United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - State Party Reports
17 August 2009
Substantive session of 2010
[13 November 2007]
Introduction 1 - 3 3
PART ONE. GENERAL INFORMATION 4 - 112 4
I. GENERAL POLITICAL STRUCTURE 4 - 77 4
II. HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION AND INSTITUTIONS 78 - 88 12
III. HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION AND THE
PUBLICIZING OF HUMAN RIGHTS 89 - 112 13
PART TWO. INFORMATION CONCERNING BASIC PROVISIONS 113 - 558 16
Article 1: Right to self-determination 113 - 116 16
Article 2: Obligations of States parties 117 - 129 17
Article 3: Equal rights of men and women 130 - 137 21
Articles 4 and 5: Restrictions on the rights recognized by
the Covenant 138 - 142 23
Article 6: Right to work 143 - 184 24
Article 7: Right to just and favourable conditions of work 185 - 211 28
Article 8: Right to form trade unions and right to strike 212 - 236 33
Article 9: Right to social security and insurance 237 - 263 36
Article 10: Protection of the family, children and young persons 264 - 286 39
Article 11: Right to housing and an adequate standard of living 287 - 369 43
Article 12: Right to health 370 - 424 52
Articles 13 and 14: Right to education 425 - 506 59
Article 15: Right to take part in cultural life and to benefit from
scientific progress and the protection of copyright 507 - 554 69
1. This report was prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the assistance of the other ministries and departments concerned, the National Centre for Human Rights, the Commission on Human Rights, and the National Commission on Family Affairs and Gender Policy attached to the Office of the President of the Republic. It reflects as far as possible all the measures taken to deliver the rights set out in the Covenant. An analysis was made of the country’s basic legislation and regulations relating to economic, social and cultural rights.
2. The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 16 December 1966, ratified by Kazakhstan, takes precedence over national legislation pursuant to article 4, paragraph 3, of the Constitution, which states: “The international treaties ratified by the Republic take precedence over its laws and shall be applied directly, except when an international treaty entails that the treaty’s application requires the enactment of a law.”
3. The following State and advisory/consultative bodies are competent to implement the Covenant:
(a) The Commission on Human Rights attached to the Office of the President;
(b) The Committee on Intellectual Property Rights of the Ministry of Justice;
(c) The Ministry of Health;
(d) The Ministry of Industry and Trade;
(e) The Ministry of Culture and Information;
(f) The Ministry of Education and Science;
(g) The Ministry of Environmental Protection;
(h) The Ministry of Agriculture;
(i) The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection;
(j) The Ministry of Tourism and Sport;
(k) The Ministry of the Economy and Budget Planning;
(l) The National Commission on Family Affairs and Gender Policy attached to the Office of the President;
(m) The National Centre for Human Rights (Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman).
4. Kazakhstan has an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres.
5. According to official figures, on 1 April 2007 the population totalled 15,437,607: 8,148,566 persons (52.8%) living in urban areas and 7,289,041 (47.2%) in rural areas. The population had increased by 40,700 since 1 January 2007.
6. Over that period all regions of the country except Kostanai, East Kazakhstan and North Kazakhstan saw their population increase. The highest population growth figure for JanuaryMarch 2007 was 34,772.
7. In the period January-March 2007 the civil registry authorities recorded 77,803 births. Births in urban and rural areas showed increases over the same period of the preceding year of 11.5 and 10.1 per cent (42,034 and 35,769 births) respectively.
8. Deaths in the first quarter of 2007 totalled 43,031: 25.069 in urban and 17,962 in rural areas. Deaths of persons of working age accounted for 40.2 per cent of the total; the number of men exceeded the number of women by a factor of 2.9.
9. There were 8,030,600 persons aged 15 years or older in the economically active population, 7,418,100 of them in employment and 612,500 unemployed - an unemployment rate of 7.6 per cent. In the employed population 4.9 million persons were wage-earners (54% of all employed persons) and 2.6 million (34.6%) were own-account workers.
10. In the first quarter of 2007 there were 624,000 unemployed persons, a decrease of 28,600 over the same period of the preceding year. Females continue to make up a numerical majority of the unemployed population (368,300 or 59%). This figure is 112,600 (44%) higher than the figure for males. Where age structure is concerned, most unemployed persons were found in the 25-39 (42.6%) and 40-54 (27.6%) age groups, representing a total of 172,400 persons, while young people in the 15-24 age group accounted for 24.3 per cent (151,600). Youth unemployment totalled 11 per cent.
11. The average monthly nominal per capita wage has increased steadily over the past 10 years and stood at 47,306 tenge in the first quarter of 2007. Real earnings amounted to 120 per cent of the figure for the same period of the preceding year.
12. Gross domestic product (GDP) totalled 2,531.8 billion tenge in March 2007. In April 2007 the consumer price index stood at 107.7 per cent of the figure for April 2006, and the industrial output index stood at 107.6 per cent.
13. According to the figures of the State Statistics Agency, in March 2007 the estimated per capita nominal monetary income amounted to 22,585 tenge.
14. The Constitution currently in force is the second to be adopted during the 15-year existence of independent Kazakhstan. The first Constitution was in force from 28 January 1993 to 30 August 1995. Up to 1993 the country was governed by the Constitution of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.
15. The present Constitution was adopted by the referendum of 30 August 1995. Amendments were made to it on 7 October 1998: in particular, the extension of the terms of office of members of Parliament and the President. These amendments also abolished the upper age limit for election to the post of President and the appointment of civil servants.
16. Further changes and additions were introduced in the Constitution pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Amendments and Additions) Act of 21 May 2007, including:
(a) Authorization for the State financing of civil society organizations, including political parties (this was previously subject to a constitutional prohibition);
(b) Reduction of the number of crimes for which an exclusive measure of punishment - the death penalty - is provided;
(c) Transfer to the courts of the power to order pre-trial detention (previously a function of the procuratorial authorities);
(d) Reduction of the term of office of the President from seven to five years;
(e) Removal of the provision that during his term of office the President must suspend his or her membership of his political party;
(f) Increase of the number of seats in the lower (Majilis) and upper (Senate) chambers of Parliament;
(g) Increase of the number of members of the Senate appointed by the President;
(h) Introduction of a compulsory rule that members of the Majilis lose their seats if resigning or dismissed from the political party from whose list they were elected or if this party is wound up;
(i) Increase of the term of office of members of representative bodies (maslikhats).
17. The Constitution guarantees the fundamental human rights and freedoms (Section II). It may be amended and supplemented by Parliament on the proposal of the President. Amendments and additions may also be adopted by national referendum held by decision of the President acting on his own initiative or on the proposal of Parliament or the Government. A draft amendment or addition is not submitted to a national referendum if the President decides to refer
it to Parliament for consideration. In such cases the parliamentary decision is taken in accordance with the procedure set out in the Constitution. If the President rejects a parliamentary proposal to submit an amendment or addition to a national referendum, Parliament is entitled, by a majority of at least four fifths of the total membership of each chamber, to pass an act incorporating the amendment or addition in the Constitution. In such an event the President must either sign the act or submit it to a national referendum, which is deemed to have been held if votes are cast by more than one half of the citizens of the Republic entitled to take part in national referendums. An amendment or addition submitted to a national referendum is deemed adopted if it is supported by more than one half of the citizens participating in the vote in at least two thirds of the administrative oblasts, the cities of national significance and the capital.
18. Kazakhstan has a presidential form of government.
19. The President of the Republic is elected for a term of five years in accordance with the Elections Act of 28 September 1995 by the citizens of the Republic of the age of majority on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage in a secret ballot.
20. The same person may not be elected President more than twice in succession. However, this provision does not apply to the first President of the Republic.
21. The President determines the main directions of the domestic and foreign policy of the State; he sets the dates of parliamentary elections; he takes decisions on the conduct of national referendums; and he signs legislative acts, international treaties and instruments of ratification.
22. The President is empowered to propose legislation.
23. Following consultations with factions of the political parties represented in the Majilis the President may submit to the Majilis for approval his candidate for the post of Prime Minister of the Republic; having obtained such approval he appoints the Prime Minister, whom he may also remove from his post; on the Prime Minister’s proposal he determines the structure of the Government and constitutes, dissolves and reorganizes the central executive organs of the Republic which do not form part of the Government and appoints the members of the Government; he appoints the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, internal affairs, and justice and he may remove members of the Government from office; he swears in the members of the Government; he presides over meetings of the Government on especially important issues; he may instruct the Government to table draft legislation in the Majilis; he may revoke or suspend fully or partially acts of the Government or the Prime Minister or the akims (governors) of the oblasts, the cities of national significance and the capital.
24. With the consent of the Senate the President appoints the chairman of the National Bank, the Prosecutor-General and the chairman of the National Security Committee; he also removes them from their posts.
25. The President appoints for a term of five years the chairman and two of the members of the Central Electoral Commission and the chairman and two of the members of the National Budget Performance Monitoring Committee.
26. After consulting the presidents of the two chambers of Parliament and the Prime Minister the President may dissolve Parliament or its lower chamber.
27. The President is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Republic and presides over meetings of the Government on especially important issues.
28. The President appoints the Security Council and other consultative/advisory bodies, the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan and the Higher Council of the Judiciary.
29. The President takes decisions on questions of citizenship and the granting of political asylum, pardons citizens and confers State decorations, honours and higher military and other ranks, service grades, diplomatic ranks, and higher qualifications, as well as performing the other duties specified in the Constitution.
30. The President has the right to veto acts adopted by Parliament and to revoke or suspend any regulatory measures taken by the Government or the executive authorities; he may issue decrees and orders of binding force in the national territory, and in the cases specified in the 1995 Constitution he may issue laws and decrees having the force of laws.
31. The President’s other powers are set out in the Presidency Act of 26 December 1995.
32. The President may be removed from office by Parliament only if he commits treason. A final decision to remove the President requires the support of a majority of at least three quarters of the total membership of each of the two chambers, following a decision by the Supreme Court that the charge of treason is justified and a decision by the Constitutional Council that the established constitutional procedures have been observed.
33. The President may be relieved of his post before the end of his term of office in the event of a persistent incapacity to perform his duties owing to ill heath.
34. The Parliament consists of two chambers: the Senate and the Majilis.
35. The Senate is elected on the basis of two members from each oblast, city of national significance and the capital. Senators are elected by the members of the representative local authorities - the maslikhats. Fifteen senators are appointed by the President of the Republic on the basis of the country’s nationality composition and cultures and other important interests of society.
36. The Majilis has 107 members. Ninety-eight of these members are elected by universal, equal and direct suffrage in a secret ballot. The other nine members are elected by the People’s Assembly. Seats in the Majilis are distributed on the basis of party lists to the political parties obtaining at least seven per cent of the votes cast in the election. Senators are elected for a term of seven years, members of the Majilis for five years.
37. The mandate of a member of Parliament is terminated in the event of retirement or death, the declaration in a final court decision that the member lacks legal capacity, is dead, or missing with whereabouts unknown, and in the other cases specified in the Constitution and other legislation.
38. The mandate of a member of Parliament is terminated if he or she takes up permanent residence outside Kazakhstan, is convicted of a criminal offence or loses Kazakh nationality.
39. This mandate is also terminated if the member leaves or is expelled from the political party from whose list he or she was elected in accordance with the Constitutional Act, or if that political party is wound up in accordance with the Constitutional Act.
40. The mandates of appointed senators may be terminated before the end of their term of office by decision of the President of the Republic.
41. The mandates of members of either chamber of Parliament are terminated in the event of the dissolution of the chamber in question.
42. Parliament enacts amends and supplements legislation and ratifies and denounces Kazakhstan’s international treaties.
43. At joint sessions of its two chambers Parliament may:
(a) Adopt amendments and additions to the Constitution, on the proposal of the President;
(b) Approve the reports of the Government and the National Budget Performance Monitoring Committee. Failure by Parliament to approve the Government’s budget performance reports constitutes a vote of no confidence in the Government;
(c) On the President’s proposal Parliament may delegate to him, by a two-thirds majority of the total membership of the two chambers, legislative powers for a maximum period of one year;
(d) Parliament takes decisions on matters of war and peace;
(e) On the President’s proposal it takes decisions on the use of the armed forces in order to fulfil international obligations with respect to the maintenance of peace and security;
(f) Parliament exercises the other powers assigned to it by the Constitution.
44. Authority to make legislative proposals is held by the President of the Republic, the members of Parliament, and the Government; such proposals are acted on exclusively by the Majilis.
45. If an act or an article of an act prompts an objection by the President, Parliament conducts a detailed examination of the issues in two readings, one in the Majilis, the other in the Senate, followed by a vote, within one month of the notification of the objection. Failure to comply with
this time limit constitutes acceptance of the President’s objection. If the Majilis and the Senate, by a two-thirds majority of the total members of each chamber, confirm a decision taken earlier, the President must sign the act in question into law within one month. If either of the two chambers fails to vote down the President’s objections, the act may be deemed either rejected or adopted in the wording proposed by the President. The President’s objections to constitutional acts may be rejected by a vote of at least three quarters of the total membership of each chamber.
46. The Senate elects and dismisses (on the proposal of the President of the Republic) the President of the Supreme Court and its judges, approves the President’s nominees for the chairmanship of the National Bank, the post of Procurator-General and the chairmanship of the National Security Committee.
47. The Senate performs the functions of Parliament with regard to the adoption of constitutional and other acts when the Majilis is not in session owing to its suspension before the end of its term.
48. The acceptance for consideration of draft constitutional and other acts submitted to Parliament and their consideration lie within the exclusive province of the Majilis, which also approves by a majority vote of its total membership the President’s candidate for the post of Prime Minister.
49. On the proposal of at least one fifth of its total membership the Majilis is empowered to adopt, by a simple majority of its total membership, a vote of no confidence in the Government.
50. The President may dissolve Parliament or the Majilis following consultation of the chairmen of the two chambers and the Prime Minister.
51. The organization and activities of Parliament are set out in the Parliament (Members’ Status) Constitutional Act of 16 December 1995.
52. The Government is formed by the President of the Republic; it is responsible to the President and subordinate to Parliament.
53. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President with the approval of the Majilis.
54. Parliament considers the Government’s Programme and approves or rejects it.
55. Following its consideration of the Government’s reports each chamber of Parliament entitled, by a majority vote of its total membership and without involvement of the other chamber, to adopt a request to the President of the Republic for the removal from office of a member of the Government for failing to comply with the law. If the President rejects such a request, the members of the chamber in question have the right by a majority vote, six months after the date of the original submission, once again to put to him a request for removal of the member of the Government. The President must then dismiss that member.
56. The President is entitled on his own initiative to decide to dissolve the Government or to remove any of its members from office. The removal of the Prime minister signifies the dissolution of the Government.
57. The powers of the Government and the procedure for its organization and functions are set out in the Government Constitutional Act of 18 December 1995.
58. The Constitutional Council is formed in accordance with the 1995 Constitution. It reviews the legislation enacted by Parliament before signature by the President to ensure that it is compatible with the Constitution; it examines the country’s international treaties before ratification for the same purpose; it issues official interpretations of the provisions of the Constitution; in the event of a dispute it rules on the correctness of the conduct of the election of the President and the members of Parliament and the conduct of national referendums, and it reviews the orders adopted by Parliament and its chambers to ensure their compatibility with the Constitution; it exercises the other powers specified in the Constitution.
59. The Constitutional Council performs these functions only at the request of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President of the Senate, the President of the Majilis or a majority of at least one fifth of the total membership of Parliament.
60. Acts and other legislation deemed to infringe the human rights and freedoms or the civil rights enshrined in the Constitution are revoked by the Constitutional Council and become inapplicable.
61. The Constitutional Council comprises seven members appointed for a term of six years. The Senate and the Majilis each appoint two of these members; the other two members and the Council’s president are designated by the President of the Republic.
62. The courts consist of permanent judges, whose independence is protected by the Constitution and the law. The system consists of the Supreme Court and local courts.
63. All judges except for the members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President. The Supreme Court is Kazakhstan’s highest judicial organ.
64. The President and judges of the Supreme Court are elected by the Senate on the proposal of the President of the Republic.
65. The courts are not entitled to apply laws and other legislation which restrict the human rights and freedoms or the rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution.
66. The status of the courts and the Higher Council of the Judiciary and the procedures for their formation and the organization of their work are set out in the Courts and Status of Judges Constitutional Act of 20 December 2000.
67. Jury trials were introduced in Kazakhstan on 1 January 2007.
68. The Office of the Procurator-General is responsible for the overall supervision of the accurate and uniform application of laws, presidential decrees and other legislation; it represents the interests of the State in the courts and it conducts criminal investigations in accordance with the limits prescribed by law.
69. The Office constitutes a single centralised system staffed by junior procurators subordinate to senior procurators and to the Procurator-General, who is appointed by the President of the Republic for a term of five years. The Office is answerable solely to the President.
70. The powers, organization and activities of the Office are set out in the Office of the Procurator-General Act of 21 December 1995.
71. State government at the local level is in the hands of local representative and executive bodies, which are responsible for the situation in their respective areas.
72. The local representative bodies (maslikhats) are elected by the people by universal, equal and direct suffrage for a term of five years.
73. The maslikhats are responsible for the following matters: approval of plans, economic and social programmes for the development of the local area, and local budgets and budget performance reports; decisions on questions of local administration and development; examination of the reports of the chief local executive bodies on matters falling within the jurisdiction of the mashlikat; and the exercise of other powers to protect the rights and legitimate interests of citizens.
74. The local executive bodies are part of a unitary national system of executive bodies; they are responsible for carrying out the State-wide policies of the central Executive in their respective areas.
75. Local executive bodies are responsible for the following matters: the formulation of economic and social development plans and local budgets; the management of community property; and the exercise of the other powers set out in the Constitution and legislation.
76. The akims (governors) of the oblasts, the cities of national significance and the capital are appointed by the President of the Republic with the approval of the maslikhats of the oblasts, the cities of national significance and the capital.
77. The conduct of a vote of no confidence in an akim may be called for on the initiative of at least one fifth of the total membership of a maslikhat. In such cases the maslikhat is entitled, by a simple majority of its total membership, to express its lack of confidence in the akim and to submit a request for his removal from office to the President of the Republic or to a more senior akim, as appropriate. The mandates of akims of the oblasts, the cities of national significance and the capital are terminated when a newly elected President takes up his post.
78. In the period since independence Kazakhstan has done an enormous amount to improve its legislation and bring it into line with the provisions of the international human rights instruments which the country has ratified. It has set up such human rights bodies as the Commission on Human Rights attached to the Office of the President, the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, and the National Commission on Family Affairs and Gender Policy, also attached to the Office of the President.
79. The Commission on Human Rights is one of the types of national human rights body found most commonly throughout the world. It was established by presidential decree in 1997. Pursuant to the Order on the Commission on Human Rights attached to the Office of the President, which was confirmed by a presidential decree dated 19 March 2003, the Commission’s principal task is to assist the Head of State in the exercise of his constitutional mandate to safeguard human rights and freedoms. The Commission prepares proposals to improve the State’s human rights policies and boost the effectiveness of the human rights machinery. The principal benefit of the submission of petitions to the Commission is that this procedure enables the Commission to examine the human rights situation and identify deficiencies in the legislation and in its practical application by State agencies.
80. As a consultative/advisory policy institution, the Commission collaborates with State agencies, the courts, the Office of the Procurator-General and the police, as well as with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which have become its natural partners in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the people of Kazakhstan.
81. The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman has come to occupy an important place in the system of bodies monitoring and supervising the activities of the Executive in the field of human rights.
82. The emergence of the figure of Ombudsman in Kazakhstan was a result of the development and democratization of Kazakh society and the growth of the idea of human rights in the country. The establishment of this new State institution was preceded by efforts in many areas to make its functions better known and to analyze and project its impact in improving the governance of the State.
83. The National Commission on Family Affairs and Gender Policy was established in 2006 under the Office of the President.
84. Pursuant to article 2, paragraph 1, of the Civil Code, civil legislation is based on recognition of the equality of the subjects of such legislation, the inviolability of property, the freedom to conclude contracts, the inadmissibility of any kind of arbitrary interference in private affairs, the need for direct exercise of civil rights, and guarantees of the restoration of violated rights and of their judicial protection.
85. According to article 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the purposes of civil legal proceedings are to defend violated or disputed rights and freedoms and the legally protected interests of citizens, the State and organizations, to reinforce legality and the implementation of public policy, and to prevent crime.
86. The following are the purposes of the Criminal Code, which was adopted on 16 July 1997: to protect human rights and freedoms and legitimate civil rights, property, the rights and legitimate interests of organizations, public order and security, the environment, the constitutional order and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the legally protected interests of society and the State against criminal attacks, to maintain the peace and security of mankind and to prevent crime.
87. Pursuant to article 8, paragraph 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the arrangements for the conduct of criminal proceedings established by law must ensure protection against unwarranted indictment or conviction and the unlawful restriction of human rights and freedoms and the rights of citizens, the full and immediate rehabilitation of an innocent person who has been unlawfully indicted or convicted, the reinforcement of legality and the implementation of public policy, the prevention of crime, and the promotion of respect for the law.
88. The purposes of Kazakhstan’s penal correction legislation are to restore social justice, reform criminals, and prevent re-offending by criminals and the commission of crimes by other persons. Accordingly, this legislation seeks to regulate the procedures and the conditions under which sentences are served and to specify the means of reforming criminals, protecting their rights, freedoms and legitimate interests, and rendering them assistance in re-adapting to life in society.
89. The National Plan of Action for Human Rights Education in Kazakhstan 2006-2007 was approved by a presidential decision of 30 June 2006.
90. Kazakhstan endorses the goals of the World Programme for Human Rights Education recommended by the United Nations General Assembly and notes that human rights education makes an enormous contribution to the human rights cause.
91. Resolution 2004/71 of the Commission on Human Rights, adopted with respect to the first stage (2005-2007) of the World Programme, devotes special attention to systems of primary and secondary education. Kazakhstan accordingly made commitments to conduct research into human rights education in its secondary schools and to formulate the National Plan.
92. It must be pointed out that the World Programme was not the first to be undertaken over the lengthy process of human rights education. Specific international action frameworks, such as the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), were adopted as a means of promoting initiatives in this field; they have facilitated the formulation and implementation of comprehensive, effective and durable strategies to advance human rights education at the national level.
93. In the course of the formulation of the National Plan the Ministry of Education and Science conducted a national study of human rights education in general secondary schools with the aid of experts and sociological organizations.
94. At the same time, indicators were established to monitor knowledge of human rights. They include: schoolchildren’s awareness of the fundamental human rights; the number of hours allocated to the teaching of human rights; the provision of human rights textbooks and other learning aids, etc.
95. All this work provided a general picture of human rights education in secondary schools.
96. The number of hours devoted to the teaching of human rights in the various grades ranges between four and five a month, in addition to which there are optional classes and out-of-school activities.
97. The results of a questionnaire showed that most pupils (96%) are very interested in studying their rights in greater detail in school. The proportion of children knowing where to turn if their rights are infringed increases from the junior to the senior grades (from 43% to 58%).
98. Parents and the family play a big part in providing children with knowledge and practical assistance with regard to human rights issues: more half of the pupils receive information about human rights from their parents, and they also turn to their parents when their rights are infringed.
99. The widespread discussion of the findings of this study and the resulting recommendations and proposals are helping to improve human rights education and increase the emphasis on the importance of human rights education in the teaching of civics and other law-related subjects. A series of events was held in conjunction with the Human Rights Ombudsman and NGOs and with the support of the Kazakhstan Centre of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in order to promote widespread discussion of the national study project.
100. Attention must be drawn to the positive trends in human rights education in Kazakhstan. Human rights are becoming rooted in and realized throughout the education system at all its levels.
101. The National Plan includes goals, priorities and measures to promote its implementation which were determined in the light of the findings of the national study. It sets out the eight priorities related to the components of human rights education in secondary schools proposed in the World Programme for Human Rights Education.
102. The goals of the National Plan were set for the short term (2006-2007) in view of the need to complete the first stage (2005-2007) of the World Programme. The intention is to make an assessment of the achievements so far and formulate a plan for carrying out the next stage of the World Programme in the light of the results of the implementation of the National Plan.
103. The following are the basic goals of the National Plan: to improve instruction in a culture of human rights; to implant a general understanding of the core principles and methods of human rights education; to ensure that special attention is paid to human rights education at the national and international levels; to increase collaboration and cooperation among all the interested parties in order to develop and improve human rights education; and to improve the existing human rights curricula taught in schools.
104. The effects of the implementation of the measures of the National Plan will be seen in the development of a culture of human rights in schoolchildren able to make active and informed use of their rights and in an improvement in their knowledge of the law and a decline in juvenile crime, as well as manifesting themselves in other positive ways. But it must be remembered that the improvement of the education system where human rights are concerned and the work of instilling in pupils a spirit of respect for human rights are an endeavour beset with great difficulties which will be overcome only by prolonged and purposeful effort.
105. Attainment of the goals which have been set will require close cooperation among all the parties concerned in this process: State agencies, international organizations, the nongovernmental sector, and teachers and pupils themselves.
106. Accordingly, the National Plan constitutes a series of concrete and scheduled priority measures improve human rights education in the country’s secondary schools.
107. A number of measures to foster the development of a human rights culture among schoolchildren are being carried out under the National Plan:
(a) Since the 2006-2007 academic year schools have included rights-related subjects in the lists of subjects of national Olympiads and competitions in scientific projects;
(b) From 30 November to 20 December 2006 secondary general and primary and secondary vocational schools participated in a national project entitled “Legal knowledge for schoolchildren”, as well as organizing other special events to mark Human Rights Day and commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
(c) The website of the Ministry of Education and Science has a “Human rights education” page;
(d) Special features on problems of human rights education have been produced and published in magazines and newspapers: “Kazakhstan adult education”, “Kazakhstan tarikhy”, “History of Kazakhstan: teaching in schools and institutes of higher education”, “Kazakhstan teacher”, “Kazakhstan mugalimi”, “Kazakhstan mektebi”, “Metropolitan education”, etc.
108. As prescribed by the mandatory State education standards, pupils in general education schools take a course of civic/legal subjects: in the junior classes - “Mother tongue” and “Knowledge of the world”; in the senior classes - “History” (51 hours a year), “History of Kazakhstan” (51 hours), “Basic civics” (68 hours), and “Basic jurisprudence” (68 hours). In addition, there are special courses devised by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, taught in the “Introduction to citizenship” programme.
109. Since the 2005-2006 academic year all schools have been working on the regional project “Researching humanitarian law” (RHL), one of the basic aims of which is to disseminate knowledge about international humanitarian law. This programme is designed to curtail and prevent violations of humanitarian law and fundamental human rights by developing pupils’ world outlook and teaching them to research various aspects of a specific problem and engage in constructive discussion of it. This course develops pupils’ interest in and understanding of
contemporary social and political events: they learn to evaluate ongoing events and humanitarian actions from the standpoint of international law and familiarize themselves with the work of voluntary associations whose vocation is to support vulnerable population groups.
110. A pilot RHL project is being carried out in 30 general education schools in Almaty, South Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Kyzyl-orda oblasts.
111. The coordination and methodological aspects of the RHL project are in the hands of the education system’s National Institute for Improvement of the Qualifications of Science Teachers and its regional institutes. An RHL textbook is included in the Ministry’s Instruction of 15 February 2007 confirming the list of educational publications approved for use in schools in 2007-2008.
112. The effects of the implementation of the measures of the National Plan will be seen in the development of a culture of human rights in schoolchildren able to make active and informed use of their rights and in an improvement in their knowledge of the law and a decline in juvenile crime, as well as manifesting themselves in other positive ways. But it must be remembered that the improvement of the education system where human rights are concerned and the work of instilling in pupils a spirit of respect for human rights are an endeavour beset with great difficulties which will be overcome only by prolonged and purposeful effort.
“1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic cooperation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.”
113. According to article 2 of the Constitution, Kazakhstan is a unitary State with a presidential form of government. Its sovereignty extends over its entire territory. The State must ensure the integrity, inviolability and inalienability of its territory.
114. Article 3 of the Constitution provides that the people is the sole source of State power. The people exercises power directly by means of national referendums and free elections but also delegates the exercise of its power to agencies of the State. No one may arrogate power in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The arrogation of power is an offence punishable by law. The right to act on behalf of the people and the State belongs to the President and to Parliament within the
limits of their constitutional powers. The Government of the Republic and the other agencies of the State act on behalf of the State within the limits of the powers delegated to them. State power is unitary and is exercised pursuant to the Constitution and the laws and in accordance with the principle of the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches and their interrelationship with each other and subject to a system of checks and balances.
115. According to article 6 of the Constitution, Kazakhstan recognizes and provides equal protection for State and private property. The ownership of property entails obligations, and the use of property must serve the common good. The subjects and objects of property ownership and the scope and limits of the exercise of their rights by property owners, as well as the safeguards of the protection of such rights, are determined by law. The land and its subsoil, waters, flora and fauna and other natural resources are owned by the State. Land may also be privately owned, subject to the terms and conditions and within the limits determined by law.
116. In accordance with article 8 of the Constitution Kazakhstan respects the principles and rules of international law, pursues a policy of cooperation and good-neighbourly relations among States on the basis of recognition of each other’s equal status and non-interference in each other’s affairs, the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and renunciation of first use of armed force.
“1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.
2. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
3. Developing countries, with due regard to human rights and their national economy, may determine to what extent they would guarantee the economic rights recognized in the present Covenant to non-nationals.”
117. The following legislation relating to the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights is currently in force in Kazakhstan: the Civil Code (general and special parts); the Labour Code; the Aliens (Legal Status) Act; the Private Enterprise Act; the Banks and Banking Act; the Minerals and Mining Act; the Natural Monopolies Act; the Trade Regulation Act; the Antidumping Act; the Culture Act; the Physical Culture and Sports Act; the Pensions Act; the Disabled Persons (Social Protection) Act; the Children with Disabilities (Social, Medical and Educational Support) Act; the Disability, Death of Breadwinner and Old-Age (State Social Benefits) Act; the Families with Children (State Benefits) Act; the Compulsory Social Insurance Act; the Targeted State Assistance Act; the Great Patriotic War Participants, Disabled Participants and Assimilated Persons (Benefits and Social Protection) Act; the State Special
Benefits Act (for persons formerly employed in underground and surface mines or in especially harmful or heavy occupations); the Special State Benefits Act; the Psychiatric Treatment (Civil Rights Guarantees) Act; the Social Protection (Environmental Disaster in the Aral Sea Area) Act; the Social Protection (Nuclear Tests at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site) Act; the Special Economic Zones Act; the Members of the Armed Forces and Their Families (Status and Social Protection) Act; the Copyright and Related Rights Act; the Housing Act; and the Migration Act.
118. The post of Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) was established in Kazakhstan by a presidential decree of 19 September 2002 in order to ensure respect for human rights and freedoms and the rights of citizens; the Ombudsman is empowered, within the limits of his jurisdiction, to take measures to restore such rights in the event of their violation. The Office of the Ombudsman is a national human rights institution providing additional safeguards with respect to violated rights.
119. The Office has now been in operation for five years.
120. The Ombudsman’s fundamental tasks are to consider applications concerning violations of rights, verify the information contained therein, and restore the rights in question if they are found to have been violated. Pursuant to paragraph 17 of Presidential Decree No. 947 of 19 September 2002, the Ombudsman is required as part of his functions to consider applications from Kazakh nationals, foreign nationals and stateless persons concerning the acts of officials or organizations which infringe the rights or freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, the laws or the country’s international treaties. Accordingly, the persons whose acts the Ombudsman is entitled to investigate are persons acting in an official capacity, as required by article 2, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Ombudsman verifies information concerning infringements of human rights and freedoms and the rights of citizens on the basis of the communications received or on his own initiative if he learns about the infringements from official sources or the mass media.
121. For the purposes of verifying information contained in communications the Ombudsman is entitled under the procedure established by law:
(a) To request officials and organizations to supply information necessary for the consideration of complaints;
(b) To obtain an immediate interview with senior or other officials of State organs and other organizations;
(c) In the light of his consideration of complaints from Kazakh nationals, foreign nationals and stateless persons or following the receipt by other means of information concerning the violation of their rights or freedoms, to submit proposals to the chambers of Parliament for parliamentary hearings to be held on the matters in question;
(d) To invite organizations and experts to provide on a contractual basis expert and advisory services in the preparation of opinions on the circumstances under investigation in connection with violations of human rights or the rights of citizens;
(e) To take action to protect violated human rights and freedoms and the rights of citizens;
(f) On presentation of official identification papers, to enter and remain on the land and in the premises of State agencies and organizations, including military units and formations, and to visit places of deprivation of liberty and meet with and talk to persons detained therein;
(g) To submit applications to the heads of State organs or other officials for disciplinary, administrative or criminal proceedings to be instituted against an official who has infringed human rights or freedoms or the rights of citizens;
(h) To publish in the mass media official reports on the findings of his investigations.
122. Since the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman 8,758 written and oral complaints have been received, with a total of 49,133 persons applying to the Ombudsman. There has been a significant decline in the number of complaints of infringement of economic, social and cultural rights. In 2003 the number of communications concerning irregularities in the payment of pensions, allowances, material assistance, compensation and social benefits relating to the rights of disabled persons and members of the armed forces and concerning other questions of social security constituted 12.88 per cent of the total (the second-largest category of communications), but in the last two quarters of 2007 this figure was under seven per cent. There were also declines in the numbers of complaints concerning labour rights (from 5.22% to 2.8%) and health services (from 1.77% to 0.9%). However, there was an increase in complaints concerning housing rights (from 5% to 12.7%), chiefly as a result of urbanization and the transfer of the capital to Astana.
123. The changes in the nature of the communications received since the establishment of the Office are shown in the following diagram.
[**] In accordance with the information submitted to States parties regarding the processing of their reports, the present document was not formally edited before being sent to the United Nations translation services.