25 may 2017

Central Asia news

Who owns media in Kazakhstan?

Who owns media in Kazakhstan?

16.05.2017 21:58 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Media Review Internet Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, most of the media owners are hiding behind their formal founders. But, as they say, if the secret is known to three – then everyone knows this. Having talked with experts Fergana News Agency made its own list of the true owners of the Kazakh media.

Uzbekistan: Activists pay tribute to Andijan massacre victims in Tashkent

Uzbekistan: Activists pay tribute to Andijan massacre victims in Tashkent

15.05.2017 16:58 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Uzbekistan

Activists of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU) held a traditional action in the centre of Tashkent at the foot of the ‘Courage’ monument on 13 May to commemorate the hundreds of peaceful Andijan residents, who died during the shooting of the rally 12 years ago. To the surprise of the participants, this time the event passed without any interference by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Service (SNB).

 Uzbekistan: How visit by UN High Commissioner benefits?

Uzbekistan: How visit by UN High Commissioner benefits?

15.05.2017 08:49 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has been in Uzbekistan since 10 until 12 May 2017. Human rights defenders and civil society activists both at home and abroad were eagerly awaiting this important event. It was the first trip of the UN official to this country and to Central Asia in general. And it should be noted that none of its six predecessors visited Uzbekistan at this high international level before.

About imprisoned human rights activists and unsound optimism in Uzbekistan

About imprisoned human rights activists and unsound optimism in Uzbekistan

11.05.2017 13:59 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

This year in March, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan) upheld the sentence on extending the term of imprisonment to five years for 39-year-old human rights activist Azam Farmonov. Azam Farmonov has been confined in Jaslyk prison for eleven years (since June 2006), which the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Theo van Boven back in 2002 recommended to close it down because of its location in an ecologically impoverished zone. At a time of unsound optimism about Uzbekistan, and when the new president has begun to talk about the problems accumulated in the country winning universal love, I wish to recall about people who had not been afraid to criticise power at the time of the Karimov swamp, and who still remain in custody.

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

10.05.2017 21:23 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Russia Tajikistan

The anti-government forces took control of the Qalay-I-Zal district of the Afghan province of Kunduz, located on the border with Tajikistan, world media reported on 7 May. Heavy battles that began shortly after the Taliban had announced the ‘spring offensive’ are going on in the Zebak district, as well as in the vicinity of the city of Kunduz, which may soon again be in the hands of the armed opposition. As we have already reported, a state of emergency had been declared in the Ishkashim district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of the Republic of Tajikistan bordering with fighting scenes across the Panj River. Local residents are alarmed and frightened by the fact that Afghan militants have come close to the Tajik border. Moreover, it is not entirely clear who they are and what their goals are. According to the ‘Fergana’ source in one of the international organisations, among the militants fighting ‘beyond the river’ are also refugees from Tajikistan, who moved there because of persecution by the authorities. A number is known too: they can make from 200 up to 250 people.

Human Rights in Uzbekistan: Commissioner, remember 2005 Andijan Massacre!

Human Rights in Uzbekistan: Commissioner, remember 2005 Andijan Massacre!

09.05.2017 23:01 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Uzbekistan

On 10 May 2017, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein arrives in Uzbekistan with a two-day visit after a long break. We offered several well-known human rights defenders and experts on the region to comment on this important event and suggest concerns that a high UN official should raise in conversation with the leaders of the Central Asian country. In their common opinion, the main thing is that the visit would not have appeared formal, but initiates the process of actual promotion of human rights in Uzbekistan.

Suspected in terrorism – emerging portraits from Central Asia

Suspected in terrorism – emerging portraits from Central Asia

28.04.2017 15:58 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Migration Kyrgyzstan Russia Uzbekistan

Brothers and neighbours speak about Rakhmat Akilov in Uzbekistan and Abror and Akram Azimov brothers in Kyrgyzstan. A good childhood and obedience, law-abiding behaviour, positive reputation in the neighbourhood, diligence – such testimonials would make a decent citizen, but not terrorist.

Muhiddin Kabiri on Interpol, IRPT ban, General Nazarzoda and exiled opposition’s future

Muhiddin Kabiri on Interpol, IRPT ban, General Nazarzoda and exiled opposition’s future

17.04.2017 22:33 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Interview Tajikistan

Fergana Editor-in-Chief Daniil Kislov interviewed the IRPT leader over the Internet. Mr. Kabiri spoke about his current status, and how the IRPT was a legal organisation and became “terrorist” overnight and why many of his supporters have not left Tajikistan even though they were aware of impending arrests. The interlocutor also spoke of the exiled Tajik opposition’s plans.

Uzbekistan: Neighbours of «terrorist of Stockholm» say suspect far from extremism

Uzbekistan: Neighbours of «terrorist of Stockholm» say suspect far from extremism

15.04.2017 10:03 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Migration Uzbekistan

A reporter of Fergana was able to visit a mahalla (neighbourhood) in Samarkand where the relatives of Rakhmat Akilov live. Swedish police arrested Mr Akilov as the main suspect of a terrorist act in Stockholm early April. Residents of Mr Akilov’s neighbourhood in Samarkand maintain that he was “distanced from politics and ideas of religious extremism.” No one saw him observing religious rites. Like the rest of the majority of Muslims in Uzbekistan, he would maintain only the so-called “household Islam,” and behaved like any other law-abiding person.

Seven moments from the life of Almazbek Atambayev

Seven moments from the life of Almazbek Atambayev

11.04.2017 14:01 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Kyrgyzstan

In civilised states, the president’s health, whether mental or physical, is not considered a state secret. Everywhere, the press and the opposition are needed to keep madmen from coming to power. A sad example is the election of Donald Trump — a man who many, to put it mildly, don’t consider to be presidential material. And how could one not compare him with Kyrgyzstan’s president Almazbek Atambayev? Fergana News recalls some of Kyrgyzstan president's stranger chapters.

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.

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