More protection of human rights needed in Kazakhstan:Pillay

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Navi Pillay

There are many "human rights concerns and critical gaps" in Kazakhstan's laws and rule-of-law institutions, the UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay told a press conference in the capital, Astana.

Ms. Pillay is visiting the country as part of her first visit to Central Asia.

Charles Appel reports.

Ms. Pillay told reporters that freedom of assembly is far too restricted in Kazakhstan and that there were allegations that torture is still practiced in the country, even though it has ratified the Convention against Torture.

She said much concern has been expressed that the space for public criticism – an essential part of the democratic process – is now shrinking rather than expanding.

She recommended that a new or amended media law that decriminalizes libel is needed.

Other concerns she heard during her visit, she said, included the country's very high suicide rate, especially among teens, and domestic violence.

Ms Pillay asked the Prime Minister to convey to the President that promoting and protecting human rights need to be key priorities for Kazakhstan.

Charles Appel, United Nations.

Duration: 51″

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