The arbitrary jailing of a leading activist ( Yevgeny Zhovtis ) has dramatised concerns about Kazakhstan's human rights record as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of Europe's top body overseeing democracy and human rights, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Simon Tisdall, Kazakhstan :Our Repressive friend.( The Guardian 11 September 2009 ).
Zhovtis' arrest may well have dramatised concerns as human rights in Eurasian states are generally dramatised by those with concerns about looking to extend and consolidate control over oil, gas and the pipelines stretching into Europe.
Including Zhovtis's Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law which is funded by the US State Department and the Open Society Foundation and "other donors".
In fact according to the UNHCR website entry for this organisation it was until 1997 called The Kazakhstan-American Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law when a rebranding exercise was deemed necessary.
None of that detracts from Yevgeny Zhovtis being jailed on what are trumped up charges. Nor the fact that Nazarbayev is running a corrupt kleptocracy. Yet it seems human rights and protests over them are tied to Western energy concerns.
Whilst the promotion of human rights has to get donations from somewhere, it seems that any human rights organisation that comprimises its integrity by taking money from the US State Department.
It is difficult to see how Zhovtis' organisation is independent when it was created in 1993 by
a group of Kazakhstan human rights activists and public leaders, and that of the Board of Directors of the American Non-governmental Nonprofit Human Rights Organization "Union of Councils"
The aim seems to be as much about propaganda as about human rights.
...the US embassy in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, warned that the government's handling of any appeal would attract "intense international scrutiny" because of Zhovtis's prominence in the "international human rights community" and because of Kazakhstan's OSCE chairmanship.( Tisdall )
What is not mentioned is that the OSCE is one of the donors to Zhovtis' bureau and so it is not surprising that Tisdall can pass on the message that,
All the same, collective action by the 56-country organisation to deny the OSCE chair to Kazakhstan is considered extremely unlikely.There is one easily grasped reason why: it would upset Nazarbayev, who sits astride 4bn tons of proven recoverable oil reserves and 3tn cubic metres of gas. If crossed, he might just decide to sell it to China
The OSCE would never do anything to jeopardise control over the oil, gas and pipeline's, even if it means overlooking rigged elections in places like Georgia where Saakashvili positively exceeded expectations and got 97% in 2004.
Moreover, Aliev in Azerbaijan got a similar figure to Nazarbayev, though slightly higher, and was invited to join the international community just in time for Zbigniew Brzezinski to fly in and negotiate the BTC pipeline deal in 1995.
The West will keep up pressure on human rights because there is no reason for them not to do so where it can be used to undermine regimes that are not wholly compliant to its quest for energy security.
One that does not even gain results even when it succeeds in bringing nations like Kosovo into the Western NATO protected fold. After all, who knows that Nazarbayev's best friend Alexander Mashkevich is also close to the West.
So close that Mashkevich's London based firm Alferon Management profited from a corrupt sell off of the Ferronkelli Complex nickel mines in Kosovo under the auspices of the comically entitled Kosovo Trust Agency.
Deputy Special Representative of the the United Nations Secretary General ( DSRSG ) Joachim Ruecker opined,
The successful and harmonious conclusion of the privatisation of Ferronikeli will send a very strong signal to international investors that Kosovo is a stable and mature society, which welcomes international investment and partnership.”
In an age of cynicism and pathological greed for diminishing resources and the corruption that breeds even within the UN's myriad organisations, all human rights agendas need to be scrutinised carefully has to take notice of the extent to which they are manipulated.
This needs to be done most of all precisely by those who really care about human rights-as opposed to those who regard them as a powerful tool to advance the interests of huge corporations and ethnic nationalists who do their bidding.
Though the condition of ordinary people in Kazakhstan is miserly compared to the kleptocracy, the GDP per head is $11,500 (2008 est.) whilst in Kosovo, run for a decade by ex-KLA mafioso and UNMIk it's $2,300 (2007 est.)