29 august 2015

Central Asia news: Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: “You need to die to reach Sokh”

Uzbekistan: “You need to die to reach Sokh”

24.01.2013 09:55 msk Ferghana Valley Uzbekistan

The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in the Fergana Valley remains closed and inaccessible on both sides. The status quo leaves citizens of respective countries a few choices to deal with it and resolve daily issues: buying food, trade, and observing religious rituals. Several visitors of the Fergana website and other voluntary informants told us about their life in blockade. It appears that despite tensions between Tashkent and Bishkek and the stalemate over the exact location of borderlines, local authorities, border guards, and businessmen are able to negotiate and compromise even in extreme situations. Apparently people learned how to live with each other and deal with day-to-day issues despite the conflicts at the highest echelons of power several hundred kilometers away…

Song for Dad, or Gulnara’s off-pitch

Song for Dad, or Gulnara’s off-pitch

27.12.2012 12:58 msk Analytics Uzbekistan

Many observers have noticed that the Uzbek president’s oldest daughter has started coming out in the media, on TV screens and on the internet more and more often. Whether she has started some new stage in her PR campaign, and what aims the Uzbek princess is following is yet unknown. Maybe she just likes being in the centre of public attention, under the spotlight… Some experts and political scientists have a different viewpoint. They see Gulnara Islamovna on her father’s place and are almost announcing her as the country’s future president. People say that there are no more deserving heirs, that the Asian model of passing power assumes dynasty, and Gulnara is exactly the one who can unite warring factions etc…

Uzbekistan 2012 Cotton Harvest: Continued State-Sponsored Forced Labor of Children and Adults

Uzbekistan 2012 Cotton Harvest: Continued State-Sponsored Forced Labor of Children and Adults

24.12.2012 10:51 msk Cotton Uzbekistan

The 2012 cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has concluded, and the system of forced labor of cotton production remained the same as in previous years. December 20, 2012, the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights and the Cotton Campaign released the Review of the 2012 Cotton Harvest, which explains that implementation of the forced labor system was carried out with a demographic shift to older children and more adults, accompanied with an unprecedented scale of corruption. The Review presents observations by human rights defenders throughout Uzbekistan, and highlights the following disturbing trends: continued forced child labor despite a demographic shift of the burden to older children, intensified forced labor of adults, continued rejection of independent monitoring, continued harassment of Uzbek citizens who attempted to monitor, and increased extraction of financial and other resources from Uzbek citizens by government authorities.

Andrew Stroehlein: Letter to Gulnara Karimova

Andrew Stroehlein: Letter to Gulnara Karimova

12.12.2012 16:50 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

After an exchange on Twitter with Gulnara Karimova, Andrew Stroehlein, Communications Director at International Crisis Group, has written an open letter to the daughter of the Uzbek president. He highlights human rights violations, including the lack of political freedom and imprisonment of civil society activists, torture, forced labour, the Andijan massacre and restrictions on freedom of expression. Andrew Stroehlein calls on Gulnara Karimova as Uzbekistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva to address these issues.

Uzbek government Vice President – Rustam Azimov: successor or scape goat?

Uzbek government Vice President – Rustam Azimov: successor or scape goat?

12.12.2012 13:50 msk Politics Uzbekistan

It seems that nobody actually believes that free and fair elections will ever take place in Central Asia. On the other hand, it is still totally unclear, how the power change will happen in some of the authoritarian countries. Will Nazarbayev, Karimov and Rahmon, who have been ruling for twenty and more years, rule until their last days, like Niyazov-Turkmenbashi? Or will they prefer to choose a handover mechanism of their privatized post to a trusted person while they are still living, like the Yeltsin-Putin scenario of 1999?

Human Rights Watch: Free Uzbek Political Prisoners on Constitution Day

Human Rights Watch: Free Uzbek Political Prisoners on Constitution Day

06.12.2012 11:47 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

The Uzbek government should unconditionally release all of its political prisoners on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the country’s constitution on December 8, 2012, human rights groups said today. Freeing the country’s many political prisoners would demonstrate a genuine commitment to Uzbekistan’s much-touted reform process, the groups said. The nine groups are Human Rights Watch, Freedom Now, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, the International Partnership for Human Rights, the International Association for Human Rights Defense “Fiery Hearts Club,” PEN American Center, ACAT-France, and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Gulnara Karimova and film: Gerard Depardieu as the latest whim of the Uzbek princess

Gulnara Karimova and film: Gerard Depardieu as the latest whim of the Uzbek princess

03.12.2012 21:28 msk Uzbekistan

World famous film star Gerard Depardieu has visited Uzbekistan. The actor visited Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand from 26 to 29 November. It seems that the visit made a bright impression on the sixty year old actor. He noted the “unbelievable scenery, richness and a sort of calm in everything” and called Uzbekistan a “country with a great nation.” At least, this is how the Tashkent media quotes Depardieu. Rumours have now been confirmed that Depardieu will participate in a film project started by the daughter of the Uzbek president Gulnara Karimova. It is a historical teleseries called “Kidnapping of the white cocoon” dedicated to the story of the creation and distribution of silk.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia: There are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Uzbekistan

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia: There are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Uzbekistan

30.11.2012 00:07 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visited Kyrgyzstan for the first time on 28 November. Human rights activists have been preparing for her visit in advance. The situation of political prisoners’ situation became the main topic in the messages sent by human rights activists. On 22 November, Human Rights Watch, a leading international human rights organisation, called Catherine Ashton to publically demand the liberation of illegally imprisoned activists, who are languishing in local prisons. Nadejda Ataeva, leader of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, based in France, which is at one with HRW’s request, talked about the situation of political prisoners held in Uzbek prisons in an interview with NBC Central Asia. The shortened version of the interview is published on the IWPR website.

Obidhon Nazarov, imam shot in Sweden, is recovering and Uzbeks leave Stromsund

Obidhon Nazarov, imam shot in Sweden, is recovering and Uzbeks leave Stromsund

19.10.2012 09:56 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

An attempt on the life of Uzbek imam Obidhon-kori Nazarov took place on 22 February 2012 in Stromsund, Sweden. The Uzbek community in Stromsund believes that the imam has been an eyesore for the Tashkent authorities and has called on the imam to be vigilant. The attempted murderer shot the imam at the door of his home, since then, the imam has been in a coma, but is gradually recovering. “Our father is unconscious, but the doctors have said that the danger has passed and his wound is healing,” said the imam’s son Dovud. However, he said that the healing process may take a long time. The doctors have also not given an estimate for the imam’ recovery time. Dovud Nazarov comes to the hospital every day, and sometimes spends an entire day by his father’s bed. The doctors explained it is possible that Obid Nazarov hears and understands those who are near him, but cannot answer them yet.

Investigation: What happened to TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan?

Investigation: What happened to TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan?

15.10.2012 11:03 msk Business Uzbekistan

Communications company TeliaSonera has been shaken by a big scandal. A film shown on Swedish TV voiced suspicions that the management of this well known and large group of companies is involved in bribing powerful people and using corrupt business methods, in particular in regard to their Uzbekistan operations. The Swedish authorities reacted to the film quickly, and their police and independent auditors began an investigation, aiming to find out the legality of TeliaSonera’s deals to purchase companies in Uzbekistan. Following the initiative of their Swedish colleagues, Fergana has also decided to try to uncover the details of this curious and cautionary tale.

US Ambassador in Uzbekistan George Krol:

US Ambassador in Uzbekistan George Krol: "We recognize democracy may develop and look differently in Uzbekistan."

25.09.2012 10:51 msk Interview Uzbekistan

In recent months and years the political and economic cooperation between the US and Uzbekistan has been developing actively. This arouses lively interest and even some worry in other countries’ governments, and is a subject of discussion in the press and a reason for rumours amongst experts. Fergana interviewed US Ambassador to Uzbekistan George Krol. An experienced diplomat, Mr Krol avoided answering almost every question, moving away from the topic or swapping answers for quotations from press releases from the State Department. However, the ambassador of any country is not going to be the person to say exactly what he is thinking. He gives voice to the official position of the country whhich he represents. This position differs widely from the one that people who connect America to hopes of a swift democratic change in Uzbekistan want to hear.

Gayane Avakyan and TeliaSonera or Swedish Krona for Googoosha

Gayane Avakyan and TeliaSonera or Swedish Krona for Googoosha

21.09.2012 09:49 msk Business Uzbekistan

On 19 September a Swedish public television current affairs program called Mission: Investigate (Uppdrag granskning) by journalists Sven Bergman, Joachim Dyfvermarkand and Fredrik Laurin, reported on Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera’s entrance to Uzbekistan. According to the programme, TeliaSonera paid $320 million to Gibraltar-based company Takilant Ltd, a “local Uzbek partner”, in exchange for 3G licenses and a series of Uzbek phone numbers, which allowed it to start operating in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan: renaissance of street crime in previously safe Tashkent

Uzbekistan: renaissance of street crime in previously safe Tashkent

20.09.2012 01:30 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Only a few years ago, Tashkent was seen as quite a safe and happy city: you could go for an evening stroll in most neighbourhoods. It is now obvious to many that street crime is undergoing a renaissance, with crimes becoming more organised and dangerous. Even the city police itself has stopped fulfilling its function of public order defender, and police “protection” of street crime is becoming a widespread trend. For more, read more in an article by Fergana observer Maxim Baylis.

MTS Uzbekistan court case: “Faster, faster!”

MTS Uzbekistan court case: “Faster, faster!”

14.09.2012 13:48 msk Business Uzbekistan

The case of Uzdunrobita, the Uzbekistan subsidiary of MTS, is swiftly moving towards the finish line. The hearings began on 27 August, and only in two weeks, the court managed to question all the participants and witnesses and publish case materials. Yesterday, on 12 September, oral arguments took place in the Tashkent city criminal court. Apart from absurd accusations about creating criminal groups to draw out capital, the managers of the company are accused of the regional subsidiaries operating without licenses. As Fergana discovered, the branch structure of the organisation was created by its previous owners and one of the most influential people in the country was directly involved in implementing it. It was most likely the same person who is hurrying the court and stands behind the seizure of the successful Russian business.

Uzbekistan: Parents sent to the cotton fields instead of their children

Uzbekistan: Parents sent to the cotton fields instead of their children

11.09.2012 22:58 msk Cotton Uzbekistan

The Eighth International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair is taking place in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) on 17 to 18 October and Uzbekistan’s official media reports that it will be attended by world traders. According to the critics of Islam Karimov’s regime, which has been sending the republic’s unfortunate citizens to “help” the farmers since Soviet times, Western countries are gradually turning away from Uzbekistan’s “white gold” because of the use of forced child and teenage labourers.

Other news

Media headlines

Atlantic Council Euromaidan’s Shockwaves: An Exile in Ukraine Recalls Fleeing his Native Kyrgyzstan, 10.08.2015

News.com.au Secretive Turkmenistan’s Silk Road heritage kept under wraps , 23.07.2015

Newsweek The new Eastern Bloc: China, Russia and India are joining forces, 10.07.2015

Hurriyet Daily News Turkey ready to take ‘all measures’ to secure its borders: PM, 29.06.2015

OpenDemocracy The irreplaceables in Central Asia, 24.04.2015

HRW Turkmenistan: War on Satellite Dishes, 24.04.2015

VOA Taliban Announce Spring Offensive, 22.04.2015

Long War Journal Taliban admit to beheading Afghan soliders ‘in revenge’, 22.04.2015

The Diplomat Tajikistan: No Hajj, No Hijab, and Shave Your Beard, 18.04.2015

Eurasia Review Afghanistan: Ghani wants Pakistan's help in talks with Taliban, 18.04.2015

Eurasianet Kazakhstan and Russia Trading Punches in Import-Export Row, 17.04.2015

Foreign Affairs Afghanistan's Female Sons, 17.04.2015

BBC Afghanistan kidnap video: Hostage beheaded 'by Uzbek gunmen', 07.04.2015

The Nation Kurds accuse Erdogan of ‘constitutional dictatorship’, 07.04.2015

Pakistan Today Taliban publish Mullah Omar’s biography, 06.04.2015

The Guardian Human rights activists’ dismay as Uzbekistan autocrat clings to power, 05.04.2015

World Politics Review Uzbek President’s Re-election Masks Internal Rifts, External Shifts, 04.04.2015

Foreign Policy Uzbekistan’s president has jailed, tortured, and murdered his opponents at home. Now, he’s hiring hit men to track down and kill dissidents abroad, 03.04.2015

The Economist Elections in Central Asia - No choice, 01.04.2015

U.S. Dept of State An Enduring Vision for Central Asia, 01.04.2015

New Eastern Europe Welcome to Karimovstan, 01.04.2015

HRW Kyrgyzstan: Rights Lawyers’ Office, Home Searched, 31.03.2015

Khaama Press Afghan journalist beaten by police in Zabul, 31.03.2015

RFE/RL Uzbek Group In Afghanistan Pledge Allegiance To Islamic State, 31.03.2015

New York Times Uzbeks Vote on Expected 4th Term for Authoritarian Leader, 30.03.2015

The Guardian Islam Karimov set to reprise presidential role as Uzbekistan heads to the polls, 28.03.2015

International Business Times Uzbekistan elections: Why Islam Karimov is the unbeatable candidate, 28.03.2015

Diplomat Tough Outlook for Central Asian Economies, 26.03.2015

The National The long read: why Russia will see off China in Central Asia’s new great game, 26.03.2015

BBC Why Islam Karimov will win Uzbekistan's elections, 24.03.2015

OCCRP The Prodigal Daughter, 23.03.2015

New York Times Afghan First Vice President, an Ex-Warlord, Fumes on the Sidelines, 21.03.2015

Khaama Dozens of Uzbek fighters living with families in Faryab, 10.03.2015

BBC Five ways to stay in power in Central Asia, 10.03.2015

NHC NHC condemns murder of Tajik opposition leader, 09.03.2015

Al Jazeera Journalists decry lack of press freedom in Turkey, 09.03.2015

Forbes Islamic Extremism In Central Asia: Witch Hunt Or Genuine Threat?, 28.02.2015

Carnegie.Ru Why Did Nazarbayev Suddenly Call for Early Elections?, 26.02.2015

OSCE OSCE convenes first workshop in Central Asia on countering phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, 26.02.2015

AP 3 nabbed in NY, Florida in plot to join Islamic State Group, 25.02.2015

openDemocracy Economic dystopia in Kyrgyzstan, 12.02.2015

Silk Road Reporters Tajikistan, frontline state against resurgent Taliban, 09.02.2015

Eurasianet Uzbekistan Bullish on Economy – But Do Numbers Add Up?, 03.02.2015

Long War Journal Pakistani Taliban emir for Bajaur joins Islamic State, 03.02.2015

WB Taking STEPs to Improve Employment Outcomes in Uzbekistan, 03.02.2015

Eurasianet Uzbekistan: With Gulnara on Sidelines, How Will Football Fare?, 29.01.2015

The Economist The Turkish prime minister rejects charges of being soft on the Islamic State and authoritarian at home, 24.01.2015

The Independent War on Isis: Flood of jihadi volunteers to Syria 'unstoppable', warns Turkish Prime Minister, 22.01.2015

The Guardian Russia’s rouble crisis poses threat to nine countries relying on remittances, 19.01.2015

The Diplomat ISIS Looks for Foothold in Central Asia, 19.01.2015