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Bishkek (AKIpress) - OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) Astrid Thors noted the stable inter-ethnic situation in Kazakhstan during her first visit to the country from 23 to 27 June 2014, and commended the authorities for taking a balanced approach to laws and policies in potentially sensitive areas, such as language.
She encouraged the authorities to consistently apply legislation concerning the use of Russian on an equal basis with the State language in administration.
“Publicly reaffirming the legal guarantees on the use of both languages can help remind authorities at various levels of their responsibilities and contribute to easing anxiety among minority communities,” Thors said. She also encouraged the authorities to continue their gradual approach to the introduction of language requirements for civil servants, noting that a diverse civil service can help facilitate the integration of society.
In Shymkent and Almaty, Thors discussed minority-language education with relevant stakeholders. The directors of Uzbek- and Uighur-language schools told Thors that their experience with HCNM projects promoting multilingual education for minority-language schools in Kazakhstan had produced positive results.
Thors urged the authorities to maintain their commitment to education in minority languages, including at the pre-school level. She welcomed the adoption of an action plan by the Ministry of Education and Science in November 2013 to introduce multilingual education in minority-language schools. She also highlighted the need to ensure that conditions are in place for the plan’s implementation, including the provision of textbooks, teacher training and adequate budget resources.
In Astana, Thors met with Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov, Prosecutor General Ashat Daulbaev, Supreme Court Chairman Kairat Mami, Constitutional Council Chairperson Igor Rogov, Deputy Chairperson of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan Eraly Tugzhanov, Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Mazhilis Maulen Ashimbayev, Chairperson of the Committee on Socio-Cultural Development of the Mazhilis Gulnar Iksanova, and representatives of other institutions.