“Ladies and Gentlemen,
“I am delighted to welcome you to this important seminar on the implementation of the National Preventive Mechanism. I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak from this platform. Can I thank Vyacheslav Kalyuzhnyy, Head of the National centre for human rights, for cooperation in this project and for all the efforts and support invested into this process. My special thanks go to the project implementer, Penal Reform International, for organising this event. I would also like to thank UNICEF and the OSCE for their cooperation both in this event and on torture prevention overall. Finally thanks to all of you who have come here this morning for your interest in this issue and your commitment.
“The UK supports the global ratification and implementation of the Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol, known as OPCAT, which ensures that places of detention are inspected and monitored. This is done by establishing a dual system of regular visits. The first involves an obligation on states parties to set up, designate and maintain a National Preventive Mechanism to conduct regular inspections. The second is through visits by the UN Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture.
“Earlier this year at the presentations of the National Human Rights Report 2012 in Astana, Almaty and Shymkent, my colleagues and I congratulated Kazakhstan on the adoption of legislation on the NPM. I would like to reinstate that we very much welcome this development. This is a tangible indication of the Kazakh Government’s commitment to improve the treatment of those in prisons. This legislation will further allow for legal frameworks to prevent and prohibit torture which we should all agree is abhorrent and completely unacceptable.
“This event it taking place as part of the project we have supported on “Establishing National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) in Kazakhstan: putting policy into practice.” The project aims at providing assistance in establishing a working and effective NPM in Kazakhstan based on a partnership of the Ombudsman, the National Human Rights Centre, and civil society. We are honoured to support this initiative. It will help Kazakhstan to ensure greater adherence to international human rights standards in the criminal justice systems which are under review as part of the Criminal Codes Reform. This project will also provide the expertise and training to those involved in the NPM to strengthen their ability to recognise and prevent torture.
“We hope that the NPM will incorporate not only governmental institutions but also NGOs. We believe this is important both to make it stronger and to ensure its independence. It is crucial for the government to work with civil society within the NPM framework and the Coordination Council. We are very well aware of the work done by the Public Monitoring Commissions and hope that this valuable experience will not only be taken into account but will be incorporated within the NPM.
“I would like to once again congratulate Kazakhstan on the legislation and its ongoing efforts to eradicate torture. I wish everyone every success in this initiative.