The Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Kazakhstan Tamara Duisenova held a meeting with UNHCR Representative for Central Asia Hans Friedrich Schodder, during which current issues related to the protection of the rights of refugees and migration were discussed, and a Plan of cooperative measures was signed.
Opening the meeting, the Minister thanked the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, for fruitful cooperation.
“March 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s accession to the UN. We have many years of cooperation with the UN country team in Kazakhstan. In 1999, Kazakhstan joined the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. Kazakhstan has also acceded to most international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, etc.
As you know, on January 1, 2010, the Law “On Refugees” came into force, aimed at determining the legal status of asylum seekers and refugees on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Refugees enjoy the protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Along with legal assistance, they receive material and humanitarian support from NGOs and international organisations,” Tamara Duisenova said.
The Minister stressed the important role of UNHCR as a coordinator in ensuring the effective functioning of the entire cycle of assistance provided to refugees and asylum seekers. The head of the Ministry also noted the contribution of UNHCR to the formation of the Almaty Process as a dialogue platform aimed at solving problems arising from the dynamics of mixed migration and the protection of refugee rights.
“As part of the reform of the law enforcement and judicial systems of the Republic of Kazakhstan, functions in the field of refugees have been transferred from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In this regard, a Migration Committee is being created under our Ministry to ensure a unified policy in the field of migration and refugees.
At the same time, we plan to develop guidelines for the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations, and implement other measures arising from UN decisions within the framework of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a Set of Measures for Refugees, and the Global Compact on Refugee,” Tamara Duisenova stressed.
In turn, the UNHCR Representative for Central Asia noted the importance of joint work on the protection of the rights of refugees and migration.
“We highly appreciate cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population on enhancing legislation and practices on refugee issues. We believe these efforts will help to ensure that refugees can have access to safety and protection in line with Kazakhstan commitment to the universal human rights agenda. We also hope that our joint work will allow refugees to fully realise their potential for the benefit of host communities,” said Hans Friedrich Schodder.
To further strengthen and develop bilateral relations, Tamara Duisenova and Hans Friedrich Schodder signed a Plan of cooperative measures. It provides training sessions for employees of local executive bodies staff on refugee protection issues, as well as the development of joint proposals to improve legislation in the field of protection of refugee rights.