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OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2016

Torture and ill-treatment in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (23 September 2016)

Torture and ill-treatment including the use of electric shock, suffocation, rape and beatings continue to be reported from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Since January 2016 the three Central Asian NGO Coalitions against Torture registered 115 new cases in Kazakhstan, 86 in Kyrgyzstan and 60 cases in Tajikistan. It is believed that these figures reflect only the tip of the iceberg since many victims of torture and their relatives refrain from lodging complaints for fear of reprisals or because they do not believe that they will attain justice.

At the same time, each of the three Central Asian countries has taken some steps in the right direction in recent years. For example, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) and set up national preventive mechanisms (NPMs); Kazakhstan and Tajikistan passed legislation strengthening safeguards against torture in detention; the Ministries of Health in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan obliged medical personnel to examine detainees in line with the standards of the United Nations (UN) Istanbul Protocol; and several victims of torture or their bereaved families received compensation payments for moral damages sustained through torture following rulings by civil courts in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

We believe that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan should adopt regional best practice in order to progress in the struggle against torture. In addition, the Coalitions against Torture have identified three further areas of concern that the authorities should address as a matter of urgency: amnesty laws, failure to conduct effective investigations, compensation for moral damages.

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