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среда, 23 декабря 2009 г.

Gordian knot

The USA Administration’s Approach to Human Rights in 2010

Accountability – A commitment to human rights starts with universal standards and with holding everyone accountable to those standards, including ourselves.

Principled Pragmatism Promoting human rights requires pragmatism and agility, not compromising on principles, but doing what is most likely to bring practical results.

Partnering at All Levels – The U.S. supports change driven by citizens and their communities and encourages and provides support for local grassroots human rights leaders. We also partner with multilateral and regional institutions to secure human rights.

A Wide FocusPositive change must be reinforced and strengthened over time. Where human lives hang in the balance, the U.S. will do all it can to tilt situations toward a future of hope and dignity.


My comments: The State Department announces that it will conducts formal, systematic human rights dialogues with various countries and advances the administration’s engagement policy by talking to leaders of human rights risky countries. It stresses the importance of support of the efforts of the OSCE. This is the most challenging part of this policy. Kazakhstan next year will chair OSCE. It was a pragmatic decision of the USA to promote the new role of Kazakhstan. Since the Madrid, Kazakhstan improves nothing related to democracy or human rights. Instead became worse. How the State Department will strengthen institutional capacity of the OSCE with its controversial chairmanship? Are Kazakh leader understands profoundly what kind of political dilemma he stands before? Does his democratic OSCE partners can rely on his veracity? Or he relies on western pragmatic forgiveness again? The following points expressed in the USA media shouldn't stay uncertain and with no clear answer.

February 3, 2008

President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who runs the country like a family business-and-television empire and has been enveloped for years with allegations of corruption, won 91 percent of the vote in a December 2005 election that independent observers said was flawed.

Before the election, a human rights worker who published allegations of presidential corruption on a Web site was mugged. The attackers tore open his clothes and used a blade to carve a large X — the mark of the censor — on his chest. The government also confiscated newspapers that published articles on presidential corruption.

The State Department urged Mr. Nazarbayev to respect press freedoms. But, like the message to Azerbaijan, that message became mixed when the American ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe appeared to dismiss the crackdown’s significance, when she addressed a Kazakh official during a speech.

“When I was in Kazakhstan a couple of weeks ago I had the interesting pleasure of reading some of this [sic] newspapers that have been seized,” the ambassador, Julie Finley, said to a session of the organization’s council in Vienna in November 2005, according to the transcript. “Maybe you saved some readers some waste of time, anyway.”

(The transcript was removed from the American mission’s Web site but not before being saved by Western diplomats who circulated it independently. Ambassador Finley, a political appointee, declined to comment; a colleague said she has often spoken out for media freedom in Kazakhstan, and that this quote was an ad lib from her prepared text and did not reflect her true feelings.)

Two months after Mr. Nazarbayev’s victory, one of the opposition leaders who had challenged him, Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, was murdered by members of the K.N.B., a Kazakh successor to the K.G.B. And last year, Mr. Nazarbayev ushered in changes to the Kazakh Constitution that cleared a path for him to be president for life.

The second challenge UN. New administration seeks to defend and promote human rights and democracy through the United Nations system. To our regret, this global institution still makes less progress in these issues. The third challenge is money. In the time of financial constraints $400 million will go to support human rights and democracy programs around the globe. It is interesting to know how much money planned the countries like Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on human rights and democracy for 2010. And what their policies are? How the practical results will be achieved if those national governments even not think about that? We have to recognize that their agility to bring to compromise partners from democratic countries is really impressive. They know how to imitate democracy. But, we have to think how to make them accountable. With no compromise.


The Gordian Knot is a legend associated with Alexander the Great. It is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem, solved by a bold stroke ("cutting the Gordian knot")

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