10 february 2016

Central Asia news

Uzbek expert criticizes World Bank over monitoring of forced labour

Uzbek expert criticizes World Bank over monitoring of forced labour

09.12.2015 19:06 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

In late November, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the World Bank published the monitoring results of the use of child and forced labour during the cotton harvest in 2015 in Uzbekistan. The experts of the ILO, as the report says, «could not find conclusive evidence which can prove child or forced labour was used during the cotton harvest season in 2015 in Uzbekistan».

Kyrgyz education ministry wants to close a special kindergarten for special children

Kyrgyz education ministry wants to close a special kindergarten for special children

30.11.2015 09:22 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

The only private kindergarten that provides an inclusive form of education in Kyrgyzstan, based in the capital Bishkek, is on the verge of being shut down. Both typical children and those with the Down syndrome attend the kindergarten. The authorities claim an unfortunate accident last month—a child broke a leg—warrants the closure. No criminal probe has been launched due to “lack of evidence.” But an avalanche of inspections was launched nonetheless. Albeit only unofficially, a warning was issued, “We will revoke your license.”

Uzbek rights advocate in need of rights advocate

Uzbek rights advocate in need of rights advocate

24.11.2015 22:49 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

When Uzbekistan has finally released well-known politician Murad Jurayev, who spent 21 years behind bars, very few naively thought the move was an indication of the Islam Karimov regime’s weakening after a quarter-century state-sponsored elimination of its critics and opponents. Only several days later following the joyful event of Mr Jurayev’s freedom, yet another sad event occurred: human rights advocate Uktam Pardayev has been arrested in Jizzakh. The defender of human rights faces the traditional accusations of “extortion” and “fraud”. But what has this man actually done to cause ire of the Uzbek authorities?

Taalatbek Masadykov: “Radical religious views can quite realistically fracture Afghanistan”

Taalatbek Masadykov: “Radical religious views can quite realistically fracture Afghanistan”

19.11.2015 15:44 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan

Taalatbek Masadykov, the former political director of the UN Special Political Mission to Afghanistan in 2002-2014, has had a conversation with Central Asia expert Arkadiy Dubnov to discuss the current events in Afghanistan and whether Taliban or IS could or should be negotiated with. They also discussed the parties interested in the continuation of war in Afghanistan; the current and past Afghan presidents; IS’s funding sources; the Pashtos and the ethnic composition of Afghanistan; and threats Central Asia is facing currently.

Political prisoner released in Uzbekistan after 21 years, Sec Kerry visit

12.11.2015 18:49 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Jurayev


Murad Jurayev, a well-known Uzbekistani oppositional political prisoner, has been released from prison on November 12. Mr Jurayev was accused of entering “criminal conspiracy” with Muhammad Salih, the leader of the Erk opposition party. According to the Uzbek authorities, Messrs Salih and Jurayev wanted to organise a violent seizure of power.

Uzbek rights advocates able to meet political prisoner

12.11.2015 01:51 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Activists of the Ezgulik human rights advocacy society visited November 10 Murad Jurayev in prison. Mr Jurayev is a former MP and ex-mayor of a city in Kashkadarya Region (Uzbekistan), who has been imprisoned for over two decades.

Reflections on Islam Karimov’s image

04.11.2015 02:15 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan



This fatigued man is well into his seventh decade. He was a boss of this or that kind more than half of his life. For a quarter-century he was under the rule of the despised others in Soviet times, and he has been Boss No. 1 in an independent country for almost the same number of years. At this time, only God is above him, as the saying goes.

Fire destroys Uzbek rights advocate’s house, computers; items missing (+photo, video)

Fire destroys Uzbek rights advocate’s house, computers; items missing (+photo, video)

02.11.2015 20:57 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Fire broke out in the house of Dmitriy Tikhonov, a journalist and rights advocate, and destroyed part of the house and property in the town of Yangiabad 15km from the city of Angren in Tashkent Region on October. The cause of fire is unknown at this time. The house owner learnt about the fire only on October 26, because he left Angren for some time after learning on September 30 he was under surveillance.

“He is weeping quietly in the desert…” The first collection of modern Turkmen literature released

“He is weeping quietly in the desert…” The first collection of modern Turkmen literature released

02.11.2015 17:04 msk Books Analytics Interview Turkmenistan

The Swedish publishing house “Gun” has issued the first collection of uncensored modern Turkmen prose and poetry in twenty years. There are twelve authors, two of whom published their writings solely in the Russian language whereas the rest are in both Russian and Turkmen. The collection entitled “By the ravine… Behind the houses in the back” was edited for publication by the literary association “Turkmen dany atar!” (“The Turkmen dawn will come!”). Farid Tukhbatullin, the head of the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and editor-in-chief of the website “Chronicles of Turkmenistan”, is one of the project leaders.

Uzbekistan: Cotton slaves picked sells well, as usual…

Uzbekistan: Cotton slaves picked sells well, as usual…

22.10.2015 13:31 msk Human Rights Business Cotton Uzbekistan

According to many employees of state-funded institutions, who have been forcefully sent to cotton fields in Uzbekistan, they manually collected the entire harvest of cotton this year. They report seeing not even one cotton-picking machine throughout the whole period of their work on the fields. Meanwhile, the official mass media are tirelessly reporting on grandiose achievements in the Uzbek economy’s cotton sector. But are falling short to mention these achievements have been secured thanks to almost free-of-charge slave labour.

Vote or die: Who benefits from blasts in Turkey

Vote or die: Who benefits from blasts in Turkey

16.10.2015 10:35 msk Politics Turkey, Republic of

The intense explosions that rocked Ankara on October 10 caused the deaths of some 100 individuals and wounds of scores. A rally for peace organised by trade unions and leftist organisations, including Kurdish ones, ended in a bloody mess. The Turkish authorities, undoubtedly, will attempt to lay the blame squarely on the Kurds and IS (a so-called “Islamic State”). But doing so will be not be easy, since there is no single compelling proof for the claim. The IS is maintaining de-facto neutrality with Turkey and able to sell oil thanks to Turkey only. Further, Turkey is one of the major corridors through which the IS obtains weapons and new recruits as cannon fodder. All that the IS was able to come up with was “We are happy the communists got blown up.”

Uzbek currency drops to 5k per dollar on “black market”

Uzbek currency drops to 5k per dollar on “black market”

15.10.2015 10:51 msk Analytics Business Politics Uzbekistan

Another important “threshold” has been passed in the Uzbek currency market: the US dollar now trades at over 5,000 soums. Illegal currency converters on the market are purchasing the US dollar at 4,950 soums and selling at 5,030. Thus, the value of the Uzbek national currency dropped 45.7% since the beginning of this year.

Kyrgyz court hands five-year sentence to imam prominent in south

Kyrgyz court hands five-year sentence to imam prominent in south

12.10.2015 10:47 msk Human Rights Religious life Kyrgyzstan

The Kara-Suu District Court in Osh Region completed a trial of the case of Rashod Kamalov, a popular imam at the As-Sarakhsi mosque, on October 7. Mr Kamalov is charged with three crimes, each of which fell under two articles in the Kyrgyz crime code: inciting religious animosity, abuse of power, and distributing extremist materials during mass events. “The judge found Rashod Kamalov guilty in accordance with two articles of the country’s crime code: Article 299 and Part 1 of Article 299, and sentenced him to five years of imprisonment in a penal colony,” Valeryan Vakhitov, Mr Kamalov’s lawyer, has told Fergana.

Kyrgyzstan breaking free from dependence on the Uzbek gas, unless hindered

Kyrgyzstan breaking free from dependence on the Uzbek gas, unless hindered

06.10.2015 23:01 msk Business Kyrgyzstan Russia Uzbekistan

During its entire quarter-century independence period, Kyrgyzstan constantly had to hold challenging negotiations with Uzbekistan on the conditions of supply and delivery of natural gas by the latter. This gas cabbala may soon come to its end: Gazprom’s engineers are completing the blueprints of the North-South gas pipeline that will connect the northern and southern parts of Kyrgyzstan.

Uzbekistan: Hey, World Bank, attention here!

Uzbekistan: Hey, World Bank, attention here!

29.09.2015 01:32 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Uzbekistan

According to information Fergana obtained from several sources, thousands of residents of the city of Angren in Tashkent Region are engaged in this year’s cotton-picking campaign. The area is of particular interest because its one of the sites the World Bank has financed a project. One of the conditions for obtaining a credit from WB was the prohibition of using forced labour in this very area. Simply put, the Uzbek government is grossly violating the conditions of an agreement with a foreign donor. Observers are under the impression that the World Bank leadership is simply failing to notice this screaming violation. Our correspondents on the ground contributed to the following article.

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