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FIRST VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN BY THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

FIRST VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN BY THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
21 March 2014

United Nations Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt will visit Kazakhstan from 25 March to 5 April 2014, to assess the situation in the country regarding the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and to promote the adoption of related human rights measures.

“I would like to understand better how Kazakhstan manages religious diversity based on equal respect for everyone’s religious or non-religious convictions, and implements its international human rights obligations,” Mr. Bielefeldt said launching the first visit to the country by an independent expert charged by the United Nations Human Rights Council to monitor freedom of religion or belief worldwide. 

“I will look into the registration requirements for religious communities, issues of religious education within and outside of schools, consequences of security legislation on the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief for everyone, including members of religious minorities,” the Special Rapporteur explained.

During his twelve-day visit, the human rights expert will meet with a wide range of relevant Government officials and agencies, as well as representatives of religious or belief communities and civil society organizations in Astana, Almaty and Karaganda.

Mr. Bielefeldt will share his preliminary findings at a press conference to be held on 4 April 2014, at the United Nations Building, Bukeykhan Str. 26, 2nd floor conference hall in Astana.

Following his visit, the Special Rapporteur will present a report containing his conclusions and recommendations to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2015.

Heiner Bielefeldt assumed his mandate as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in August 2010.  As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity.  Mr. Bielefeldt is Professor of Human Rights and Human Rights Politics at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.  From 2003 to 2009, he was Director of Germany’s National Human Rights Institution.  His research interests include various interdisciplinary facets of human rights theory and practice, with a focus on freedom of religion or belief. Learn more, visit:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomReligion/Pages/FreedomReligionIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Kazakhstan:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/KZIndex.aspx
 
Download the “Rapporteur's Digest on Freedom of Religion or Belief”: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Religion/RapporteursDigestFreedomReligionBelief.pdf

Check the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ReligionOrBelief.aspx

For more information and media requests please contact:
In Astana:
Leila Duisekova (+7 7172 69 65 50(-44), ext. 2293 / leila.duisekova@undp.org) or
Sharof Azizov (sazizov@ohchr.org)
In Geneva:
Brenda Vukovic (bvukovic@ohchr.org / +41 22 917 96 35) write to freedomofreligion@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR14/074E