Home > Uncategorized > The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned, Kazakh Style

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned, Kazakh Style

So last evening, the State Department released a statement on Kazakhstan taking over as chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The OSCE was crafted out of the Helsinki Final Acts, and was meant to be a confidence-building institution between the West and the Warsaw Pact countries.

The OSCE is broken into three issue areas, known as baskets: economics, security, democracy and human rights. OSCE member states make political commitments as members of the institution, commitment to things like freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc.

These commitments are extremely important and serve as the basis of the OSCE system.

Despite significant opposition from yours truly, THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy, countless NGOs, and a growing number of member states, Kazakhstan became the Chairman in Office as of January 1. According to the OSCE website, the Chairman in Office (CiO):

The OSCE Chairmanship is held for one calendar year by the OSCE participating State designated as such by a decision of the Ministerial Council. The function of the Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) is exercised by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of that State… The CiO provides the political leadership of the OSCE and oversees the Organization’s activities in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. The CiO is also responsible for the external representation of the OSCE and for OSCE appointments.

Kazakhstan received such vocal opposition thanks to things like its restrictive religion laws and overall climate of intolerance, arbitrary arrest and detention of religious leaders and members of the press, confiscation of religious property, and other stellar acts that make its receiving the chairmanship something of a laughing stock.

So big surprise that the US statement on Kazakhstan’s chairmanship comes with no encouraging words, no restraint in support, no begrudging or questioning stance. Instead, Robert O. Blake, Jr.,
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department, sang a love ballad to Kazakhstan.

This overwhelming outpouring of love and affection does not reflect the internal State Department and OSCE apprehensions of the Kazakh chairmanship, nor the concerns of other member states. The Obama Administration and the Clinton State Department need to take a stronger stand on Kazakhstan and on human rights in general.

This statement continues to erode any hope I have for change in the Administration and its interest in human rights…

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