30 june 2015

Central Asia news

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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