Press release

Central Asian Lawyers Trained to Fight Torture by the Open Society Justice Initiative

July 20, 2007
+1 212-548-0378

ALMATY, Kazakhstan—Twenty lawyers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are joining international human rights law experts this week for practical training in using litigation to combat torture.

The training, taking place in Almaty on July 20-23, will offer hands-on instruction in overcoming the challenges of litigating torture cases. This is the third year the seminar, which is organized by the Open Society Justice Initiative, is being held.

Torture is widely used in central Asia to obtain confessions and other statements admitted as evidence in criminal proceedings. This is in breach of the UN Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which have been ratified by the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have also ratified the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which allows individuals to complain directly to the UN Human Rights Committee about violations of their rights.

The seminar focuses on legal challenges in domestic courts and international bodies concerning states' failure to comply with their international obligations to prevent, investigate, and punish torture. The practical exercises at the heart of the training are developed from actual cases in Central Asia and decisions by the UN Human Rights Committee on the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.

The seminar is part of an ongoing Justice Initiative project on seeking legal remedies for torture in Central Asia. The project provides qualified legal counsel in domestic litigation and supports individual applications to the UN Human Rights Committee in cases of strategic importance.


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