STATEMENT Mr.Nurlan Yerimbetov, President of the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan at CAB meeting on the Draft law on NGOs
The Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan (CAK) stands for a strong and independent civil sector of Kazakhstan which would be able to assume part of the powers of the government on the issues of social development. CAK supports professional independence and ethical consistency of our NGOs which will be able to move away from double standards agendas imposed on them and to oppose attempts to undermine stability in our country.
We do not want the civil sector of Kazakhstan remain as a tool for promotion the national interests of other states. Moreover, we do not want our NGOs to be a tool for promoting social policy of Kazakhstan, but its initiators who would prioritize and effectively implement them into the social sphere of Kazakhstan.
In fact, in Kazakhstan we don’t have such initiative and independent sector. Debates over the Draft law, reaction of a certain group of NGOs have once again confirmed that they remain a tool of a policy alien to Kazakhstan. Hence, they argue that the Government sees the civil sector as a strong opposition, and fearing it will prohibit foreign funding, will begin widespread closure of NGOs, yield pressure, harassment, and become a police kind of state, etc.
The basis for such a statement very unclear. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that they are sponsored by USAID, EU, OSCE and UN human rights institutions. All of you, who signed up under them, are simply their employees and receive salaries from the. We consider you neither a civil society, nor independent, or so-called “genuine.”
We stated for imposing a ban on foreign funding of our NGOs – it’s just not right and not fair. How can foreigners know and understand what we, Kazakhs, need? How can they dictate development programs in our country? They are far away, they do not live here, and by and large … they just do not care about our children and their problems, about our elders and their diseases. Foreign donors need our resources, our loyalty, our support, and in order to get it all they need a tool – and all those who receive grants from foreigners are precisely this tool. This is my personal subjective opinion.
However, our voice was not heard. The Government has demonstrated flexibility and loyalty, allowing foreign funding, supporting these foreign projects and agents to promote them in Kazakhstan. But showing such flexibility Government did not escape criticism – foreign NGOs and those who finance want more and more.
Do you understand the absurdity of the situation? – Though the Government has preserved foreign granting, put this granting out of its control, it became “an authoritarian and police regime that asserts immense pressure on the reverent and clean civil society.”
The Government during the economic crisis fixed in the new Draft law the undertakings to allocate additional millions of USD to NGOs’ activities, to liberalize the procedure of receiving funds through grants and bonuses for their institutional development. Bur again and again the Government remains “guilty” – as if the Government “wants to buy NGOs and oblige them to carry its will”. All of you have been bought, receiving millions of USD from Brussels, Washington, London to implement their orders.
Are you afraid of the Operator – why? Is it because you have to work with it? Is it really so that Operator, the member of the Board of which you will be, is less transparent than those closed offices of USAID? What are you afraid and fear of?
No, it is not Operator, and grants and bonuses that you are afraid of. You are afraid of transparency. You do not want show to anyone how much you get for the job in Kazakhstan. You want to have access to all the information, you want your opinion to be taken into account, moreover, you want laws and the policy to be changed on the basis of your opinion… You talk about transparency and accountability of the Government. In doing so, you not only show how much and from whom you receive funds, where and what you do, but you went quite far and began this information war. Moreover, we suspect that it is a political order of the West, and you simply work off very well.
We do not understand yet the reasons for the flexibility of our Government and its desire to please you. It should have followed the experience of Russia and Azerbaijan. The Russians adopted the law and ousted all foreign donors and NGOs from the country. Russians form their social policies themselves and raise the civil sector.
Azerbaijan has obliged foreign donors to register in the Ministry of Justice. As a result, the country offices of “Soros Foundation”, OSCE Center, NDI, Amnesty International, Peace Corps, and “Doctors Without Borders” have been closed.
Yes, the measures taken have led to harsh criticism from the EU, the Council of Europe, the United States and a number of international NGOs, to the decrease of the democratic rating of this country in the reports of a number of Western NGOs, including of the FH «Nations in Transit 2014″, which named the country as a «Consolidated Authoritarian Regime». There is nothing terrible in it. Vice versa, the country itself determines the vector of its political development, its stability and unity, and no one undermines and influences adoption of foreign and domestic policy decisions.