Reply to Kazakhstan on its New NGO Law: Statement to the PC

Secretary General nameplate at the Hofburg Congress Center in Vienna, Austria. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

Just to respond to the comments from our distinguished colleague from Kazakhstan, I would like to reiterate the U.S. concern that the law does not provide for the open space for civil society as represented by our colleague from Kazakhstan just now. And that is why we have urged a review by international experts, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly, Venice Commission, and ODIHR so that amendments or amendments to the implementing regulations can be made.

The allegation that somehow USAID has given a stamp of approval to this law is false. I wish our distinguished colleague from Kazakhstan had not made that claim. USAID works within the guidance and leadership of the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator have made clear to your Minister on several occasions our ongoing concerns with this law and our desire to see Kazakhstan continue a democratic trajectory and so to ensure that this law— and all laws— are fully in accordance with international human rights standards and Kazakhstan’s commitments and obligations.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna