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Call for Child Rights Ombudsperson in Kazakhstan

© UNICEF/Kazakhstan: Talgat Taishanov

Astana, 20 January 2006: One third of Kazakhstan's children -- around five million in total -- are socially vulnerable, according to national Ombudsperson Bolat Baikadamov.

Speaking today at the launch of his report on the Observance of Child Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Baikadamov also called for the creation of an Ombudperson for child rights.

The results of three years of analysis by the Ombudsperson, the report examines the general situation of children, of  child rights observance and their reflection in the national policies and legislation. The report finds that child labour, abuse and sexual exploitation, juvenile delinquency, and institutionalization remain burning issues for Kazakhstan.

UNICEF Kazakhstan provided information and financial support for the Report. Speaking at the press conference, UNICEF Representative Alexandre Zouev announced that the European Commission had just approved a project on the Development of the Child Rights Ombudsman System in Kazakhstan, which will be carried out by a range of partners including local authorities, the Ombudsperson’s Office, UNICEF and civil society organizations.

“This project aims to develop a functioning referral system and mechanisms for monitoring child rights at the central and local levels," said Mr Zouev. "The oblasts of Astana, South and East Kazakhstan will be the pilot sites to develop various models for Child Rights Ombudspersons with their own distinct strategies. The best model will then be replicated all over Kazakhstan”.

© UNICEF/Kazakhstan: Talgat Taishanov

The need for juvenile justice reform

still lacks special legal regulations and legal assistance for children. “A child committing an offence falls into a system that works well for grown-up criminals, but which severely violates the rights of a child”,  said Mr. Mr. Baikadamov.

According to the Report, children committed 6,614 crimes nationwide in 2003. In 2004, this figure soared to 7,948, and in the first six months of 2005 alone, children were involved in 4,498 offences. The juvenile justice system is currently being examined by the Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice and other government agencies working on the development of laws and procedures for an effective juvenile justice system. 

“These and other child rights issues will be discussed at the Central Asian Child Protection Forum, which is tentatively scheduled for May with the venue in Astana, Kazakhstan," said the UNICEF Representative.

The report

The Ombudsperson’s Report focuses on the implementation of 2003 recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Report has been presented to President Nazarbayev, who has instructed the Government to study the document as the baseline for Kazakhstan’s Second Periodic Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, due on 10 September 2006. Government agencies, as well as NGOs of Kazakhstan have already commenced drafting two parallel reports on progress of child rights observance in Kazakhstan.

For more information:

Gauhar Abdygaliyeva, Communication Officer, UNICEF Kazakhstan (+ 7 3172) 32 83 07,



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