11 february 2016

Central Asia news

Uzbek expert criticizes World Bank over monitoring of forced labour

Uzbek expert criticizes World Bank over monitoring of forced labour

09.12.2015 19:06 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

In late November, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the World Bank published the monitoring results of the use of child and forced labour during the cotton harvest in 2015 in Uzbekistan. The experts of the ILO, as the report says, «could not find conclusive evidence which can prove child or forced labour was used during the cotton harvest season in 2015 in Uzbekistan».

Uzbek rights advocate in need of rights advocate

Uzbek rights advocate in need of rights advocate

24.11.2015 22:49 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

When Uzbekistan has finally released well-known politician Murad Jurayev, who spent 21 years behind bars, very few naively thought the move was an indication of the Islam Karimov regime’s weakening after a quarter-century state-sponsored elimination of its critics and opponents. Only several days later following the joyful event of Mr Jurayev’s freedom, yet another sad event occurred: human rights advocate Uktam Pardayev has been arrested in Jizzakh. The defender of human rights faces the traditional accusations of “extortion” and “fraud”. But what has this man actually done to cause ire of the Uzbek authorities?

Political prisoner released in Uzbekistan after 21 years, Sec Kerry visit

12.11.2015 18:49 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Jurayev


Murad Jurayev, a well-known Uzbekistani oppositional political prisoner, has been released from prison on November 12. Mr Jurayev was accused of entering “criminal conspiracy” with Muhammad Salih, the leader of the Erk opposition party. According to the Uzbek authorities, Messrs Salih and Jurayev wanted to organise a violent seizure of power.

Uzbek rights advocates able to meet political prisoner

12.11.2015 01:51 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Activists of the Ezgulik human rights advocacy society visited November 10 Murad Jurayev in prison. Mr Jurayev is a former MP and ex-mayor of a city in Kashkadarya Region (Uzbekistan), who has been imprisoned for over two decades.

Reflections on Islam Karimov’s image

04.11.2015 02:15 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan



This fatigued man is well into his seventh decade. He was a boss of this or that kind more than half of his life. For a quarter-century he was under the rule of the despised others in Soviet times, and he has been Boss No. 1 in an independent country for almost the same number of years. At this time, only God is above him, as the saying goes.

Fire destroys Uzbek rights advocate’s house, computers; items missing (+photo, video)

Fire destroys Uzbek rights advocate’s house, computers; items missing (+photo, video)

02.11.2015 20:57 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Fire broke out in the house of Dmitriy Tikhonov, a journalist and rights advocate, and destroyed part of the house and property in the town of Yangiabad 15km from the city of Angren in Tashkent Region on October. The cause of fire is unknown at this time. The house owner learnt about the fire only on October 26, because he left Angren for some time after learning on September 30 he was under surveillance.

Uzbekistan: Cotton slaves picked sells well, as usual…

Uzbekistan: Cotton slaves picked sells well, as usual…

22.10.2015 13:31 msk Human Rights Business Cotton Uzbekistan

According to many employees of state-funded institutions, who have been forcefully sent to cotton fields in Uzbekistan, they manually collected the entire harvest of cotton this year. They report seeing not even one cotton-picking machine throughout the whole period of their work on the fields. Meanwhile, the official mass media are tirelessly reporting on grandiose achievements in the Uzbek economy’s cotton sector. But are falling short to mention these achievements have been secured thanks to almost free-of-charge slave labour.

Uzbek currency drops to 5k per dollar on “black market”

Uzbek currency drops to 5k per dollar on “black market”

15.10.2015 10:51 msk Analytics Business Politics Uzbekistan

Another important “threshold” has been passed in the Uzbek currency market: the US dollar now trades at over 5,000 soums. Illegal currency converters on the market are purchasing the US dollar at 4,950 soums and selling at 5,030. Thus, the value of the Uzbek national currency dropped 45.7% since the beginning of this year.

Kyrgyzstan breaking free from dependence on the Uzbek gas, unless hindered

Kyrgyzstan breaking free from dependence on the Uzbek gas, unless hindered

06.10.2015 23:01 msk Business Kyrgyzstan Russia Uzbekistan

During its entire quarter-century independence period, Kyrgyzstan constantly had to hold challenging negotiations with Uzbekistan on the conditions of supply and delivery of natural gas by the latter. This gas cabbala may soon come to its end: Gazprom’s engineers are completing the blueprints of the North-South gas pipeline that will connect the northern and southern parts of Kyrgyzstan.

Uzbekistan: Hey, World Bank, attention here!

Uzbekistan: Hey, World Bank, attention here!

29.09.2015 01:32 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Uzbekistan

According to information Fergana obtained from several sources, thousands of residents of the city of Angren in Tashkent Region are engaged in this year’s cotton-picking campaign. The area is of particular interest because its one of the sites the World Bank has financed a project. One of the conditions for obtaining a credit from WB was the prohibition of using forced labour in this very area. Simply put, the Uzbek government is grossly violating the conditions of an agreement with a foreign donor. Observers are under the impression that the World Bank leadership is simply failing to notice this screaming violation. Our correspondents on the ground contributed to the following article.

Uzbekistan: A tale of Kazakhs slaughtering a horse (images 18+)

Uzbekistan: A tale of Kazakhs slaughtering a horse (images 18+)

23.09.2015 22:38 msk Central Asia Kazakhstan Uzbekistan

The entire Muslim world is about to celebrate the Eid al-Adha—the holiday of sacrifice. But today’s photo-story Fergana is presenting is not about the Muslim holiday, but sacrificial rites in general. In August 2015 photojournalist Timur Karpov visited the Jambay village in Tashkent Region, which is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Kazakhs. The local residents were having a circumcision party and slaughtered a horse for the occasion.

Uzbekistan: “We are slaves, indeed!” A photojournalist’s cotton-picking stint (+photos, video)

Uzbekistan: “We are slaves, indeed!” A photojournalist’s cotton-picking stint (+photos, video)

23.09.2015 13:39 msk Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

The authorities of Uzbekistan relentlessly try to convince that doctors, educators and their students volunteer to travel and contribute to agriculture activities every autumn. Yet, critics of the incumbent authorities continuously maintain forced labour and extortion are rampant on the part of state officials; the conditions of living and food are slavish; diseases and traumas are ubiquitous, while death, too, occurs among the cotton-pickers that have been pulled out of civilised life and thrown onto the “cotton front”. But who is right? In order to get to the root of the problem and experience a personal encounter, photojournalist Timur Karpov travelled to a cotton field from his native Tashkent.

“Russia’s southward turn”: Who benefits?

“Russia’s southward turn”: Who benefits?

18.09.2015 00:59 msk Analytics Business Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan China Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

We discussed Russia’s “southward turn”, a much-discussed topic lately, with Vladimir Milov, a well-known Russian economist, politician and Demokraticheskiy Vybor Party Chairman. After all, the roads to “long monies” that are vital for any economy’s survival are closed in the Europe-bound directions. These “road” will likely remain inaccessible for a long time, and the world does not have too many other alternatives to offer. What benefits and risks does this southward repositioning has to offer? What are our southern neighbours’ perspectives in terms of cooperation with Russia? Do it entail benefits for them, including the Central Asian nations?..

The Uzbek-German Forum: “Silk Noose on Uzbek Farmers’ Neck”

The Uzbek-German Forum: “Silk Noose on Uzbek Farmers’ Neck”

16.09.2015 12:14 msk Human Rights Business Uzbekistan

The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights published “Silk Noose on Uzbek Farmers’ Neck,” which sheds light on 1) the use of forced labour in silk cocoon production in Uzbekistan and 2) centralised approach on the cocoon production and government monopoly, which impose production quotas on the farmers and forces the latter to sell the cocoons back to the state at lowered prices. In other words, the cocoon production is beset by same ills that befall cotton production: forced labour, the involvement of law-enforcement agencies and local governments, all the while state-dependent employees are forced into bribing their way out of compulsion.

Uzbekistan: Events in Nukus or Celebrations behind Fences (+photo)

Uzbekistan: Events in Nukus or Celebrations behind Fences (+photo)

04.09.2015 11:18 msk Arts Russia Uzbekistan

The city of Nukus, Karakalpakstan, will host a centennial anniversary of late Igor Savitsky, the founder of the Karakalpak Museum of Arts on September 4. The event, however, could be marred with the presence of only half of the invitees: nearly all of the foreign diplomats accredited in Uzbekistan turned down the invitation to participate in the celebrations. While diplomats cite schedules and prior commitments, the well-known museum’s employees seem to know the real reason: the recent unexpected dismissal of Curator Marinika Babanazarova.

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