26 march 2017

Central Asia news

Don't be interested, don't assemble, don’t disseminate. Ten excuses for penalty in Kazakhstan

Don't be interested, don't assemble, don’t disseminate. Ten excuses for penalty in Kazakhstan

13.03.2017 10:43 msk Human Rights Politics Kazakhstan

It seems like everything in authoritarian countries has been created and established to materialise the phantasies of George Orwell and Franz Kafka. At that, sheer number of various prohibitions and laws far exceeds the number of such countries, causing disbelief in normal and healthy societies. Sometimes these regimes adopt such bills and laws that are confusing and one may not easily understand what punishable acts are. More often than not parts of such laws are interpreted in ways that make no sense whatsoever. Kazakhstan is no exception.

Uzbekistan: Free Urlayeva from punitive psychiatry!

Uzbekistan: Free Urlayeva from punitive psychiatry!

10.03.2017 11:17 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Representatives of the US embassy and a number of international organisations were allowed to visit Yelana Urlayeva, the chairman of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU), in her hospital room. However, there is no clarity as to justifications for subjecting her to forced psychiatric treatment to date, the Tashkent-based rights advocate’s relatives told Fergana. The medical institution administration has not provided any information as to Ms Urlayeva’s arrest and forced treatment.

Between a rock and a hard place in Tajikistan: husbands demand wives wear head covers, gov’t demands removing

Between a rock and a hard place in Tajikistan: husbands demand wives wear head covers, gov’t demands removing

02.03.2017 19:26 msk Human Rights Religious life Tajikistan

The situation around satr, a locally used term for hijab, or headscarf, is becoming ever more controversial in Tajikistan. Only a few years the Tajik society was rather tolerant toward satr with the male part of it encouraging women to wear Islamic attire. But lately, mostly thanks to the Tajik authorities’ efforts, the society has gradually started espousing suspicious attitudes toward this Islamic piece of clothing. In the imagination of Tajik authorities, men sporting beards or women wearing headscarves are initial steps toward radicalisation and extremism. Even though Article 26 of the country’s constitution reads that “each person has the right to independently determine her/his religious preference, to practice any religion alone or in association with others or to practice no religion, and to participate in the performance of religious cults, rituals and ceremonies”, wearing satr is not openly welcomed by the authorities; doing so triggers persecutions in certain cases. That said, even those human rights advocates who used to make bold statements about human rights violations are remaining silent.

Uzbekistan: Whistleblower Businessman Ends Up Behind Bars

Uzbekistan: Whistleblower Businessman Ends Up Behind Bars

16.02.2017 22:32 msk Human Rights Business Uzbekistan

Things are going from bad to worse for Uzbekistan’s anticorruption whistleblower with a court ordering his confinement to a pretrial detention facility pending criminal hearings into corruption. Olim Sulaimanov, who came to prominence last year after posting a video online alleging he had been harassed for bribes by tax officials, appeared in Mirzo Ulugbek district court in Tashkent on February 15 following a surprise summons from investigators earlier this month.

Uzbekistan: Mahalla—why does the president and society need it?

Uzbekistan: Mahalla—why does the president and society need it?

13.02.2017 00:02 msk Human Rights Business Politics Uzbekistan

The latest decree the Uzbek head of state directs the society toward “improving the place and role of self-governance by citizens in society, turn them into local bodies engaged in providing realistic assistance and cooperation to the people.” the decree also provides for renovating mahalla committee buildings and paying pension benefits to the committee leaderships in full and in a timely manner. The national council for coordinating mahallas is now granted the status of a legal entity in the form of an association of citizens assemblies. Prime Minister of Uzbekistan is appointed the head of the national council. His first deputy’s rank is elevated to the status of a minister, who will be in charge of household matters, medical and transpiration services; the chairman’s deputy’s rank is elevated to the status of a deputy minister.

Human trafficking and IS followers in Central Asia

Human trafficking and IS followers in Central Asia

31.01.2017 09:21 msk Human Rights Politics Migration Central Asia Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkey, Republic of Uzbekistan

Neo-patrimonial regimes have been established in Central Asian countries following the implosion of the Soviet Union. The new elites divided entire economies and “sweet-spot” government positions between “bosses” and their “vassals.” Meanwhile, the rest of the society, who are excluded from such networks, has no chances to secure good jobs, to peacefully and beneficially conduct business and remains impoverished. Such systems of management create fertile grounds for booming human trafficking and joining the ranks of IS, Kazakh political scientist Talgat Mamyrayymov says in the article he authored below.

Verdict in Kyrgyzstan: Highest level of hypocrisy

Verdict in Kyrgyzstan: Highest level of hypocrisy

26.01.2017 12:14 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Today’s editorial covers the event of the day in Kyrgyzstan—a Bishkek court ruled to leave Azimjan Askarov’s life-long imprisonment verdict in force. Why was the journalist and human rights activist was tried in the first place? Chief Editor Daniil Kislov is certain that his colleague and friend was imprisoned for his courageous work, for criticism and the truth the court refused to acknowledge. It is such truth that the Kyrgyz government and society are still unprepared to face.

Kyrgyz court leaves life imprisonment verdict in Askarov case in force

Kyrgyz court leaves life imprisonment verdict in Askarov case in force

24.01.2017 22:54 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Early on January 24, a verdict was issued in the case of Azimjan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek, journalist and human rights advocate, who was arrested during the bloody events in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Mr Askarov was accused of organising mass disorders and killing of a police officer. Appellate courts of all levels in Kyrgyzstan upheld the verdict to life-long imprisonment and property confiscation. Four years later, the UN Committee for Human Rights Committee investigated into Mr Askarov’s case and adopted a decision that Mr Askarov was arrested illegally and must therefore be freed. In July 2016, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan, instead of implementing the UN Committee’s recommendations, has directed lower courts to retry the case.

Tajik-Afghan borders in photos: What lies on the other side of Panj River?

Tajik-Afghan borders in photos: What lies on the other side of Panj River?

20.01.2017 15:09 msk Analytics Politics Central Asia Afghanistan Tajikistan

Politicians and experts have long been expressing concerns regarding the situation on the Afghan side of the border near Tajikistan. The length of the border the two countries share is 1,344km, of which 920km are the Gorno-Badakhshan section while the remaining over 424km are the Khatlon Region of Tajikistan. The latter section is the one that causes most concern in terms of attempts to violate the state border from the Afghan side to contraband illicit drugs. The situation in the southern ends of Gorno-Badakhsan Autonomous Region, known by is Russian abbreviation, GBAO, is relative stable. However, according to experts, there is a risk that the situation could deteriorate.

High and Dry: Central Asia’s Failure to Avert the Impending Water Crisis

High and Dry: Central Asia’s Failure to Avert the Impending Water Crisis

18.01.2017 10:09 msk Analytics Business Politics Cotton Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The Harvard International Review's January 2017 edition includes an academic article on problems with water supply in Central Asia. The article author Alisher Ilkhamov is a Research Associate at the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. According to Mr Ilkhamov, the worsening international relations in the region are the main source of water-related problems in post-Soviet Central Asia.

Uzbek, Chinese archaeologists jointly excavate ancient capital of Fergana

Uzbek, Chinese archaeologists jointly excavate ancient capital of Fergana

16.01.2017 13:20 msk Ferghana Valley Business Politics Interview Central Asia China Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

“Chinese and Uzbek archaeologists rewrite the history of an ancient city.” China’s Xinhua news agency carried a report under this title on January 11, 2017, which cites a forum on archaeology of the Academy of Public Sciences of China. According to the report, a group of archaeologists from China and Uzbekistan has made a significant discovery while excavating the ruins of the ancient town of Mingtepa (which the report erroneously calls Minggepa) in the southeast of the Fergana Valley. The news was instantaneously reposted by almost every single website in Uzbekistan.

“Gratuitous utilisation”: How China is actively bringing the Tajik parts of Pamir under its influence

“Gratuitous utilisation”: How China is actively bringing the Tajik parts of Pamir under its influence

28.12.2016 04:27 msk Analytics Business Politics Central Asia China Kyrgyzstan

The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) of Tajikistan, also known as Pamir—a namesake of mountains, occupies about 40 per cent of Tajikistan’s territory, i.e. about 63,700 sq. km. The region borders on Kyrgyzstan in the north, China in the east and Afghanistan in the south. The Pamir mountains are known for their wealth of natural resources, hence the interest of many countries in it with China, Tajikistan’s immediate neighbour, being the first in line.

Turkmenistan: Repressing Gulen supporters to cajole Erdogan?

Turkmenistan: Repressing Gulen supporters to cajole Erdogan?

20.12.2016 11:15 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Turkmenistan Turkey, Republic of

Repressions are underway in Turkmenistan against former teachers and graduates of Turkish education institutions. They are accused of having communications with bodies and structures of an organisation allegedly under the Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen’s influence. According to sources of Fergana, up to 90 per cent of former teachers at Turkish-Turkmen lyceums were questioned throughout the country. According to officers of state security agencies, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, sophisticated tortures are applied to the detainees with no warrants or reasons to do so; certain detentions and tortures resulted in the death of inmates.

Poet to new Uzbek president: Let’s experiment!

Poet to new Uzbek president: Let’s experiment!

07.12.2016 09:27 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

“Dear Shavkat Miromonovich! I am addressing you in your capacity of a private individual, who has ended up in a complicated situation, which can be resolved in a dignifying manner. I believe that you are able to solve this problem independently. However, since the only source of power in the Republic—as the Constitution reads—is the people, I also firmly believe any form of INTERACTION—shall we say, in the form of an open letter like the one you are reading now—would make sense. I also firmly believe in the power of printed word.”

Apricot pits or Why was Yekaterina Sajneva deported from Uzbekistan

Apricot pits or Why was Yekaterina Sajneva deported from Uzbekistan

01.12.2016 10:39 msk Human Rights Politics Interview Russia Uzbekistan

A plane Russian citizen Yekaterian Sajneva was in landed in Uzbekistan on November 27. Ms Sajneva is a journalist for the Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, who has been in Uzbekistan several times. But this time Yekaterina was travelling in Uzbekistan for personal reasons. She was detained on the third day of her visit and deported several hours thereafter back to Russia “for violating the rules of sojourn.” Yekaterina told the details of how everything unfolded in an interview with Fergana Chief Editor Daniil Kislov.

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