On January 16, 2017 a meeting titled “Passions about Registration: How to reform the registration system of citizens in Kazakhstan?” was held by the Discussion club “PaperLab” in Astana. The club invited public figures and experts, among whom were Yevgeny Zhovtis – the director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Zauresh Battalova – the head of public campaign, Jokhar Utebekov – the lawyer of Almaty City Board of Lawyers, and Malika Tukmadiyeva – the researcher from PaperLab, who have expertise in this issue. Moreover, the representatives of civil service and institutes came to the meeting, including the Minister of Information and Communications – Dauren Abayev, the Deputy of Majilis – Irina Smirnova, and others.
Photo credit: the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan
All the problematic aspects of a temporary registration of citizens were raised during the discussions. Jokhar Utebekov talked about low-quality service of Service Centers for Population (CONs) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Minister Abayev answered different questions from an audience and talked about the preparation of the online registration system, which will be done in the end of January. He agreed that the mechanisms of implementation of registration process are inappropriate. Yevgeny Zhovtis talked about different groups of population such as orphans, disabled people and others, who were not considered during the implementation of the law. For example, some orphans do not have documents at all and in order to get a document one has to have a place of registration. In other words, there is an interrelated cycle, which does not solve the problem.
Human rights advocate noted that this law is not against terrorists but regular people. Instead this should have been beneficial to easily obtain pubic services rather than to control citizens, according to Yevgeny Zhovtis. Moreover, authorities of law enforcement should never interfere with the matters of registration, while in Kazakhstan they were directly engaged in the development of this provision, Zauresh Battalova says. Mr. Zhovtis supports her by arguing that the executive power in Kazakhstan proposes laws for themselves. In addition, Aida Aidarkulova from the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan says that, “86% of Kazakhstani are online everyday, it means that the website of the Parliament should have been enhanced a long time ago in order to interact with the population in such situations.”
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Prepared by Arman Mussin