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Human Rights defender Of The “Qaharman” Human Rights Protection Foundation — Dana Zhanay, participated in the OSCE spring session with the theme «Democratic Law-making», where she gave recommendations to the OSCE, PA OSCE.

Human Rights defender Of The “Qaharman” Human Rights Protection Foundation — Dana Zhanay, participated in the OSCE spring session with the theme «Democratic Law-making», where she gave recommendations to the OSCE, PA OSCE.

Her speech:

“I want to address the importance of civil society and opposition participation in law-making and under what conditions we can say that inclusiveness and openness in law-making are respected on the examples of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.

In all three countries, the OSCE didn’t recognise the results of the parliamentary elections as fair and free. Obviously, it directly impacted the legislation process in the countries. For instance, instead of an inclusive process of involving the opposition and civil society in the legislative process, the peaceful opposition movements Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan and Koshe Partiyasy in Kazakhstan, the Anti-Corruption Foundation in Russia, the Nechta News Channel and many chat rooms from Belarusian segment of social networks were banned and recognised as extremist organisations. Their leaders and supporters are facing lengthy prison terms.

It is one of the appalling examples when authoritarian states abuse extremist legislation because of the lack of clear definition in international practice and feeling total impunity for it is abuse. Reputable experts of the UN, OSCE, members of the PACE, PA OSCE and European Parliament called on the regimes to stop the abuse of extremist legislation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Kazakhstan banned opposition activities through the use of extremist legislation or secret courts decisions for 17 years already. Belarus and Russia just started massively announcing all dissent voices as extremists since 2021.

At the same time, on the international platforms as OSCE, we observe extensive propaganda of the authoritarian regimes about so-called “public consultations» in the legislative process. In fact to adopt controversial law the authorities of the post-Soviet autocracies regularly use their GONGOs to conduct such public consultations. So in the end, real opposition and civil society can speak only about constant discrimination and political persecution for an attempt to participate in the legislative process.

Our recommendations to OSCE governments, OSCE PA parliamentarians and especially OSCE moderators:

— To truly support and enable inclusive and open law-making in authoritarian countries, the issue of political persecution, killing and torture for engaging in advocacy of international commitments and law-making should not be removed from the OSCE agenda. Regular meetings via zoom should be the rule to ensure dialogue between civil society, the opposition, and authoritarian countries’ authorities.

— The democratic OSCE should be more courageous in using the EU sanctions regime and global personal sanctions laws against violators of human rights and the foundations of the rule of law and large-scale corruption. Human rights organisations can provide lists of such candidates with full arguments.”