ASTANA, Kazakhstan, 26 June 2012 – The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) Knut Vollebaek today participated in a high-level event in Astana to launch a new project on policing in multi-ethnic Kazakhstan.
The initiative aims to enhance the capacity of the Interior Ministry and its police officers to operate in multi-ethnic environments.
The project builds on the HCNM’s Recommendations on Policing in Multi-Ethnic Societies, which provide OSCE participating States with practical guidance in developing policies and laws to strengthen inter-ethnic relations and increase the operational effectiveness of their police services. Its two key components are practical workshops for senior and mid-level police officers from the two ethnically diverse provinces of Almaty and South Kazakhstan, and a range of activities aimed at facilitating the introduction of multi-ethnic policing components into Kazakhstan’s police-training curriculum.
“This project reflects my belief that policing that is sensitive to the multi-ethnic composition of society can significantly contribute to the prevention and timely diffusion of potential inter-ethnic conflict situations,” said Vollebaek in his opening statement. “By taking my recommendations on policing in multi-ethnic societies into account, participating States can also improve the overall day-to-day performance of their police, delivering security to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic background.”
“Since 2008, the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan has co-operated with the Interior Ministry on issues of policing in a multi-ethnic society and a lot of experience has been accumulated which can be shared with the participants of the event," said Eraly Tugzhanov, the deputy chairman of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. "Co-operation and exchange of experience on these issues with the HCNM will be the next step to improve the ethnic policy in Kazakhstan.”
The project on policing in multi-ethnic Kazakhstan was developed by the HCNM following a request from the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. It will be implemented jointly with the Assembly, Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry and the OSCE Centre in Astana. The project benefits from the OSCE Strategic Police Matters Unit’s expertise and policing experts from the United Kingdom.