4 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.”

Steve Swerdlow (HRW) on Andijan Massacre

29.05.2015 11:34 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

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.

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.

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