29 may 2015

Central Asia news

“Revolution foreboding” and mass detention of foreigners in Kyrgyz south

“Revolution foreboding” and mass detention of foreigners in Kyrgyz south

18.05.2015 09:40 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Religious life Kyrgyzstan

Over the last two weeks, the city of Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan has been plagued by rumours about an imminent “revolution” or an “interethnic conflict.” Nobody knows who is disseminating them and what goals the initiators of this fear campaign are pursuing.

Kyrgyzstan: Life-long convict Azimjan Askarov reports poor health, thanks friends

Kyrgyzstan: Life-long convict Azimjan Askarov reports poor health, thanks friends

16.05.2015 17:13 msk Human Rights Central Asia Kyrgyzstan

On the eve of his 64th birthday anniversary, human rights activist Azimjan Askarov wrote a letter of gratitude addressed to all those who supported and continue supporting him—friends, co-workers, international organizations and private entities. “Over just two months of the new year of 2015, I have received some 1 500 letters from the five continents of Earth. Last year, I received drawings by 10-12 year old schoolchildren from Stockholm. They provided me with spiritual support by the means of such short letters. This year, I have received letters from Jamey, 4, Svetlana’s son, and Peter, 75, and his wife Tuha, 74, from England,” Azimjan Askarov writes. “The authors wish me soonest release, peace and tranquillity. They write that I need to know that I am not alone and a big number of my friends think of me every hour, every day. They wish me strength and restoration of justice in my case. They write that they pray for my soonest release and that they astonished with my courage. I am limitlessly thankful to the authors of these numerous letters for all the care and support they express. I am very sorry I do not have the opportunity to write to each and every one of these wonderful people with great hearts”.

Ivar Dale: Denial’s bloody anniversary

Ivar Dale: Denial’s bloody anniversary

13.05.2015 23:03 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Wednesday 13 May marks ten years since the massacre in Andizhan. Uzbek authorities claim that this is “a closed topic”. Totalitarian regimes decide a lot, but not this. The case is not closed until the victims’ families say so. Ten years have passed since an otherwise pleasant spring day in 2005. Those who have visited the Ferghana Valley around this time of year know exactly what sort of time it is – the thermometer has barely tipped 30, the markets are being filled up with fruits and vegs from the fields and even the smallest towns are abuzz with activity before sunrise. On such a day ten years ago, Uzbek police forces and military surrounded several thousand demonstrators in Andizhan, in the very east of the most populous country in Central Asia – and opened fire. Several hundred men, women and children died. Some say more than a thousand. Witness accounts from survivors who made it across the border to neighboring Kyrgyzstan had journalists and aid workers disturbed to the bone. Across the entire region, this 13 May remains a symbol of how badly things can go when one man gradually takes control of more than 30 million people and chooses to murder those who will not do or think as he pleases...

Ten Years after Uzbekistan’s Massacre, the Tragedy Continues to Unfold

Ten Years after Uzbekistan’s Massacre, the Tragedy Continues to Unfold

13.05.2015 20:50 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

May 13 marks the 10th anniversary of one of the bloodiest events in the history of modern Uzbekistan. On that day in 2005, thousands of Uzbek citizens took to Babur Square in the city of Andijan in protest. The demonstration was a reaction to the three-month trial of 23 entrepreneurs from the Andijan suburb of Bogi-Shamol who practiced the moderate teaching of self-taught theologian Akram Yuldashev. As part of their religious practice, the businessmen donated to various nonreligious charitable projects—including nurseries, orphanages, and sports activities—that went against the system of corruption that reigned, and still reigns, in Uzbekistan. During the course of their trial, the community rallied respectfully in support of the entrepreneurs.

Luggage packed, planes boarded—to Riga! A brief story of small and medium business in Uzbekistan

Luggage packed, planes boarded—to Riga! A brief story of small and medium business in Uzbekistan

28.04.2015 20:45 msk Human Rights Business Uzbekistan

The reality in Uzbekistan is that even launching a business starts with nearly insurmountable roadblocks and significant difficulties. For instance, a future businessman needs at least a month between the start of the registration process and an actual launch of the planned business. According to Fergana’s own sources in Tashkent, a business registration must take about 14 business days. However, each future company must acquire three permits and certificates, which take another 15-17 business days. In case an entrepreneur wishes to get involved in an activity that requires licencing, standardisation and certification, then obtaining one single licence will add another 17 business days on average to the registration process, while acquiring a confirmation of meeting a standard will add 10 more days and a certificate will require another six business days.

Crude Accountability: “Karachaganak:Children in Exchange for Oil”

23.04.2015 10:06 msk Human Rights Business Central Asia Kazakhstan


The film “Karachaganak:Children in Exchange for Oil” deals with tragedy that occurred in the Kazakh village of Berezovka on 28 November 2014. Emissions from the Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field have resulted in the mass poisoning children in the village. The situation in Berezovka is critical. The November tragedy has accelerated declining health among the children, who have felt the poisonous breath of Karachaganak for years. However, the authorities and the consortium “Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV” prefer to keep silent about the untenable situation of the village’s inhabitants and refuse to relocate them to an environmentally save place. Help to save the children of Berezovka! Demand that KPO and the government of Kazakhstan relocate the village of Berezovka! Source: Crude Accountability web-site

The Uzbek Cotton: The Government’s Riches, the People’s Curse

The Uzbek Cotton: The Government’s Riches, the People’s Curse

15.04.2015 11:17 msk Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

Children in Uzbekistan grow accustomed to thinking that cotton is the national treasure and the government needs help in harvesting this valuable commodity; otherwise there can be no salaries, pensions, and other social benefits. But the reality is completely different.

Turkey chooses a special path toward “domestic security”

Turkey chooses a special path toward “domestic security”

09.04.2015 23:41 msk Human Rights Politics Turkey, Republic of

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a bill on domestic security into law on April 3, which significantly expands powers of the police. Those of our readers who closely watched how the Turkish president pushed the bill down the MPs’ throats might be under an impression that heated debates and discussions took place. After all, there were fistfights in the parliament; televised debates with the participation of opposition parties, who were against the bill unanimously; a 5,000-strong rally of lawyers in Ankara; harsh criticism by the majority of leading Turkish journalists; and even a global protest launched by Freedom House and Human Rights Watch.

Uzbek rights advocate complains to OSCE over presidential election

Uzbek rights advocate complains to OSCE over presidential election

03.04.2015 09:44 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Shukhrat Rustamov, a Tashkent-based human rights activist, administered a self-styled “monitoring” of voting during the recent presidential elections in Uzbekistan on March 29. He has personally counted the number of voters that came to Polling Station No. 492 in Tashkent throughout the entire elections day. Mr Rustamov believes it was necessary to complain about the documented violations and lodge them not only with government arms, but also with head of the OSCE mission in Uzbekistan.

Elections 2015: Fear and indifference in Tashkent

Elections 2015: Fear and indifference in Tashkent

31.03.2015 12:09 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

“Everyone is voting for Karimov, our entire family,” says a clean-cut and round-faced storeowner in Tashkent’s Labzak district. “Another person will be thinking about himself for the next 20 years. But he [Karimov] does not think about himself, thinks about his people only.” The storeowner rearranges things on the counter and hides his cell phone in the pocket – just in case. “In our neighbourhood, in each household there are two cars—there is no more room in backyards, so they leave their cars on the street. And nobody will hijack those cars. Because they are afraid.” A visit to polling stations in Tashkent instantly refutes stereotype about Uzbeks’s indifference to politics. Voters flock incessantly to polling stations despite a chilling wind and an unexpected snowfall in Tashkent.

Pulat Ahunov: Headsprings of Uzbek autocracy

Pulat Ahunov: Headsprings of Uzbek autocracy

28.03.2015 22:09 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Russia Uzbekistan

Pulat Ahunov is an oppositionist from Uzbekistan, who is chairman of the Sweden-based Association Central Asia and the founder of the Foundation for Combatting Corruption in Uzbekistan. Mr. Ahunov shares his memories of meetings with Islam Karimov in late 1980s to mid-1990s.

Pre-electoral faceoff with death: The end of the Karimov era in Uzbekistan

Pre-electoral faceoff with death: The end of the Karimov era in Uzbekistan

10.03.2015 09:46 msk Analytics Politics Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan will hold next presidential elections on March 29. The incumbent president, Islam Karimov, will be running for the fourth time in row even if one would not count the two times he remained in office, having extended his term at two referenda. Most probably Karimov will win again. That said, this time around the victory will not come so easily as before, because he now faces a truly formidable opponent—his own frail health, which has already managed to knock him out of the electoral campaign and public life for about a month.

Murder in Istanbul: Political terror effective in CIS

Murder in Istanbul: Political terror effective in CIS

08.03.2015 11:28 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Central Asia Russia Tajikistan Turkey, Republic of

The killing of Tajik oppositionist Umarali Kuvvatov in Istanbul, Turkey, appears to be an extreme end of political terror against the opponents of the ruling regime in Tajikistan. Obviously Dushanbe will scramble to steer clear of the murder, claiming the late Mr. Kuvvatov’s death does not benefit the authorities there because it would actually be to its detriment. They have an example in Moscow to follow in this regard—the Kremlin made a similar statement after the late Mr. Nemtsov’s assassination a week ago.

Islam Karimov—President for life?

Islam Karimov—President for life?

17.02.2015 12:38 msk Analytics Politics Uzbekistan

Will the population of Uzbekistan again vote for Islam Karimov, who is again nominated for presidency in an apparent and brazen violation of the Constitution? Having analyzed the current situation in the country and the local population’s attitudes, a Tashkent-based observer arrives at the following conclusion: Yes, candidate Karimov will enjoy the electorates’ support again despite rampant corruption, lack of natural gas and electricity in homes, high unemployment, miserable salaries and pensions. Because Karimov’s stay in power is beneficial for quite a large part of the population.

Rashod Kamalov: A respected imam or “chief Islamist” in Kyrgyzstan?

Rashod Kamalov: A respected imam or “chief Islamist” in Kyrgyzstan?

13.02.2015 14:31 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Religious life Central Asia Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

Rashod Kamolov, a relatively young but very popular and respected imam, was arrested in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Kamolov is the son of a local influential theologian, who was assassinated by secret services during former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s term in office eight years ago. The current Kyrgyz authorities claim that they collected solid evidences that Mr. Rashod Kamalov recruited and sent people to participate in the civil war in Syria, by making such propaganda that allegedly made his parish think like “zombies.” Meanwhile, Mr. Kamalov’s lawyers maintain their client’s innocence and police actions’ illegality. It is difficult to make sense in this story, but one thing is certain: Law-enforcement and judicial bodies continue completely forgetting about human rights and respect for appropriate procedures in their chase for success in “combating extremism.”

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