Kazakhstan celebrates 30 years of independence
Kazakhstan is Russia and China's big neighbor, located between the two superpowers. This year, the country celebrates 30 years as an independent nation after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is a good opportunity to evaluate what results have been achieved, at the same time setting new goals.
Despite its young age, Kazakhstan has come a long way in developing a modern society with economic prosperity, a growing middle class - and also solid political institutions, even though Kazakhstan is not a fully developed democracy in the Western sense. The health care system is well developed, and the country emphasis social security and employment. The country facilitates privatization and welcomes foreign investment.
Throughout the Cold War, Kazakhstan was Sovjet Unions testing ground for nuclear weapons. When the country became independent, all nuclear weapons were dismantled in record time, not least with assistance from the United States. Later one Kasakhstan has excelled as a pioneer in nuclear disarmament and peacekeeping work. Today, Kazakhstan stands out as a well-established and recognized sovereign state that plays an important stabilizing role in Central Asia – and on the global arena.
Kazakhstan is a country characterized by very many ethnic and diverse religious groups and is concerned that this diversity is a strength, not a problem. It is no secret that Kazakhstan carries a historical heritage that means that not all democratic challenges are solved, not least when it comes to human rights. But now the country is announcing major human rights reforms. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed a presidential order on "further human rights measures" as part of his modernization agenda. The order guarantees an action plan to protect the rights of vulnerable people and minority groups, including women, people with disabilities and victims of human trafficking. In addition to outlining co-operation with UN agencies, the presidential decree states that freedom of association and freedom of expression must be strengthened and protected.
- Kjell Magne Bondevik, Former Prime Minister of Norway, and leader for "The Oslo Centre"
- Hans Wilhelm Steinfeld, Author and former foreign correspondent.
- Kairat Abusseitov, Head of International Programmes Center, Nursultan Nazarbayev Foundation and former Ambassador to Norway
- Yerkin Akhinzhanov, Ambassador to Norway