An OSCE-supported roundtable discussion in Astana, Kazakhstan today on proposed changes to national legislation on countering extremism and terrorism brought together some 40 parliamentarians, high-level representatives of the National Security Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Supreme Court, Ministries of the Interior, Justice, Education and Science, international and national experts, and academics.
Participants discussed legislative and institutional measures to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism. The event was organized by the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of Kazakhstan’s parliament, and the National Security Committee, with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in co-operation with the Legal Council of the National Democratic Party “Nur Otan”.
Based on a request from the Mazhilis Committee for International Affairs, Defence and Security, ODIHR provided expert legal analysis of the proposed changes in the legislation before the second reading of the draft law amendments. Anne-Lise Chatelain, ODIHR’s Legislative Support Officer, was among the international and national experts to present legal opinions and recommendations for the draft law based on the international standards and best practices.
Chair of the Legislation and Judicial Reform Committee of the Mazhilis of the Parliament Nurlan Abdirov discussed the fact that terrorism had once been a distant topic and seemed irrelevant to the country but that recent events had unfortunately made it a reality for the people of Kazakhstan. He emphasized possible roles for the media in countering terrorism, the need to incorporate international best practices into legislation intended to prevent and counter terrorism and that discussing the legislation intended to do so was important.
György Szabó, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, said: “The OSCE is an organization to help promote security. The need to act is already upon us and this includes supporting human rights and the rule of law in countering terrorism.”
The event was followed by the official presentation of the legal opinion on countering terrorism draft legislation in the Parliament for members of the draft law working group.
The discussion is part of the OSCE Programme Office’s multi-year efforts to assist the host country in countering violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism with due regard for human rights and fundamental freedoms.