IF YOU ARE A MINORITY
By Yelena Jetpyspayeva, exclusively for Gazeta.kz

Gazeta.KZ, Kazakhstan
Nov 30 2006

You are lucky if you are a majority. If you are a minority your life
is a struggle. Against majority.

Any society was made according to the principle "by a majority for a
majority". It is about private moral traditions, accepted and declared
by a majority. About voting system. About fashion figured on mass. Even
the market lives according the demand/supply rule formed by a majority.

But what about a minority? Any kind. Red-haired are always teased.

Adopted are not treated like "own". Physically handicapped are
discriminated. Not mentioned about national, sexual, religious and
other "not met standards".

Representatives of any kind minorities in any country in any time
had difficulties. They were struggling and defending their rights.

Sometimes paying the very high price - their life. Even formally the
highest law of any country - the Constitution - and international law
propositions - Charter on Human Rights - read that any representative
of human beings is born with equal rights.

In practice this is needed to be proven. Not every time successfully.

Which in this case should be guarantied by a state. But would the every
state support rights of the minority on which not many things depend?

In voting system the parliamentarians, who should protect our freedoms,
take part only the majority who finally takes the decision.

And the minority... Let's re-read the beginning of the article.

And an illusory idea of human rights starts to appear only if the
state makes step over the developing country to higher level.

The image of the country and more advanced form of the partnership
on the world stage begin to play a role. Now it is necessary to enter
another "club", for VIP-persons. For instance, OSCE.

Suddenly the minority and its rights begin to matter.

Gold membership

Kazakhstan has high-flown declared: We propose ourselves for OSCE
Presidency 2009! Let's support us!

We are young state from which you have something to learn already.

Our economy grows with confidence. More then 100 nationalities live
here in peace. Democratic reforms (not talking about its quality)
are being made however the progress will appear after you support us.

The process has been activated. Kazakhstan wants very much to hold
the presidency. That is why the sufficient political capacities are
enabled on the achievement of this aim. Although the achievement seems
to be hard. Trying to get the world support Kazakhstani publicity
became a witness that international opinions were divided.

It happens because different political interests are involved in the
game. Western countries as Germany with energy and other interests
are not against the idea of supporting Kazakhstan. The head of the
German Foreign Affairs Ministry Frank-Walter Steinmeyer meeting the
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kasymzhomart Tokayev even
underlined that "the presidency of Kazakhstan will help the country to
discover the potential of this international organization and give the
additional impulse to the democratization processes in the country".

However the Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan declared
that this country is "strongly objects the Kazakhstan request for
OSCE Presidency in 2009 because the republic is neutral to the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict".

Analyzing the events happening around the OSCE Presidency, you start
unwittingly understand that candidates evaluation mostly goes not
right way. Votes for and against are distributed accordingly narrow
political aims of the certain country.

As more chances to convince the opponent to support you have, as more
to get a gold membership.

To OSCE, to OSCE!

While the high politicians agree upon necessities, OSCE representatives
solve the things using their measurements. Make round tables,
meetings, hearings.

As in every international organization there are certain rules and
criteria to apply that the system for which the organization exists
could work.

On a recent OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw
which took place from 2 till 13 of October, 2006, different opinions
about Kazakhstan and its possible Presidency were heard.

The main themes were: freedom of speech, information and fee Mass
Media, torture prevention, human rights protection and fight against
terrorism, democratic elections, democracy on regional and local
levels, national remedial institutions, freedom of movement, meetings,
associations, thoughts, conscience, religion and beliefs.

On many of these topics we do not have very optimistic achievements.

This was discussed by invited government and civil society
representatives among which were Marzhan Aspandiyarova (Public
committee "Protect your home"), Sergey Duvanov (independent
journalist), Evgeny Zhovtis (Kazakhstani International Bureau on
Human Rights and the Rule of Law ), Daniyar Kanafin (national expert
of ODIHR OSCE), Rashid Nugmanov (International Freedom Net), Irina
Petrushova ("Republic" newspaper), Gavinda Svami (Society of Krishna
Perception), Ryspek Sarsenbayuly (Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly Foundation),
Zhemis Turmagambetova (Human Rights Charter), Sergey Utkin (indeperdent
lawyer), Ninel Fokina (Almaty Helsinki Committee), etc.

Mainly the situation with civil and political rights violation in
Kazakhstan was discussed. But also different evaluations to the
famous social and political figure of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly and his
assistants' assassination were given.

As a result, together with the last and previous events in the field
of democracy and human rights, we have to admit that possible election
of Kazakhstan for OSCE Presidency could not get the positive solution.

But from the other side, participants however agree with the idea
of the Presidency hold by the country, counting it as important
and necessary step towards the further development, especially in
democratization as well as the integration of the country into world
community spheres.

Fair play

It is time to stop playing hide-and-seek. It is time for fair play.

Holding only intergovernmental negotiations are not enough. If decided
to hold the OSCE Presidency 2009, it is not so much time left for
the reforms country needs to carry out from inside.

Political agreements and high level meetings when Kazakhstan declares
high aims and intentions to achieve is one side of the coin.

But when it is "supported" by such things as became traditional
elections legislation violation which the international observers
declare all the time.

Or when the media and information law is changed in a way opposite
to democratic.

When the press is writing about the tragic struggle between people
living in Shanyrak district of Almaty with a police to protect their
houses from the local administration and court decision.

Not mentioning the right-wheel cars ban on the eve of the WTO
accession which leads to the car drivers' demonstrations all over
Kazakhstan. The police block the streets and International Media
reports how the guardians made people keep silence.

Or the last but not least issue - destruction of the houses where the
representatives of "Society of Krishna Perception" live and demand
"to reject their religious belief and make in this case possible
the legalization of property as it happened before with the reps of
other religious confessions" (as it is said in the document signed
by two laborists and one liberal democrat on the eve of the Nursultan
Nazarbayev's visit to the UK, reported by Newsru.com).

These events became rather political then business and remind not
the democratic state where everyone has a freedom of speech.

This political behaviour of different power levels in Kazakhstan
shadowed the aim which the country declared saying "We need the
OSCE Presidency".

In Europe, where the human and minority rights are highly respected,
where from recent time it is prohibited to call gypsies other then
Roma, where the EU authorities create and finance different programmes
to support national, religious, other types of minorities, these
backstage games were not understood at all.

And besides that OSCE itself gives the republic a chance to follow
the democratic reforms and make the small voice of minorities heard.

The conference on the education problems faced by ethnic minorities
in Central Asia were opened on 28th of November, 2006, in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan. The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Rolf
Ekeus, welcomed the decision by four Central Asian States to launch
a regular inter-state dialogue and assist each other on issues of
social integration and national minority education.

"Future co-operation in this area can, I believe, help develop
practical measures to strengthen and carry forward the modernization
process of education in Central Asia and foster the sort of
co-operation across the region that will further promote social
integration within Central Asia's multi-ethnic nations," - Mr Ekeus
said, speaking at the conference.

He also mentioned that formalized co-operation would help ensure the
respect for the educational rights of persons belonging to national
minorities, promote good neighbourly relations and decrease the costs
of education reform.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan agreed to
establish four working groups on the issues of curriculum and textbook
development, language teaching, teacher training, in-service training,
as well as distance learning and IT.

They also announced the working groups would meet regularly to discuss
on-going and prospective inter-state co-operation and mutual assistance
in these four areas. A first working group meeting is scheduled to
take place early 2007.

Perhaps, this will be the real start of the way not only to help the
minorities with their rights, at least in Kazakhstan, but also to
succeed with holding the OSCE Presidency making real steps forward.

http://eng.gazeta.kz/art.asp?aid=84071