release all political prisoners and start the process of democratisation of the country and society and thereby ensure stability and prosperity for all the people of Kazakhstan.

 
  
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  Maximilian Krah, im Namen der ID-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, meine Damen und Herren! Wir erleben einen neuen Versuch, wie ein Land, das sich entwickelt, aus Europa geschulmeistert und belehrt wird.

Kasachstan ist ein Erfolgsmodell in Zentralasien. Es ist das Land mit der besten Wirtschaftsperformance, es ist das Land, das die meisten Freiheiten gibt, und ein Land, das sich auf den Weg in die Moderne gemacht hat. Ja, es ist noch ein Weg zu gehen. Aber dieses Land verdient es nicht, dass es belehrt wird, und es verdient es vor allen Dingen nicht, dass es belehrt wird aufgrund der Lobbyarbeit von Herrn Äblyazov, der allein in diesem Parlament eine lange Liste von Veranstaltungen durchgeführt hat.

Ich habe mir die Mühe gemacht, vom Wissenschaftlichen Dienst eine Aufstellung über die Tätigkeit der Open Dialog Foundation hier im Europäischen Parlament erstellen zu lassen. Ich kann nur sagen, es ist offensichtlich modern geworden, dass Milliardäre sich als Philanthropen tarnen, um ihre eigenen wirtschaftlichen Interessen durchzusetzen.

Herr Äblyazov ist ein Mörder, der seinen Vorgänger als Bankvorstand hat umbringen lassen und der anschließend 7 Milliarden EUR veruntreut hat. Er ist in England verurteilt worden, er hat Strafverfolgung in Frankreich erlebt, und er wird in diesem Parlament hofiert und seine Organisation wird eingeladen.

Die heutige Entschließung ist ein Ergebnis dieser Lobbyarbeit und das spiegelt sich auch darin wider, dass er unter Buchstabe T der Entschließung namentlich erwähnt wird, indem behauptet wird, die kasachische Justiz habe ihn aus politischen Gründen verurteilt, was falsch ist: Sie hat ihn verurteilt wegen des Mordes an dem vorherigen Bankvorstand. Dass wir uns hier hinstellen und meinen, ein Milliardär, der sagt, er sei Philanthrop, sei ein guter Mensch, und dass wir ein Mordurteil umdichten in ein politisches Urteil, zeigt die gesamte Verlogenheit des Menschenrechtsimperialismus, der hier Mode geworden ist.

Es ist besser, wir würden uns darauf konzentrieren, was Kasachstan wirklich ist, als darauf, was ein verurteilter Krimineller daraus machen möchte. Kasachstan ist ein Land, das einen Weg vor sich hat. Aber es ist auch ein Land, dass sich entwickelt, aus dem eine stabile Minderheit in Deutschland kommt, wir haben nämlich ungefähr 800 000 eingewanderte Deutschstämmige in unserem Land. Wir haben nach wie vor eine deutsche Minderheit von 180 000. Wir haben 200 deutsche Unternehmen in Kasachstan.

Ich kann all jenen, die meinen, sie müssten hier verurteilen, nur empfehlen, mal hinzufahren. „Die schlimmste Weltanschauung ist die derjenigen, die sich die Welt nie angeschaut haben“, wusste schon Humboldt. Sie glauben lieber einem verurteilten Mörder und Betrüger, anstatt dass Sie sich Daten, Fakten und die Realität anschauen. Das passt leider zu dem Menschenrechtsimperialismus und Werteimperialismus, den wir hier praktizieren. Aber es ist trotzdem beschämend und man muss sich entschuldigen dafür, dass dies neuerdings europäische Politik sein soll.

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, after 30 years in power, President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019. Despite very high expectations, respect for the rule of law, human rights and democracy remains weak. There is the reverse tendency in neighbouring Uzbekistan, by the way.

President Tokayev is personally and directly responsible for the persecution of civil society, mass detentions, the silencing of critics, the harassment of opposition members, and, again on 10 January, unfair and unfree parliamentary elections. I quote High Representative Borrell. He said ‘Systemic shortcomings in relation to freedom of association, assembly and expression continue to restrict the political landscape and the lack of competition left voters without a genuine choice’.

Kazakhstan and the people of Kazakhstan are a partner to the EU, but it’s time that the EU held Kazakhstan’s leaders to account. We have the new global human rights sanctions regime. Let’s use it.

 
  
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  Beata Mazurek, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Doceniając dotychczasowe działania Kazachstanu na rzecz poprawy stanu przestrzegania praw człowieka, musimy jeszcze bardziej zachęcać jego władze do kontynuacji wysiłków zmierzających do stosowania wysokich standardów ochrony praw człowieka i podstawowych wolności. Dostrzec można, że w pewnych obszarach wyraźna jest potrzeba poprawy. Chodzi tu m.in. o zapewnienie obywatelom możliwości pełnego korzystania fundamentalnych praw, w tym prawa do wolności zgromadzeń i zrzeszania się.

Liczymy również na możliwość pogłębiania współpracy z Kazachstanem w zakresie upowszechniania wolności religii i przekonań. Mamy też nadzieję na kontynuację współpracy w zakresie praw człowieka i promocji demokracji w ramach OBWE. W tym kontekście konieczny jest dalszy dialog z Kazachstanem, by pozytywnie oddziaływać na władze tego państwa i ukazywać znaczenie, jakie ma upowszechnianie standardów tej organizacji.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, egregio Commissario, l'entrata in vigore il 1° marzo 2020 dell'accordo avanzato di partenariato e di cooperazione con il Kazakhstan non ha ancora portato alla svolta necessaria e auspicata nel paese centroasiatico.

Le ultime elezioni parlamentari sono in particolare l'emblema di un'importante occasione persa. Non basta semplicemente sfoggiare la forma, serve la sostanza. Come evidenziato dall'OCSE, questo voto è stato marcato da evidenti e persistenti problematiche: arresti mirati e politicamente motivati, un regime di censura pervasivo, esclusione di liste e candidati, molestie e minacce.

Se la giustizia è amministrata attraverso tribunali speciali, decisioni segrete e incarcerazioni preventive indefinite, usate solo per piegare la volontà e la libertà di opinione, per annientare la voce di attivisti, blogger e giornalisti, sindacalisti, religiosi e movimenti di opposizione, allora abbiamo un problema.

Con l'aggiornamento della strategia del 2019 abbiamo riconosciuto la strategicità delle nostre relazioni con gli attori regionali, ma non c'è relazione strategica, caro Commissario, che possa realizzarsi se non vi è rispetto dello Stato di diritto. Abbiamo due grandi strumenti nelle nostre mani: le nostre politiche commerciali e il regime globale di sanzioni. Se esitiamo a usarle quando necessario, se non diamo voce a chi non ne ha, anche la nostra voce perderà di significato.

 
  
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  Isabel Wiseler-Lima (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, la situation difficile des droits de l’homme au Kazakhstan n’est pas nouvelle. Si toutefois elle constitue aujourd’hui l’une de nos urgences, c’est que ces dernières semaines la situation générale s’est encore détériorée, avec une répression accrue des organisations de la société civile et des restrictions sévères imposées à la liberté d’expression.

Les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme travaillant au Kazakhstan ont été soumises à des pressions et à des sanctions croissantes de la part des autorités, et de nombreux journalistes sont poursuivis.

Or, dans l’Union européenne, nous avons d’autant plus la responsabilité de ne pas nous taire face à de telles dérives que nous avons signé avec le Kazakhstan un accord de partenariat et de coopération renforcé – accord entré en vigueur en mars dernier. Cet accord implique que les relations économiques et politiques plus étroites entre le Kazakhstan et l’Union européenne reposent sur des valeurs communes, et le Kazakhstan s’est engagé dès lors à des réformes démocratiques concrètes.

Nous estimons dans cette assemblée qu’il est temps que le Kazakhstan tienne ses engagements par rapport à l’Union européenne.

 
  
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  Robert Hajšel (S&D). – Madam President, 30 years following gaining independence, Kazakhstan’s society has been changing a lot. The last positive signal announced was its intention to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. However, the ongoing crackdown on local human rights groups and the persecution of the human rights activists has provoked serious concerns as to whether Kazakhstan’s leadership is genuinely interested in improving its human rights record.

According to human rights groups, coordinated actions and unlawful acts are limiting fundamental rights and freedoms. We also have to be very cautious that the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is not used as a pretext for further escalation of the situation. Such doubts are damaging Kazakhstan’s international reputation and the EU needs to indicate this to Kazakhstan’s authorities clearly, as we have a joint partnership agreement with this Central Asian country. The EU should act consistently to weather any ongoing and long-standing threats towards citizens’ fundamental rights, both within and beyond our external borders, and Kazakhstan cannot be an exception.

 
  
  

ELNÖKÖL: KLÁRA DOBREV
alelnök

 
  
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  Tatjana Ždanoka (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, as a member and former Vice—Chair of the Delegation on Central Asia, I am for mutual respect for equal dialogue with Kazakhstan. I sharply condemn the violation of rights and freedoms elsewhere in the world, including Kazakhstan. This country has a lot to do to put an end to human rights abuses, but we have to fight for freedoms together.

The EU, as it is now, is not suitable for the role of a judge for third countries in human rights matters. In my country, Latvia, non—citizens, who make up 10% of the population, will have no right to take part in the forthcoming local elections. Recently, seven journalists – Alla Berezovskaya and others – were charged with a criminal offence just for the fact of working for certain media. In neighbouring Lithuania, former MP Algirdas Paleckis is persecuted just for his opinion dissenting from the official one. In Spain, former MEPs Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva are imprisoned.

So I put the following question to my colleagues: do we have the moral right to teach Kazakhstan on democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, while we ourselves behave badly in the very same area?

 
  
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  Elżbieta Kruk (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! O złej sytuacji praw człowieka w Kazachstanie jesteśmy informowani od lat. O ograniczaniu podstawowych wolności, takich jak wolność słowa, wyrażania poglądów czy wyznania. Od lat też OBWE stwierdzało poważne nieprawidłowości w procesie wyborczym. Wybory parlamentarne charakteryzowały się brakami w zakresie poszanowania wolności zrzeszania się, pokojowych zgromadzeń czy wypowiedzi.

W styczniu tego roku w trakcie wyborów do parlamentu doszło do masowych zatrzymań pokojowych demonstrantów, a nawet przypadkowych przechodniów. Uczestnicy protestów domagali się bojkotu wyborów z powodu niedopuszczenia do nich opozycji. W wyniku wyborów do parlamentu weszły jedynie partie prorządowe.

Należy również wspomnieć o nękaniu organizacji zajmujących się prawami człowieka poprzez nakładanie kar administracyjnych lub zawieszanie ich działalności przez urzędy skarbowe. I choć rząd skrytykował działania urzędów i ogłosił nowy etap reform, w szczególności w zakresie egzekwowania prawa, systemu sądownictwa i priorytetowego traktowania praw człowieka, należy zachować ostrożność i kontrolować ten proces, w tym zmiany w prawie wyborczym i wdrażanie zaleceń OBWE.

 
  
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  Dorien Rookmaker (NI). – Voorzitter, commissaris, de schending van de mensenrechten is immoreel en leidt tot de versterking van immigratiestromen, economische schade en politieke instabiliteit. Het ondersteunen van democratische ontwikkeling en de mensenrechten is vanuit elk standpunt rationeel en moreel de juiste keuze, of je nu een linkse of rechtse politieke overtuiging hebt.

Toch heb ik in het geval van Kazachstan mijn bedenkingen over het nut en de noodzaak van onze financiële ondersteuning. Het gaat daarbij namelijk om geld van de Europese burgers. We moeten er dus nauwlettend op toezien dat dit goed wordt besteed. Duidelijke resultaten zijn niet zichtbaar en ook niet te verwachten.

Met het oog op de recente geopolitieke dreiging vanuit Rusland is het misschien niet verstandig om de relatie op een laag pitje te zetten. Ik wil de Commissie daarom vragen te overwegen van koers te veranderen en in te zetten op de versterking van de positie van vrouwen in Kazachstan, aangezien alleen op dat gebied enig heil te verwachten is.

 
  
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  Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, actually I wanted to respond to Mr Krah, who just left, which is great. But last year we were in Kazakhstan. Exactly one year ago the delegation for Central Asia went to Kazakhstan and we all looked at everything there and we met with officials there and we actually asked how the reforms were going. They were shown to us, and it’s great to see that there were reforms undergoing, and we support this. We want to see more of that, and we are thankful that the government is going in this direction.

But at the same time, we also really had to demand a meeting with human rights defenders and with civil society, and the only place where we could actually meet them was on neutral ground, which was the EU embassy there, and that was devastating for me. We talked to them, and on the day we left, one person died in prison and others that we just talked to were imprisoned the very day we sat on the flight back. And that is the instance where we criticise in the European Union the question of human rights. And, dear government of Kazakhstan, if you want us to not publish resolutions like these, it’s very easy: follow human rights.

One last thing I want to mention to Mr Mariani, Mr Krah, and especially Mr Martusciello, who is the Chair of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan. You are there to represent EU values, not your own personal profits.

 
  
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  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, in March 2020 the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement entered into force, providing us with a framework for advancing cooperation on human rights, the rule of law and with civil society.

Last November, the EU and Kazakhstan had a human rights dialogue within the Subcommittee on Justice and Home Affairs. Although the pandemic is challenging for governments, the EU recalled that any restrictive measures must be legitimate and proportionate, limited in time, non-discriminatory, transparent and should not hamper the effective exercise and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, or compromise them in the long term.

The importance of an independent judiciary, media freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly, zero tolerance to torture and independent monitoring of detention facilities, were also discussed. The EU welcomed the decriminalisation of defamation, the abolition of the death penalty and continued efforts to tackle torture, and improved detention conditions in prisons.

We remain concerned about reports that activists, bloggers and journalists are increasingly charged with knowingly disseminating so-called ‘false information’, which can lead to sentences of imprisonment of up to seven years. We are also concerned that the offences of insult and insulting a government representative remain subject to criminal penalty.

Last week, the EU welcomed the decision of the Kazakh authorities to drop all charges against some prominent human rights NGOs that had received fines and a suspension of their activity based on unclear legal grounds. The EU encourages the Kazakh Government to create an enabling environment for civil society to flourish, which is in the best interest of the country on its path to reform.

Following the parliamentary elections in January, the EU expressed regrets in relation to the limitations on fundamental freedoms, including the detention of peaceful demonstrators, and concerted measures which prevented some domestic election observers from effective observation. It is important that Kazakhstan continues to take steps to foster an enabling environment for civil society, human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unionists and journalists.

Lastly, the High Representative welcomes Kazakhstan’s follow-up to individual cases raised by the EU. In the framework of our Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the EU will continue to support Kazakhstan in its reform and modernisation efforts.

 
  
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  Elnök asszony. – A vitát lezárom.

A szavazásra ma kerül sor.

 
Last updated: 7 April 2021Legal notice - Privacy policy