Kazakh Senate Adopts Law to Toughen Punishment for Torture and Enhance Human Rights Protection

ASTANA – The Kazakh Senate, an upper chamber of the Parliament, adopted on March 9 amendments to the law on human rights, outlining harsher punishments for torture and ill-treatment and securing stronger protection for human rights and freedom, reported the Senate press service.

Photo credit: Senate’s press service.

Among the 45 introduced amendments, the law features norms concerning strengthening liability for torture, criminal liability for cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and domestic violence. The Senate members also revised the conditions for serving sentences in emergency and maximum security institutions.

“The President outlined the measures that must be taken to ensure human rights in Kazakhstan. This law is designed to strengthen the protection of human rights in the areas of criminal justice, the execution of punishments, and the prevention of torture and ill-treatment. In particular, the document strengthens the protection of the rights of people convicted for the first time, prisoners who are seriously ill, and mothers with small children. I am confident that the law will have a positive impact on the improvement of mechanisms for the protection of human rights and freedoms,” said Senate Chairperson Maulen Ashimbayev.

The law was developed to implement the follow-up plan for human rights and the rule of law, adopted by the Kazakh government last year, and align with the obligations of the United Nations Torture Convention and Nelson Mandela Rules.

Kazakhstan and the European Union held the Human Rights Dialogue and Subcommittee on Justice and Home Affairs in Brussels on March 9-10 to address issues such as preventing torture, combating illegal migration, terrorism, drug crime, the shadow economy,  corruption, as well as judicial and legal reform, according to the General Prosecutor’s Office. Kazakhstan’s initiative to join European Conventions in the criminal field was also on the agenda.

The sides also discussed the development of civil society, protection of the rights of women and children, freedom of speech and religion.

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