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Parliamentary questions
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21 February 2018
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini
Question reference: E-007095/2017

The European Union (EU) follows closely the situation of human rights in Kazakhstan, including individual cases. Ahead of the EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogue in Astana on 29 November 2017, the EU held several consultations with local and international non-governmental organisations as well as family members of activists. The EU Delegation in Astana also visited Max Bokayev in prison on 23 November 2017.

During the EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogue, the EU raised the cases of activists, journalists and political prisoners and urged Kazakhstan to respect the decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee regarding some of the cases. The EU side raised its serious concerns about the increasing number of condemnations to house arrest, asset freezes, and prohibitions to work in certain areas. The High Representative/Vice-President has also raised the situation of imprisoned trade union leaders in recent high-level meetings with the Kazakh authorities. On 6 December 2017, the EU welcomed the early release of Seitkazy Matayev.

The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) strengthens political and human rights dialogues and cooperation in justice and home affairs between the EU and Kazakhstan, while promoting a more active role for civil society. The EU finances a substantial programme that supports judicial reforms and the rule of law in Kazakhstan as well as access to justice for vulnerable groups.

The EU also supports civil society projects promoting human rights and democratic reforms in Kazakhstan, in particular in relation to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association as well as efforts to further engage civil society in the public policy-making process.

The EPCA has been a useful legal framework for the EU support to further institutional reforms in the field of pluralism and democracy in Kazakhstan.

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