ALMATY, Kazakhstan, 20 June 2012 – The OSCE Centre in Astana together with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) held an expert workshop on national human rights institutions and gender equality today in Almaty.
The meeting brought together some 25 experts from national human rights institutions and organizations from Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
June Zeitlin, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, in her keynote address said: “The international norms on women's human rights are well-established. The main challenge now is implementation. National human rights institutions can play an important role in promoting public understanding of women's rights and in protecting the exercise of these rights.”
At the event participants discussed the OSCE/ODIHR draft Handbook on the Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Protecting and Promoting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. The handbook will be finalized and published in late 2012.
Jeannette Kloetzer, the Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana, said: “National human rights institutions are key mechanisms for protecting and promoting human rights, including women's rights, and gender equality principles. With this workshop, we seek to contribute to strengthening the capacity of human rights institutions to advance gender equality policy and legislation.”
Vyacheslav Kaluzhniy, the Head of the Kazakhstan Ombudsman Office’s National Human Rights Centre, said: “We believe that the Ombudsman must not only promote gender equality but also serve as an effective mechanism for gender policy implementation. Together with state agencies and civil society, we will work to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women and men.”
Later today Zeitlin will travel to Astana for a series of meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Commission on Women and Family-Demographic Politics and members of the parliament. During the meetings the implementation of the OSCE Gender Action Plan, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, issues of women’s political participation, and violence against women will be discussed.