Yevgeniy Zhovtis is a Kazakh human rights defender and director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law. After graduating as a mining engineer, he became vice president of the Independent Trade Union of Kazakhstan and represented the interests of miners, who worked under often inhumane conditions. He also became a member of the executive board of the Civic Organisation Memorial, working for public awareness of human rights and democratic values under the repressive conditions in the USSR. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and independence for Kazakhstan in 1991, Zhovtis continued working for human rights and qualified as a lawyer to help that work. In 1992, with the support of the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, he founded the Kazakhstan American Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law.