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January 16, 2018
Research results on the rights of vulnerable groups presented in Astana
December 22, 2017 round table on research results was held in the framework of the “Reforming Legal Aid for the Vulnerable” project being implemented by the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia in partnership with Taldykorgan Human Rights Center with the support of the European Union. The project aims to enhance the protection of individual rights of vulnerable people, in particular in the wider criminal and civil justice systems, through improving access to government funded legal aid.
Deputies of Mazhilis of the Republic of Kazakhstan, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Internal Affairs, Departments of Penal system (DUIS), lawyers and also representatives of non-governmental organizations, experts in the field of human rights have discussed results and possible changes in laws Republic of Kazakhstan which will be able to improve position of vulnerable groups.
The research was conducted in 7 regions of Kazakhstan: Almaty, West Kazakhstan, Jambyl, Karaganda, Pavlodar, Southern Kazakhstan and the East Kazakhstan region to analyze requirements and the existing barriers to the legal aid guaranteed by the state to social and vulnerable groups of the population (women in a difficult life situation, minors, graduates of orphanages, convicts).
"Working with vulnerable groups not the first year, I am facing with imperfection of the legal aid system guaranteed by the state. It was important to us to study a situation about the barriers interfering access to justice of vulnerable groups of the population and to understand as far as they need such help", - said Victor Ten, Director of the Taldykorgan Human Rights Center.
The research has shown that Kazakhstan citizens have in general a low legal literacy. Not all categories of vulnerable groups have an access to the legal aid guaranteed by the state. In spite of the fact that there is a need of certain groups for receiving the qualified guaranteed legal aid, including at the expense of the state. For example, 55% of the interviewed graduates of orphanages have noted that they need free legal advice from a lawyer on a range of issues including housing, obtaining pensions, social benefits and property inheritance. Most of convicts (62%) need assistance to resolve various legal issues while in prison. Legal informing and extension of the list of the affairs and persons having the right on guaranteed by the state of legal aid, would allow solving in due time and freely arisen problems.