A powerful earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale struck Ferghana Valley early July 20, affecting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The epicenter of the quake was about 45 kilometers south of the Uzbek city of Ferghana.
Human rights and press freedom advocates are on high alert in Tajikistan following a spate of police beatings, puzzling arrests and deaths in custody – including one in which police say a detainee killed himself by beating his head against a wall.
A year after ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan claimed over 400 lives, authorities continue a campaign of torture and injustice against minority ethnic Uzbeks, say two international watchdogs marking the one-year anniversary of the bloodletting. Bishkek’s failure to address the discrimination could rekindle violence, warn Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
A United Nations Committee Against Torture report released June 6 rapped Turkmenistan for maintaining a “climate of impunity,” and called on Ashgabat to address systematic human rights abuses as a “matter of urgency.” The report should complicate efforts by the European Union and United States to tighten energy relations with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s regime.
As a senior Uzbek government official touches down in Berlin on May 24, he is heading into a storm of controversy over Uzbekistan’s human rights record. The release of an Uzbek dissident ahead of the trip has not tempered the row, with revelations of his ill treatment behind bars further stoking the ire of activists.
Turkmenistan has, after nine years, presented its first report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT). UN representatives found the report to be lacking in detail, and disappointed by the responses of Turkmen officials to pointed questions.
A European Parliamentary delegation is due to arrive April 28 in Turkmenistan on a human rights fact-finding mission. The visit appears to be a prelude to a European Union upgrade of its economic ties with Ashgabat.
The German government appears willing to pay a very high price for use of the Termez air base in Uzbekistan, more than doubling its yearly payments to the authoritarian but strategic Central Asian state.
Turkmenistan’s dismal human rights record will soon be the subject of a review by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT). Watchdog groups rank Turkmenistan’s government as one of the world’s most repressive, and non-governmental organization activists say Turkmen leaders show little interest in reforming.
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are all classified as “authoritarian states,” with Islam Karimov’s regime in Tashkent singled out for particular censure, in the latest edition of the US State Department's annual human rights report.