1 august 2015

Central Asia news

Uzbek officials: “Our prisons are most progressive, mass media are most democratic; no torture, because it is prohibited!”

Uzbek officials: “Our prisons are most progressive, mass media are most democratic; no torture, because it is prohibited!”

20.07.2015 10:40 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Migration Internet Uzbekistan

Every five years starting in 1996, Uzbekistan delivers a report before UN Committee for Human Rights on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There are very few people aware of this document in Uzbekistan, save the officials and a handful of pro-government NGOs like the Committee of Women of Uzbekistan or the Ijtimoiy Fikr Sociology Centre, which characterise themselves as independent for some reason. Public hearings of another report took place at the Wilson Pallaise in Geneva, Switzerland on July 8-9, where an delegation from Uzbekistan responded to questions 18 members of the committee had to ask them.

Uzbek State Museum removes «Soviet Era» department

Uzbek State Museum removes «Soviet Era» department

07.07.2015 12:00 msk Politics Arts Uzbekistan

There is a building in central Tashkent is known to every local and guest as well as other historical buildings around it: Navoi Theatre, Tashkent Hotel, the former Palace of Pioneers, the puppet theatre and the Sharq publishing house. The delicate concrete cube-shaped building is built on a higher location than adjacent buildings and features wide stairs. The Soviet authorities used the building as the centre for forced pilgrimage of middle and high school children as well as foreign delegations because this is where the memory of the chief of the global proletariat was honoured in those days. The Lenin Museum—the building in question—was constructed in 1970 to commemorate the centennial of the communist chief and existed under this name for just over 20 years before it was handed over to the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan after independence in 1991.

Muhiddin Kabiri: Closing IRPT will not bring about better life in Tajikistan

Muhiddin Kabiri: Closing IRPT will not bring about better life in Tajikistan

06.07.2015 00:37 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Russia Tajikistan

Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), has inadvertently become the main newsmaker for Tajik and foreign mass media outlets. Mr Kabiri broke silence he kept for the last three weeks and made himself available for journalists. Muhiddin Kabiri agreed to speak with Fergana in an exclusive interview to discuss the criminal investigation launched against him, those in the Tajik government interested in having the IRPT closed, the reasons behind people continuing to join the party despite resistance and pressures, and many other aspects of life in Tajikistan.

Uzbek border guards kill Kazakh, wound Tajik nationals, fire at Kyrgyz colleagues

Uzbek border guards kill Kazakh, wound Tajik nationals, fire at Kyrgyz colleagues

01.07.2015 12:11 msk Human Rights Politics Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Uzbekistan

The history of border conflicts sheds light on many gruesome stories. Bilateral and multilateral “eternal friendship agreements” among the nations in Central Asia are shelved as soon as territorial claims surface or another interethnic conflict breaks out or disagreements on border zone residents’ interest erupt. Three incidents involving firearms have taken place in three different parts of the Uzbek borders with neighbours recently.

Former political prisoner delivers report on human rights in Uzbekistan before US Congress

Former political prisoner delivers report on human rights in Uzbekistan before US Congress

28.06.2015 13:23 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission under the US Congress held a session June 25 entitled “Civil and Political Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia: Implications for Post-2014 U.S. Foreign Policy.” Daniel Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, both of the Department of State, as well as Jeff Goldstein, Senior Policy Analyst at the Open Society Foundations, and Ms. Allison Gill, an independent expert on Central Asia, spoke before the congressional commission. Among the speakers was Sanjar Umarov, who was once convicted in Uzbekistan for his political views.

Kyrgyzstan: Imprisoned Askarov’s son appeals to international community to help bring justice in father’s case

Kyrgyzstan: Imprisoned Askarov’s son appeals to international community to help bring justice in father’s case

13.06.2015 10:34 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Sherzodbek Askarov, the son of a well-known human rights activist and journalist, Azimjan Askarov, is appealing to the UN, OSCE, the embassies of the USA, the Czech Republic, Germany and other countries with a request for assistance in forming a commission for a fair investigation into a criminal case against his father.

Kyrgyz power-wielders stage drills in Uzbek-majority neighbourhood in South, fail to notify residents

Kyrgyz power-wielders stage drills in Uzbek-majority neighbourhood in South, fail to notify residents

06.06.2015 01:02 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Power-wielding bodies of Kyrgyzstan staged anti-terror exercises in the southern city of Osh. According to official information, the Anti-terror Centre under the National Security State Committee (GKNB) held the drills on June 5 in cooperation with the OSCE Centre in Bishkek and regional subdivisions of the ministries of internal affairs, defence, emergencies, healthcare, border services and local self-governances bodies. According to the officials, the Osh-Anti-terror-2015 military exercises were aimed at “Organising and holding rapid-response and search activities and anti-terror operations to identify and eliminate terror threats as well as examining the interaction among power-wielding bodies at the regional level in Osh City and Osh Region in the conditions of terror threat.”

Yelena Urlayeva: “I feel humiliated, but I will continue fighting this criminal regime until the end”

Yelena Urlayeva: “I feel humiliated, but I will continue fighting this criminal regime until the end”

04.06.2015 00:41 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Reports on humiliations detainees and arrestees are subjected to in Uzbekistan rarely leave the walls of police stations, pre-trial detention facilities or torture chambers. One would hear about the cases of only those who died in detention or those so desperate and hopeless that they no longer fear the regime’s wrath and revenge. Indeed, the regime can “break” anyone. However, there is one person who fears no reprisals, does not fear speaking out and does not care about allegations of mental instability—Yelena Urlayeva, head of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU).

Steve Swerdlow (HRW) on Andijan Massacre

29.05.2015 11:34 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

“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

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