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Kazakhstan needs to strengthen effective torture prevention measures, UN torture prevention body finds

GENEVA (6 April 2023) Kazakhstan must take further action to protect detainees from torture and ill-treatment and ensure its national preventive mechanism plays an effective and crucial role in this regard, experts from the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) said after their second visit to the country.

During its latest mission from 26 March to 1 April, the SPT delegation visited prisons, investigation and temporary isolators, as well as police and remand facilities.

“Torture prevention is an ongoing process that requires determination and collaboration from all parties. Our second visit demonstrated SPT's commitment to assisting Kazakhstan in its continued initiatives to enhance its torture prevention measures,” said Jakub Czepek, head of the delegation. “We called on Kazakhstan to prioritise rehabilitation and reintegration of people deprived of their liberty as part of efforts to safeguard them from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

The SPT delegation carried out private and confidential interviews with those detained or deprived of their liberty and law enforcement officials. Members of the delegation also met with the Human Rights Commissioner of the Republic of Kazakhstan, government officials, civil society representatives and UN agencies.

To support the work of the Kazakhstan National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), the independent torture watchdog in the country, the SPT delegation held several discussions and accompanied them during a visit to a detention facility.

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“We encouraged the Government to take further steps to guarantee and enhance the preventive mandate of the NPM, which is key to battling against torture and ill-treatment,” Czepek said, adding, “we also recall the importance of the recommendations we made from our previous visit.”

The SPT will submit a confidential report to the Government of Kazakhstan with its observations and recommendations on preventing torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty. As with all other States, the SPT encourages Kazakhstan to make this report public as the State party did after the SPT 2016 visit.

The SPT delegation was composed of Jakub Czepek, Head of the delegation, (Poland), Nika Kvaratskhelia (Georgia), Zdenka Perović, (Montenegro), and Anica Tomsic (Croatia).

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