Human rights - Kazakhstan

Human rights

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Promoting and protecting human rights worldwide is a priority in the foreign policy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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Deputy Head of the Mission Nout van Woudenberg with participants of Capstone project.

Human Rights Priorities

Freedom of expression and internet freedom, with a focus on:

  • Increased access to information, through a free, open and secure Internet
  • Enhanced safety of journalists worldwide, with a particular focus on female journalists
  • Press freedom, including a diverse and open media landscape

Equal rights for women and girls, with a focus on:

  • Decreased occurrence of all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private life
  • Strengthened women’s voice, agency, leadership and representative participation in decision-making processes in public, private and civic sphere
  • Reinforced women’s economic rights and empowerment and female entrepreneurship encourage
  • Women’s and girls’ rights protected in crisis and conflict situations and women’s meaningful participation and leadership in peace- and state-building promoted

NB Equal rights for women and girls is a cross-cutting theme and should, preferably, be integrated in all project proposals

Equal rights for LGBTI people, with a focus on:

  • Decreased criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide
  • Decreased occurrence of violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Increased levels of social acceptance of LGBTI people

Human rights defenders (HRDs) and space for civil society, with a focus on:

  • Increased (holistic) security of human rights defenders and CSO’s, with specific attention for women HRDs and the most vulnerable groups of HRDs such as land and environmental defenders and indigenous groups
  • Enhanced legitimacy for human rights defenders at the local, national and international level
  • Addressing shrinking civic space and influence norms and decision-making

Freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), with a focus on:

  • Decreased FoRB-based persecution and discrimination, including for non-religious groups
  • (Religious) communities and faith based actors are more tolerant and inclusive

International accountability for the most serious crimes, with a focus on:

  • Reduced impunity for the most serious crimes, i.e. war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, notably through prosecution and convictions
  • Inclusive engagement with victims and survivor groups to help them achieve (criminal) justice for international crimes, either in national, regional or international justice procedures
  • Maintained or enhanced independence and effectiveness of international justice institutions


Human Rights Fund

Please note the following rules before sending a project proposal.

  • Projects must be in line with at least one of the six priorities. Projects combining two or more priority themes are preferred.
  • Projects should be sustainable, have feasible, realistic goals and focus on clearly defined results.
  • There are no minimum or maximum amounts for financial support (within the limits of the delegated annual budget of EUR 475.000).
  • Only non-governmental organizations are eligible for funding. Projects implemented by a consortium of NGOs are welcomed (cooperation between multiple NGOs creates a multiplier effect).
  • The minimum duration of a project is two years, maximum – four years.
  • A human rights based approach should guide all stages of the project cycle. This means that the goal of the project should contribute to the realization of human rights, in line with country-specific recommendations issued by regional human rights bodies and UN Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, and in the framework of Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Human rights principles such as participation, non-discrimination and accountability should guide all stages of the project cycle (analysis, design, implementation, M&E). The projects’ outcome aim to strengthen the capacities of individuals and groups (rights holders) so that they can claim their legitimate entitlements and/or government at all levels (duty bearers) so that they can comply with their human rights obligations.
  • No deadlines are set for applications. Proposals can be sent on an ongoing basis. As an initial step, a concept note should be sent - 2 pages max, outlining very briefly background and justification, theory of change, goal, intended outcomes/results, activities, risks as well as an estimated budget (ballpark figure) and intended timeframe/project duration. Please use the following template (concept-note-template-for-human-rights-projects) to prepare your concept note. You can send your inquiries and concept notes to Ms. Amina Kussainova or call +7 7172 555 454.
  • The Embassy welcomes innovative approaches and new partnerships as well as projects reaching out to the regions, shifting the focus from the usual centers of civil society activity and covering Kazakh/Kyrgyz/Tajik speaking groups and audiences.
  • Projects are selected for funding until the annual budget of EUR 475.000 is exhausted. Approximately, 70% of the annual budget is spent for projects in Kazakhstan, 20% in Kyrgyzstan and 10% in Tajikistan.


Human Rights Capstone Project in 3 regions of Kazakhstan (Shymkent, Oral, Oskemen) implemented by Penal Reform International from June 2018 to June 2021: Improving human rights education in Kazakhstan by supporting law students in writing capstone projects on human rights topics. 

WikiGap: Kazakh women implemented by MobyDev from Sep 2019 – Mar 2020: Addressing the gender equality gap on the Internet by increasing the number of articles written by women, about Kazakh women on Wikipedia. 

Human Rights Hub implemented by Public Foundation Wings of Liberty from Aug 2021 – Jul 2025: Safe space for human rights advocates/activists and human rights training center.

Women’s rights NGOs Training Programme implemented by Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia from Aug 2021 – Jul 2025: A capacity building mentorship programme for women’s NGOs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Astana cooperates with other diplomatic missions to mark the International Women’s Day on 8 March, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, International Human Rights Day on 10 December and other important days on the human rights calendar on annual basis.