ASSEMBLY IS THE GUARDIAN OF PEACE AND ACCORD

Zhanseit Tuimebayev, Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, Head of the Secretariat of APK of the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, tells about the results of the Assembly's activities and further plans.

The XXVII session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan was held with the agenda: "Formula of peace and accord: unity and modernization".

Following the results of this event it is important to comprehend once again the Kazakhstani model of public consent and national unity, which originated with the First President of Kazakhstan - Yelbasy N.A. Nazarbayev.

Varied background

For multi-ethnic Kazakhstan, ensuring stability and inter-ethnic accord has become one of the important priorities of state policy and a basic condition for socio-economic and political reforms.

Many people remember how at the dawn of independence authoritative international experts predicted that Kazakhstan would break up due to ethnic and religious conflicts. But these pessimistic forecasts did not come true.  

The political will of the First President of Kazakhstan, Yelbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, was aimed at ensuring the unity of the people. The practical implementation of this policy was reflected in the Kazakhstani model of social accord and national unity, which received international recognition.

Firstly, the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan contains exhaustive norms regulating the sphere of interethnic and inter-confessional relations. It begins with the words "We, the people of Kazakhstan", which initially laid the foundation for the idea of the community of all citizens of the country. At the same time, we do not apply the concept of national minorities. We are united, and do not divide into bigger and smaller ones.

Article 1 of the Basic Law proclaims one of the fundamental principles of the Republic of Kazakhstan's activity as public consent. The equality of rights and freedoms of all citizens regardless of their ethnicity is enshrined.

Article 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, paragraph 2, contains a norm according to which "any actions that may violate interethnic and inter-confessional consent shall be declared unconstitutional".

Secondly, the state consistently guarantees stability in the sphere of interethnic relations by implementing a well thought-out strategy of national policy.

This is evidenced by the fact that during the 26 years of independence, amendments to the Constitution and the Law on the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan have been adopted twice only on issues directly related to the work of the APK. More than 10 Presidential Decrees had been issued. APK’s strategy for the medium term (up to 2011) has been implemented and the Concept of Development of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan up to 2025 has been adopted.

In addition, a plan for the formation of a State identity and a programme to improve Kazakhstan's model of inter-ethnic and interreligious accord for the period 2006-2008 and other documents have been developed and implemented.

In other words, the issues of interethnic accord are in the spotlight of the state and society. Thanks to this, Kazakhstan has found one of the most balanced and effective systems for ensuring peace and accord.

Thirdly, thanks to the political will of Yelbassy, real institutional mechanisms of civil equality, regardless of ethnicity and religion, have been created and are being consistently improved.

The key institution is the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, established in 1995 as an advisory and consultative body. The idea of its formation was voiced by N.A. Nazarbayev at the 1st Forum of the People of Kazakhstan in 1992.

The 2007 constitutional reform consolidated the Assembly as an institution with constitutional status.

The Assembly was guaranteed parliamentary representation and the nine deputies elected by it to the Mazhilis had become representatives of all the interests of Kazakhstan's ethnic groups. In the current Mazhilis, there was a 31-member parliamentary group of the APK, which included representatives of all parties represented in Parliament. Similar groups had been established in the regional maslikhats.

In October 2008, the Law "On the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan" was adopted, which ensured the legal regulation of its activities and the unity of the institutional vertical in the centre and regions.

Fourth, since its establishment, the ANC has formed and united a serious public infrastructure under its wing.

Today, under the aegis of the Assembly, there are 1,025 ethno-cultural associations (ECA), including 28 republican ones. ECA asset is 348,000 people. As multifunctional resource centers of the Assembly there are 40 Friendship Houses, and in Almaty - the Republican House of Friendship.

A lot has been done in different directions

In 2009, on behalf ofYelbasy, the Scientific and Expert Council of APK (NES APK) was established. It consists of 52 scientists, heads of research institutes and public figures. Scientific and expert groups have been established in all regions and 300 scientists and experts have been involved in their activities. The scientific bases for these groups are regional universities.

Association of Chairs of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan has been established. There are 42 chairs of the APK center in the leading higher education institutions of the country and colleges that provide education of youth in the spirit of ethnopolitics pursued by the state. In all regions, under the aegis of the Assembly, 3,014 Public Consent Councils and 1,753 Mothers' Councils have been established at the oblast, city, district and village levels, as well as in the collectives of large enterprises. They are actively involved in solving urgent problems of the population at the local level, including in the field of conflict prevention.

One of the activities of the APK is the development of mediation in the field of public consent. The inclusive network includes 1 republican and 32 regional councils, as well as 628 mediation offices. The number of APK mediators is 863.

The Assembly promotes the development of charity. An annual national campaign and the "Caravan of Mercy" forum for charitable organizations and donors are held.

In 2018, more than 17,000 charitable events were held across the country, and more than 400,000 people received assistance for a total of about 10.4 billion tenge.

In 2017, Zhomart Zhan breastplate was established for achievements in the development of patronage and charity activities. In 2017-18, the badge was awarded to 78 patrons of art.

In 2011, Assembly of People of Kazakhstan’s Entrepreneurs Association was established. It has representative offices in all regions of the country. The Association's activities are aimed at supporting business projects, attracting and introducing innovations, new technologies, investments, and consolidation of business circles.

There are republican and regional clubs of journalists of APK. They include representatives of the republican mass media, bloggers and experts in the sphere of interethnic relations. Since 2017, an updated multifunctional web portal of the Assembly - assembly.kz has been in operation.

In March 2018, Republican Youth Movement of APK "Zhangyru Zholy" was established. Its regional headquarters have been set up in all regions, bringing together 135 youth wings of ethno-cultural associations and more than 22,000 people.

Evolution is there.

Fifth, conditions have been created for the development of culture, languages and traditions of ethnic groups.

National theatres operate: Uighur, Korean, German and Uzbek. The first three in 2017 received the status of academic theatres.

Fifty-two ethno-cultural associations have been registered in the country. The largest national newspapers are supported by the State. A state social order is given to support the development of culture, traditions and languages of Kazakhstani ethnic groups. Thus, Kazakhstan has established an effective political, legal and institutional and administrative system to ensure inter-ethnic harmony.

Today, inter-ethnic relations in the country remain stable. According to sociological monitoring data, they are assessed as safe and quiet by about 93 per cent of respondents, and the level of support for public policy in this area is also about 93 per cent. The feeling of belonging to the same people of Kazakhstan is expressed by 97.0% of respondents.

This proves that our ethnic groups, largely thanks to the Assembly, have learned to consider any issue not from the standpoint of their ethnicity, but from the standpoint of the entire state and society.

At the present stage, the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan has concentrated its work on the involvement of ethnic minorities in the processes of modernization, the solution of national problems.

In this context, the law on the Assembly was amended and supplemented in April 2018 to strengthen its institutional framework. At the beginning of this year, the updated Concept of Development of APK (until 2025) was adopted, which reflects the objectives of modernization of public consciousness and social policy. In general, over the years of independence, the Assembly has made a great evolution from an advisory and consultative body to an institution with constitutional status.

At the crucial stages of the country's recent history, the Assembly has always played a stabilizing and consolidating role.

The sessions of the APK addressed important issues, including the referendum on the adoption of the new Constitution, institutional reforms, programs of social and spiritual modernization.

At the same time, the Assembly became one of the developed segments of civil society, covering a wide range of population groups.

At the new stage of state building, the principle of "peace and harmony" as one of the most important political and constitutional constants increases in importance.

There is a bunch of plans

The socio-political role of the Assembly increases, reflecting the full range of directions and vectors of integration of the people of Kazakhstan.

Firstly, the Assembly's social significance in the context of the formation of a national model of social well-being is increasing.

First of all, it concerns the development of charity and mediation as instruments that create prerequisites for the evolutionary, not revolutionary development of society.

In addition, the emphasis on the development of entrepreneurship in the ethnic environment and the use of economic cooperation with countries of historical origin of ethnic minorities is important.

Secondly, the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is becoming one of the drivers of the processes of modernization of public consciousness and involvement of all Kazakhstani ethnic groups in this process.

Thus realization of such projects as "Qazaqtanu", "Mamile", "Мyn bala" are called upon to provide further harmonization of cultural and language environment in the country, unity of common values, goals and objectives.

An important component of the processes of spiritual and cultural integration is the modernization of historical consciousness as the basis of unity consolidating for all ethnic minorities, the fundamental basis of our worldview, past, present and future people.

Third, the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan will remain one of the most important mechanisms for the formation of civil identity in the XXI century and its reproduction in each new generation of citizens of the country.

In the context of globalization, this is one of the conditions for maintaining sovereignty and independence, a factor of national security.   Thus, it is necessary to further strengthen the role of the Assembly in ensuring peace and harmony in society, the processes of comprehensive modernization, as well as active participation in the spiritual renewal of Kazakh society.

The session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan became an important social and political event with the participation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Yelbasy, Chairman of the APK Nursultan Nazarbayev and current President K.K.Tokayev. At the session new tasks were set before APK, called to provide further strengthening of public consent and national unity.

Therefore, we will have to work responsibly on the entire range of issues of ensuring national unity, continuity of Yelbasy's course on strengthening peace and accord.

Assembly of People of Kazakhstan has been, is and remains a unique institution of consolidation and integration, created on Nursultan Nazarbayev’s personal initiative. It was originally woven into the living fabric of public life and took a key position in it. It is not by chance that Yelbasy noted that the Assembly has become a true guardian of peace and harmony in our country.

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