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Qishloq Ovozi

Are Central Asia government institutions, such as Turkmenistan's People's Council, fit for purpose? (illustrative photo)

This week's Majlis comes from the Connecting Central Asia in the 21st Century conference hosted by Oxford University on April 25.

We will be discussing how Central Asian governments can transform themselves into reliable international partners as the region assumes a larger role in global trade networks.

Significant societal changes are already under way, but are the governments of Central Asia building the legislative foundations to meet the challenges that come with assuming a more prominent international role?

The regular Majlis moderator, Muhammad Tahir, was unable to moderate this session from Washington, D.C., so, since I was at the Oxford conference, I moderated this one. (The podcast includes questions from the audience at the event.)

Our panelists were David Lewis, from the University of Exeter, and Simon Pirani, from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

NOTE: Since this session was conducted in a conference hall, the audio is at times not great.

Majlis Podcast: The Question Of Connectivity In Central Asia
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes.

Mahmadali Hayit in April 2007

On March 20, Human Rights Watch released a statement calling on Tajik authorities to immediately release Mahmadali Hayit, the deputy leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), from prison. The statement said Hayit was seriously ill and had been tortured.

In May 2018, the working group on arbitrary detention at the United Nations Human Rights Council released a statement saying the detention of Hayit violated international law and urging Hayit be released immediately and "accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law."

Hayit remains in prison.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on Hayit's situation.

From Germany, independent Tajik journalist Humayra Bakhtiyar joined the conversation. From Uzbekistan, our friend Steve Swerdlow, the Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, took part in the talk. From Prague, Salimjon Aioubov, the acting director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, known locally as Ozodi, participated in the discussion. And I had something to say also.

Majlis Podcast: The Continuous Torture Of A Tajik Opposition Leader
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes.

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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.