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Archive for the ‘Tajikistan’ Category

Amnesty Report Notes Worldwide Abuses

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The findings were published on May 23 in Amnesty International’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” for 2012 and documents abuses in 159 countries and territories.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty: “Governments have been created to protect the rights of their citizens, but we then have governments who are actually doing exactly the opposite, who are actually violating the rights of their own citizens and people who are living inside their boundaries. So I think in this day and age the excuse of national sovereignty, that these are internal affairs, is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers say that there has been a suppression of freedom of expression to varying degrees in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Kazakh authorities used “excessive force” to break up strikes and public protests by oil and gas workers in southwestern Kazakhstan from May through the end of 2012. Hundreds of employees were dismissed, dozens of protesters, trade unionists, and opposition activists were detained, and at least 16 people were killed during clashes between protesters and police in December 2011. The report also says refugees were forcibly returned to China and Uzbekistan, despite international protests.

Torture and ill-treatment remains widespread in Tajikistan while impunity for perpetrators continued. The assessment says independent monitoring bodies were given “no access to detention facilities.” It notes that children, elderly people, and witnesses in criminal cases endured torture that included “the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings and burnings with cigarettes.”

Uzbekistan has restricted the freedom of expression because human rights campaigners and journalists are continually harassed. 10 journalists and human rights defenders remained imprisoned in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions.”  The  suspected members of banned religious groups are a particular target of ill-treatment by Uzbek authorities.

That torture and other forms of ill-treatment of those suspected of criminal offenses remain widespread in Turkmenistan. It cites electric shocks, rape, and the forcible administration of psychotropic drugs among the methods employed by authorities against suspects. It said freedom of movement remained drastically restricted.

 In Russia, increased peaceful political protests have prompted “repression,” including restrictive new laws and the harassment of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.  The number of apparently politically motivated verdicts is on the rise. The situation is said to be particularly bad in the volatile North Caucasus, where Amnesty says Russia often fails to properly investigate claims of abuses by law enforcement officials. The assessment says torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain a problem.

 Kyrgyz authorities were guilty of ethnic discrimination after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz three years ago.

In Georgia the new government is dealing with a delicate political balancing act.

The Amnesty report calls on Belarus to abolish the death penalty, which it says has been carried out in a “cruel and inhuman” way. Executions are conducted in “utmost secrecy” with neither the condemned nor their relatives being informed in advance.

It criticizes Moldova for not doing enough to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Moldova was also cited for a law mandating the chemical castration of violent child abusers.

Ukraine is plagued by failings in its criminal justice system and a lack of safeguards for detainees. The rights of homosexuals and transgenders are at risk because of pending legislation.

Amnesty-International

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Freedom Of Speech Index for 2012

Posted by Info on 08/05/2013

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual Freedom of the Press Index for 2012:

Uzbekistan occupied 164th place out of 179 countries. From last year’s index Uzbekistan moved down seven notches which shows the deterioration of the situation journalists face in the country. Uzbekistan remained a nightmare for journalists. Dictatorship of President Islam Karimov controlled the Internet, pressured the media and punished independent journalists using courts.

It was a good news to hear, that The UNHCR in Kyrgyzstan granted refugee status to Uzbek journalist Elena Bondar. Pressure on Bondar – threatening phone calls and aggressive treatment by law enforcement officers – forced the young journalist to flee Uzbekistan and seek refugee status.

The worse situation is only in Turkmenistan with the regime of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Turkmenistan came 177th on the index, along with Eritrea and North Korea which came on the bottom of the index.

Kazachstan occupied 16oth, Tajikistan 123rd and   Kyrgyzstan 106th place.

Russia came 148th, falling six notches from last year which is explained by repressions and the suppression of protests after Vladimir Putin came to power.

Moldova, Armenia and Georgia fared the best coming 55th, 74th and 100th.

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Personality cult in Turkmenistan. President Berdymukhamedov introduced minimal reforms but heaped honours upon himself. For his 50th birthday, he awarded himself the Watan (Motherland) Order, a gold and diamond pendant weighing about 1 kilogram for his “outstanding achievements” in his barely six months in office.

Posted in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Two Decades Since USSR Broke Up. What Happened To Soviet Countries?

Posted by Info on 23/10/2011

Twenty years on from the Soviet coup gave birth to 15 new states. Guardian data team mined statistics from sources ranging from the World Bank, the UNHCR, the UN Crime Trends Survey and the Happy Planet Index to compare the performance of the countries, combed through the OSCE’s reports on every election in each country since 1991 to see where democracy was taking hold – and where it was not wanted.

THE BALTIC REPUBLICS

Democratic records are exemplary, but the countries sit surprisingly low on international measures for wellbeing and happiness.

THE EU BORDERLANDS UKRAINE, BELARUS and MOLDOVA
Ukraine and Moldova sustained catastrophic economic contraction.. Belarus, under the autocratic rule of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, suffered less. The troika has the weakest economic figures of all post-Soviet regions. Moldova has the best record of free and fair elections, BUT with return a communist (Vladimir Voronin) to power. Moldova also hosts to one of the post-Soviet space’s many frozen conflicts of the Transdniestr region Ukraine’s democratic turning point – the orange revolution of 2004 – rapidly gave way to paralysis and stalemate… In Belarus, Lukashenko has faced lengthy international isolation for crushing opposition and dissent.

THE CAUCASUS
Azerbaijan’s oil dividend makes it one of the strongest performing economies. Armenia and Georgia have both seen incipient growth through the 2000s rudely interrupted by the global recession of 2008/09. The frozen conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Abkhazia (Georgia) ..Georgia and Russia has resulted in the only war between former Soviet republics (2008). Armenia suffers from the worst unemployment of all 15 republics, and democratic breakthroughs have been few – only Georgia has held free and fair elections.

CENTRAL ASIA
A mixed economic story: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have expanded their economies more than 400 %. And although these are the happiest post-Soviet republics not one has held a genuinely free or fair election since 1990; central Asia is where elections are deferred or else won with 99 percent of the vote by dictators who lock up their opponents and even ban ballet and name a month of the year after their mother (Turkmenistan). Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not post-Soviet at all: they have simply stuck with the strongmen who led them out of the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan the leader died in 2006, while Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon has run his republic uncontested since 1992. Only in Kyrgyzstan Soviet-era leader Askar Akayev was ousted in 2005.

RUSSIA
Russia has reversed its dramatic economic decline. .its life expectancy persisting below 70 on account of, among other factors, chronic problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Russia has the highest HIV rate (along with Ukraine), the highest homicide rate and the highest prison population of the former Soviet Union. Elections are once again foregone conclusions; governors, once elected, are now appointed. The ‘vertical’ of power centred on the Kremlin appears as strong as it was in Soviet times.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, EU, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Tajik Journalist Facing 16 Years Imprisonment For Criticizing Government

Posted by Info on 12/10/2011

Tajik journalist Mahmadyusuf Ismoilov who works for the local newspaper Nuri Zindagi, has been held in pre-trial detention since November 2010. He was indicted for criminal libel and insult of public officials, extortion and incitement of “regional hatred.” According to the Tajik prosecutors, he committed most of these crimes in an August 2010 newspaper article.

“If journalists who criticize government officials face criminal charges, lengthy investigative detention and punitive prison sentences, Tajikistan risks stifling public discourse,” said Mijatović OSCE representative.
His many months of detention have already sent a threatening message to Tajikistan’s journalists.”

“I look forward to my upcoming visit to Tajikistan to discuss with the authorities this and other issues of concern to my Office, including the ongoing trial against BBC correspondent Urunboi Usmonov,. the OSCE stands ready to assist Tajikistan in reforming its criminal defamation legislation in order to prevent imprisonment of journalists.”

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US Continues To Warn Against Travelling In Uzbekistan

Posted by Info on 12/10/2011

The US State Department is continuing to warn US citizens of the dangers of travelling in Uzbekistan., warning of the danger of terrorist attacks against American citizens.

Experts at the US State Department say that supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the Central Asian region.

Members of these groups have attacked US government interests in the past. In 2004, the US Embassy in Tashkent was attacked; terrorists have also been responsible for kidnappings, assassinations and suicide bombings, the State Department says.
“Extreme caution should also be exercised in areas of the Ferghana Valley bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.”

Several years ago, the US Embassy in Uzbekistan issued a warning to its citizens travelling in the country of the dangers of using private-hire taxis. This warning was prompted by a number of instances of foreigners being robbed in taxis.

Posted in Kyrgyzstan, others, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Tajikistan Trial For BBC Reporter Accused of Extremism

Posted by Info on 16/08/2011

A BBC journalist, Urunboy Usmonov, 59 who was held for a month by the authorities in Tajikistan has been put on trial in Khujand city. He was accused of associating with banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. The trial is taking place in a detention centre rather than a regular courtroom.

He has repeatedly denied the charges, saying his only contact with the group was to interview some members as part of his work reporting on the region. The BBC has insisted that meetings and interviews with people representing all shades of opinion are part of the work of any BBC journalist.

Mr Usmonov has worked for the BBC Central Asian Service for 10 years. He has said that he met Hizb ut-Tahrir members as part of his work reporting on the group, which is active across Central Asia.

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Tajikistan: BBC Reporter Charged With Extremism Released On Bail

Posted by Info on 16/07/2011

Authorities arrested Urinboy Usmonov, a BBC World Service correspondent, on June 13 on charges of belonging to a banned Islamist group and indicted him with making “public calls to forcibly change the constitutional system of Tajikistan,” according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Unable to prove the initial charges, authorities amended the indictment.

Usmonov was just today released on bail but continue to be charged with extremism while a travel ban was imposed.

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Proposed Law Banning Children From Mosques in Tajikistan

Posted by Info on 25/06/2011

The new law “on Parental Responsibility”. which was approved by the lower house of the Tajik parliament last month, bans under-18-year-olds from attending prayers in mosques, and may also allow the authorities to stop parents giving Arabic names to their children.

The law is already sparking outrage in the country.
“Right now the government’s approach to handling any issues connected to Islam is repression, rather than any attempt at dialogue, and this is obviously going to be disastrous,” said Paul Quinn-Judge, project director for Central Asia at International Crisis Group.
”The government cannot keep using the law, using pressure, and using restrictions to handle the islamicisation of its society.”
In a report on Tajikistan last month, the group warned the Tajik government to pull back anti-Islamic measures implemented last year, which included repatriating more than a thousand students from religious schools overseas, forcibly closing hundreds of mosques, threatening long jail sentences for setting up “illegal” religious schools, and even banning a footballer who wore an Islamic beard.

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Tajikistan: BBC Reporter Charged with Extremism, Denied Lawyer

Posted by Info on 20/06/2011

BBC Uzbek Service correspondent Urinboy Usmonov, 59, disappeared on June 13. Two days later, investigators took him home to search for evidence. Family members present say Usmonov appears to have been beaten.

Usmonov has been officially charged with inciting religious and racial hatred, participating in an organized criminal group, and extremism. Authorities say Usmonov is a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a group that seeks to establish an Islamic state in Central Asia, but which is avowedly non-violent. “For a long time Usmonov maintained contacts with party representatives in Tajikistan and abroad; he actively participated in the preparation and dissemination of printed materials promoting Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s ideas on the forcible seizure of power and changing of the constitutional regime,” said a June 18 statement from the State Security Service, Tajikistan’s KGB-successor agency.

Usmonov’s colleagues and media rights activists insist he was arrested because of his critical voice. For years he has reported on the authorities’ efforts to silence expressions of Islam. Tajikistan has jailed over 500 people for membership in Hizb-ut-Tahrir in the past ten years, 40 have already been convicted this year.

There is little doubt that Usmonov was arrested because of his journalistic activities.
Using the fight against extremism in order to crack down on dissidents is standard practice in Tajikistan.

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Tajikistan: Growing Security Threat From Local And External Insurgencies

Posted by Info on 27/05/2011

Bishkek/Brussels, 24 May 2011 – International Crisis Group: report n. 205
Tajikistan, by most measures Central Asia’s poorest and most vulnerable state. After his security forces failed to bring warlords and a small group of young insurgents to heel in the eastern region of Rasht in 2010-2011, President Emomali Rakhmon did a deal to bring a temporary peace to the area. But he may soon face a tougher challenge from the resurgent Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group with a vision of an Islamist caliphate that is fighting in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban.

That conflict is moving closer to the 1,400km Afghan-Tajik border. Many anti-government guerrillas operating in northern Afghanistan are of Central Asian origin and are largely affiliated with the IMU. Tajikistan has almost no capacity to tackle a dedicated insurgent force. A new generation of guerrillas is emerging, both within Tajikistan and in the IMU.

Tajiks studying in foreign Islamic institutions have been called home; the government is trying to control the content of Friday sermons and prevent young people from visiting mosques; it has also dismissed some clerics.
Jihadist groups, too, are paying more attention to Tajikistan. A small number of fighters from the North Caucasus have also been active in Tajikistan in recent years. Radicalisation by osmosis is growing: Tajikistan is gradually becoming part of the virtual jihad. Islamist websites are paying increasing attention to events in the country. Islamic militants in Tajikistan are adopting tactics already well known in other jihadist struggles, notably in the North Caucasus. A new generation of guerrillas is emerging, both within Tajikistan and in the IMU.
Tajiks studying in foreign Islamic institutions have been called home; the government is trying to control the content of Friday sermons and prevent young people from visiting mosques; it has also dismissed some clerics.

Jihadist groups, too, are paying more attention to Tajikistan. A small number of fighters from the North Caucasus have also been active in Tajikistan in recent years. In September 2010 the country witnessed what was described as its first suicide bombing. The northern border area of Isfara is developing the reputation of a safe haven for armed militants.

President Rakhmon denies that the North African scenario of popular unrest and revolt could happen in Tajikistan; despite the different circumstances, such confidence is questionable. Tajikistan is so vulnerable that a small, localised problem could quickly spiral into a threat to the regime’s existence.

RECOMMENDATIONS HERE

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Tajik Journalists Awarded On Press Freedom Day

Posted by Info on 08/05/2011

A Tajik journalists’ organization has awarded Hikmatulloh Sayfullohzoda a special prize for “journalistic bravery” on World Press Freedom.
Sayfullohzoda was beaten by unknown attackers on February 8 and spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries. No suspects have been arrested in his case.

A special award from the Media-Alliance was given to Ramziya Mirzobekova, a correspondent for the independent weekly “Asia Plus” who is being sued by Deputy Interior Minister Anvar Taghoymurodov for defamation.

But Tajik journalists say independent media suffered a big setback in recent months after officials banned a number of newspapers and websites for three months due to “security reasons.”

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Medvedev Targets Russia’s ‘Legal Nihilism’ With New Policy

Posted by Info on 04/05/2011

Russian President approved a state policy to improve the rule of law and fight the “legal nihilism”.

“An insufficient level of legal culture and consciousness and legal nihilism among Russian citizens pose a serious problem in implementing the rule of law,” this threatens property rights and helps promote alcoholism, drug addiction, prostitution and domestic violence, according to the policy.

Russia was ranked 154th among 178 countries in Berlin-based Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, tied with Tajikistan and Kenya.
Medvedev has revamped legislation governing the police and forced state officials to declare their incomes.

The new policy will focus on improving the application of the law, stemming corruption and fighting nationalist and religious extremism by providing training to state and law enforcement officials and delivering awareness campaigns to citizens through media and Internet. let’s see..the results

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SCO! + UN? = Compromise of Human Rights Under Cover of Counter-Terrorism

Posted by Info on 30/03/2011

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), comprising six states with deeply troubling human rights records – China, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – is increasingly embraced by the international community as a partner in countering terrorism and forging peace and security.

Report Terrorism and Human Rights: The Impact of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization released on March 30, 2011, Human Rights in China (HRIC) argues that the SCO’s counter-terrorism policies and practices undermine the effectiveness and integrity of the international counter-terrorism framework, and enable SCO member states to target their own populations through repressive measures that compromise internationally-recognized human.

· Non-compliance with UN standards. In adapting “Three Evils” doctrine –alleged separatist, extremist, and terrorist acts with its overbroad scope target legitimate expressions of political and religious beliefs.

· Violation of individual human rights protected under international law. Such practices as cooperative surveillance, a shared database and blacklists, guaranteed extraditions and denials of asylum, and ethnic and religious profiling, violate the right to privacy, principles of non-discrimination, non-refoulement, and protection of asylum seekers, and due process protections.

· Negative impact on the international counter-terrorism framework. The SCO has actively attempted to integrate its framework into that of the UN, as well as in other international fora. The UN and others have responded favorably and without critical review of SCO policies and practice.. full report HERE

Posted in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, others, Russia, SCO, Tajikistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Tajik Prezident: “We Have All Kinds Of Political Parties And Free Media”

Posted by Info on 21/03/2011

Tajikistan has got all kinds of political parties and free media, said the president Emomalii Rahmon on Saturday. Making initial steps towards the democracy it encounters multiple hindrances so that pushing this process “does not make sense”.
“We in Tajikistan have provided the most conducive environment for existence of pluralistic media that promote diverse political opinions and an even ground for political parties”.

President Rahmon has been the head the country and the government since 1994

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Guidebook For People Facing Unlawful Extradition From Russia

Posted by Info on 18/03/2011

The 160-page Russian-language manual, created by the Institute of Human Rights with the assistance of the UN Refugee Agency, is intended for the use of lawyers, not their clients, and offers tips on Russia’s extremely convoluted extradition laws.

Over the past few years there has been a growing number of extraditions of people prosecuted on illegal political or religious charges. Most cases stem from post-Soviet Central Asian states — Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — but Belarus, also notorious for its human rights record, contributes as well.

Extradition in these situations often means torture and long-term jailing for suspects, but Russian authorities prefer to ignore this, even the fact that wanted activists often have dual citizenship and are Russian citizens does not help.

The Russian legal system has little experience in handling complicated extradition cases, which leads to violations, lawyers said. In particular, people are sometimes handed over to other countries before they could appeal the extradition.

Posted in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »