In 2008, in line with its ‘Strategy for a New Partnership’ with Central Asia, the European Union agreed with the Republic of Kazakhstan to establish an annual human rights dialogue, and its first round was held on 15 October 2008 in Astana. An agreement was also reached that prior to the second round of the official dialogue a civil society human rights seminar will be held in Kazakhstan, and as planned, the European Commission organized it on 29-30 of June 2009 in Almaty. The Seminar was well attended by 95 persons, comprised of 65 civil society participants and 30 observers, including representatives of six various state agencies and the judiciary of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The topics discussed during the Seminar related to the law on administrative responsibility in Kazakhstan, the judicial system, conditions of detention and the use of alternatives to imprisonment. During a lively and constructive discussion, participants addressed international standards, European best practice, national laws and their practical application. The Seminar provided an opportunity for an exchange of views between European and Kazakhstani civil society representatives, academics and state officials.
The Seminar resulted in elaboration of detailed recommendations to the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on legislative and practical changes needed in order to ensure full compliance with international and national standards relating to the topics of the Seminar.