27 april 2015

Central Asia news

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.”

Kazakhstan: Domestic homicide provokes another pogrom against ethnic group

Kazakhstan: Domestic homicide provokes another pogrom against ethnic group

11.02.2015 01:24 msk Analytics Human Rights Central Asia Kazakhstan Tajikistan

In the evening of February 5, disturbances took place in the village of Bostandyk in Saryagash District of South Kazakhstan Region. Over a dozen of vehicles were destroyed, while several houses were looted and burned during the disorder. Fortunately, as the saying goes, no victims or casualties are were reported. The news about the events broke only the next morning. The rumour has it an aggressive crowd of several tens of people that organized the pogrom was eyeing the property belonging to third-generation ethnic Tajiks living in the villages of Bostandyk and Yntymak. However, a brief press release circulated by the Internal Affairs Department (IAD) mentioned nothing about the ethnicity of those who wreaked havoc.

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

04.02.2015 01:00 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Central Asia

We are continuing to discuss the question of Islam and Islamophobia—a discussion which began quite a long time ago, but which became louder following the cruel terrorist attack which took place in the centre of Paris. In an article written specially for Ferghana and which we are offering our readers here, the orientalist Bahodir Sidikov argues that Islamophobia is artificially encouraged by and in the West and that it is instrumentalized as a ‘bogey for domestic purposes’, as a stabilizer and catalyser of national development.

US military vehicles: Expensive gift for Uzbek President or non-disposable “garbage”?

US military vehicles: Expensive gift for Uzbek President or non-disposable “garbage”?

29.01.2015 17:51 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan Uzbekistan

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum told the Voice of America that over 300 modern military machines would be granted to Uzbekistan in the next few months. According to the representative of the Department of State, Washington is certain that Uzbekistan is in need of these defensive armoured vehicles to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. “They are intended to protect personnel, crews and passengers in areas that there might be explosive devices, mines, so on,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosenblum says. He further clarifies that these particular vehicles “are not coming from Afghanistan” as was previously expected, but “are coming from other places.” Obviously the fact in question raises at least two questions: 1) How would these vehicles benefit (or harm) Uzbekistan and the region? 2) Does this fact mean that Washington is thus expressing its unequivocal support of Islam Karimov ahead of the presidential elections in March?

Uzbekistan: More gas for export, less for domestic consumption

Uzbekistan: More gas for export, less for domestic consumption

26.01.2015 00:31 msk Human Rights Business Central Asia China Uzbekistan

Obviously, no realistic country would build gas pipelines to leave them empty. Consequently, when the fourth branch of the Central Asia—China is filled with eastbound gas, Uzbek citizens and residents will get less fuel. The appetite of the energy-hungry economy of China is constantly growing. The appetite is being satisfied by energy pumped out of Central Asia, leaving its residents in cold every winter.

Washington practices “strategic patience” toward Uzbekistan despite rampant rights violations

Washington practices “strategic patience” toward Uzbekistan despite rampant rights violations

16.01.2015 21:30 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Speaking during a show on National Public Radio, Nisha Biswal, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Central Asia, said despite serious problems in the field of human rights in Uzbekistan, the US is prepared to practice “strategic patience” towards this country. While Human Rights Watch's Mr. Swerdlow agrees that Uzbekistan is an important ally, he says a country that's “ruled by fear and human rights abuses will be an unstable ally in the future.”

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