Kazakhstan has good chances to build a successful multi-ethnic state: OSCE High Commissioner

Kazakhstan has good chances to build a successful multi-ethnic state: OSCE High Commissioner

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 8 / Trend , E. Ostapenko/ 

Kazakhstan has good chances to build a successful multi-ethnic state in the Central Asia, OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Knut Vollebaek said.  

"The authorities and people are very much aware of the complexity of those issues and they devote a lot of attention to minority matter unlike many other countries," Vollebaek said in his interview with Trend .

He said Kazakhstan has tried a number of innovative approaches, like multilingualism, the Assembly of People and searching for ways in which minorities could be represented in the policy making.

Kazakhstan's Assembly of People is an institute to promote inter-ethnic and inter-faith consent. It contributes to formation of Kazakh model of poly-ethnic society.

Priority directions of the Assembly of Peoples, which marked 15th anniversary in May, is to strengthen statehood, protect human rights and freedoms of the people and the state and to shift to a qualitatively new level of development that meets the requirements of a civilized world community.

Kazakhstan has an official bilingualism: Kazak and Russian languages.  

Many of those attempts have to be evaluated after some time, Vollebaek said.

"This is very important as minority issues are not static but they evolve with time," he said.

I think the country will greatly contribute to discussions in the OSCE family about issues that
concern integration and tolerance which are of utmost importance not only for Kazakhstan but for the whole world, Vollebaek said.

Kazakhstan can still improve some legislation and should reassure minorities that no changes implemented over night, he said.

Kazakhstan is home to about 120 ethnic groups and nationalities, principal among which are Uighurs, Russian, Uzbeks, Tatars, Germans, Koreans, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Azerbaijanis, Chechens and Ingush, Poles, Turks, Armenians, Greeks and Kurds.

Vollebaek debated population's concerns about change of geographic names with Kazakh authorities. He said he was assured that there was a moratorium on these changes and
that the leadership is very much aware of the sensitivity of this topic. If there should be changes in the future they will only do them in consultation with the population

He cited several examples of countries where two different place names exist
side by side depending on the two communities who live in a certain place.

This could be a creative solution and I try in my work to find a tailor made
solution to challenges that might exist in a given context, he said.

"Year 2010 will be a fascinating year and it will be very interesting to follow
the decisions and deliberations that Kazakhstan will bring to our Organization to
solidifying and fostering OSCE principles," Vollebaek said.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]

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