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Elena Semenova

Elena Semenova

HRD, Chairperson
Public Monitoring Commission

Elena Semenova is a human rights defender and Chairperson of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) in the Pavlodar region of Kazakstan, as well as the Head of the public association Leave the People Their Housing. She is also a member and one of the initiators of the Relatives Against Torture movement. Pavlodar PMC is actively involved in the monitoring of prison conditions and has helped to document cases of torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and to bring them to the attention of the authorities. Relatives Against Torture movement provides a platform for visibility of ill-treatment and torture in prisons. Leave the People Their Housing is an organisation that campaigns, litigates and advocates for the housing and property rights of individuals who have lost their homes and lands due to forced evictions.


Human rights defenders in Kazakhstan are particularly active on legal and penal reform, social rights, freedom of expression, and ethnic minorities’ rights as well as democratisation. Unlike other central Asian countries, instances of direct targeting of critical media and influential NGOs are limited. Repression against human rights defenders often takes the form of economic and legislative obstacles, which are effective in hindering their work and more difficult to challenge.