ITUC // Trade Union Development Projects Directory

For trade unions, development cooperation is a part of our commitment to fight poverty, promote sustainable social development and improve working and living conditions for all.


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Kazakhstan Workers’ Rights

duration: 1 year 11 months 26 days (From 5 August 2019 to 30 July 2021)
budget: not communicated

Objective 1:Build capacity of independent labor organizations and labor rights advocates to monitor and document labor rights abuses and increase awareness of international labor rights standards

Objective 2:Build capacity of independent labor organizations and labor rights advocates to protect worker rights and engage international mechanisms to bring Kazakhstani laws into compliance with international labor standards

Objective 3: Facilitate meaningful policy dialogue and constructive engagement between government representatives and independent worker rights advocates, civil society actors and international actors about protection of worker rights and reforms required to bring Kazakhstani law into compliance with international standards.

The Solidarity Center (SC) proposes a 2-year program entitled “Kazakhstan Workers’ Rights.” The program will work in Kazakhstan with the overall goal to promote freedom of association, improve labor rights protections, and support independent labor organizations and labor unions in Kazakhstan to exercise and defend their rights.

Kazakhstan presents a difficult environment for SC and its partners to operate. Aggressive anti-union actions have increased over the past eight years and the country’s independent trade union body, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (KNPRK) remains closed with its leaders jailed or unable to work freely due to threats of further prosecution. With unions under threat, the SC’s approach recognizes that other civil society actors must be identified and enabled to promote worker rights. The SC has chosen to partner for this project with two non-governmental organizations that support independent unions, have provided legal and advocacy support for the KNPRK and have long-term partnerships with SC and each other through the Central Asia Labor Rights Monitoring Mission.
The program seeks to build upon the successes and lessons learned from the Mission, which maintains a database of labor rights violations in five Central Asian countries. This tool is designed to improve access to justice by providing activists from unions and allies in civil society with an accessible format for documenting and reporting labor rights violations aligned to the ILO convention being violated.
The project will establish and support a network of monitors in Kazakhstan to document violations of international labor standards in Kazakhstan and use the information collected to facilitate meaningful dialogue between the government of Kazakhstan (GoK) and civil society about Kazakhstan’s compliance with international standards.
Project activities are scaffolded to build toward the overall goal of increasing partner capacity to engage in policy advocacy around application of international labor rights standards in Kazakhstan. The project will: 1) Train and equip monitors to document labor rights violations and upload that information into a standardized database for assessment and analysis; 2) train and equip lawyers to analyze the collected data for use in policy position papers and submissions to international bodies, as well as provide legal support for workers themselves; and 3) use the tools developed under the first two objectives to develop strategies and opportunities for partners to engage the GoK on standards compliance.
The proposed project will provide space for civil society partners, with the new information and skills developed over the course of the project, to unite with international actors to press the GoK toward compliance in an innovative way that hasn’t been tried to date.