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Respecting Human Rights in Central Asia: Will this stabilize or destabilize the region?

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All five Central Asian states have signed most of the major UN Human Rights Conventions. However, due to poor implementation the level of fulfillment of Human Rights — although varying from country to country — is unsatisfying. Poverty, violations of basic economic and social rights, torture, violence against women, lack of freedom of media and freedom of assembly, arbitrary arrests, wide-spread corruption, restrictions regarding freedom of religion, child labor and lack of protection of refugees are the key problems. Poor quality of election, restriction of political and religious freedom, and non-realization of economic and social rights on the long run will contribute to destabilize societies and fuel extremism. Kazakhstan, the first post-Soviet country to take over the OSCE chairmanship in 2010, fails to meet many agreed standards for democratic elections and respect of human rights. It therefore would be over-optimistic to expect that Kazakhstan will become a driving force in promotion and protection of Human Rights. However, the very fact that Central Asia for a certain period will be in the spot light and that Kazakhstan's domestic human rights policy will be closely monitored and scrutinized provides a window of opportunity to advocate for improved respect of Human Rights in Central Asia.


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