OSCE supports fourth annual Prison Forum in Kazakhstan

23-02-2017, 17:40 | Comments: 0
The OSCE-supported Fourth Prison Forum dedicated to the assessment of the results of the prison reform and presentation of a new government project on the prevention of torture took place on 23 February 2017 in Astana.
OSCE supports fourth annual Prison Forum in Kazakhstan
The event was co-organized by the OSCE Programme Office in Astana together with the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry, the Supreme Court, the Mazhilis (lower house) of the Parliament, the Office of the Ombudsman, the EU Project on Criminal Justice and the Council of Europe.

Some 200 high-level government officials, parliamentarians, representatives of the judiciary, international organizations, civil society and academia focused on the progress achieved in having Kazakhstan removed from the list of 50 countries with the largest prison population. A new government project titled “Towards a Society without Torture” was presented during the event that outlined government plans to further prevent cases of torture. Participants also discussed national and international experience in preventing torture and ill-treatment.

“I am pleased to note Kazakhstan’s progress in reducing the prison population and believe these achievements lay a solid foundation for the further modernization of the penitentiary system,” said Ambassador György Szabó, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana. “We welcome Kazakhstan’s aspirations to build a society without torture and express our readiness to support the subsequent development of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) legislation and other important initiatives aimed at the prevention of torture.”

Summarizing the outcome of the prison reform initiatives, Prosecutor General Zhakip Asanov said: “The project aimed at reducing the prison population has changed the mentality of judges, prosecutor as well as convicts who, for the first time, have begun to trust the authorities.” He added: “The prison population has been reduced by 15,000 in the last few years and the rate of reoffending has fallen considerably.”

The Forum is part of the Office’s continuous efforts to support criminal justice system in the host country.


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