On the occasion of Human Rights Day, we have an honour to present you the interview with lawyer Anuar Tugel, Director of the Human Rights Institute of the Al-Farabi University in Nur-Sultan City, Kazakhstan. Anuar is a prominent lawyer, previously served as the Chairman of the Republican Collegium of Advocates of Kazakhstan (RKA). In 2018, together with AEA-EAL President Maria Slazak, he was the co-chair of the international conference “Advocates 2018. Improving the Quality of Legal Services” organised by the AEA-EAL and RKA in Almaty.
Every year on 10 December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the very day when, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration consists of a preamble and 30 articles that set out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all of us, everywhere around the world, are entitled. It guarantees our rights without distinction of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status.
You are the Director of the Human Rights Institute of the Al-Farabi State University in Kazakhstan. Please tell us when and why the Institute was established? What are main goals of its activity?
The Institute was established on the basis of the decision of the Academic Council of the University in 2020 to raise a new generation of human rights defenders and improve the qualifications among legal professionals. Until that time there was no education in the sphere of human rights in Kazakhstan. Our end goal is to contribute to the creation of a society with a human rights culture, where everyone interacts in a paradigm, clearly understanding their rights and responsibilities, as it is supposed to be in the civilized world, where human rights are as much a part of people’s lives as are language, traditions, art and the love to homeland.
How does the Institute work?
The Institute conducts trainings for representatives of the legal profession in accordance with the principles of justice and the rule of law.
It also carries out research projects in the field of human rights protection, development of the legal profession and can take part in lawmaking activities by monitoring legislation and preparing analytical reports.
What are the main concerns for human rights from your perspective?
Some of the most problematic moments in the field of human rights are: torture in the penitentiary system, lack of independence of the judicial system, corruption in law enforcement agencies, non-compliance with laws by law enforcement officers, due to the lack of high-quality legal education. Also restriction of civil rights: freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, etc.
How lawyers can contribute to preserve and development of the human rights and the rule of law?
By defending the rights of their clients and upholding the interests of justice, lawyers promote the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law. However, it should be noted, that only independent lawyers (or institution of lawyers) can contribute to the protection of human rights.
What is the role of international organizations of lawyers and international co-operation towards defence of human rights?
International organizations of lawyers stimulate the profession by facilitating the exchange of experience and continuing education between lawyers of different countries. It is clear that ideological and legal principles in all legal systems are universal. Moreover, human rights are universal, and in this regard, international cooperation in human rights defence contributes to the maintenance of the highest principles of human rights by national governments.
Thank you very much for our talk.