Policy Brief Number 5: Kazakhstan and the OSCE Human Dimension
November 20, 2009
This policy brief focuses on the challenges to the OSCE Human Dimension and the challenges to Kazakhstan as Chairman-in-Office of the organization in 2010.
Kazakhstan has chosen a very ambitious role in seeking and then preparing to chair the OSCE. This prestigious international position may well represent the culmination of one stage of Kazakhstan’s recent history and the beginning of another. By taking on the OSCE chairmanship Kazakhstan’s leaders are signaling that the period of consolidating the country’s independence is effectively complete and that the country is now prepared to more fully participate as a major player in both the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian spheres of security and cooperation.
The two major challenges Kazakhstan faces as Chairman-in-Office are first, preserving the autonomy and strengthening the mandate of the Human Dimension body—the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)—which has been contested by some participating states with the purpose of diminishing its role; and second, advancing its domestic reform agenda in the area of human rights, including civil and political rights. In chairing the OSCE during 2010, the country’s leaders recognize that they have placed their own domestic political life under close international scrutiny.