Wednesday 1 December 2004
November 30, 2004
Central Asia: Attitudes, Abuse Contribute To Spread Of AIDS (Part 3)
People around the world with HIV/AIDS are often treated as social outcasts, deprived of human dignity as they battle not only the disease, but also religious, social, and cultural stigma. In Central Asia, however, the challenges are often even tougher for those with HIV/AIDS. In some countries, prejudice is actually contributing to the spread of the disease. And reports of abuse are widespread. For example, prisoners in Uzbekistan have reportedly been threatened with injections of the HIV virus for misbehavior. In the third of a four-part series on AIDS in Central Asia, RFE/RL looks at the attitudes of government and religious officials, as well as society in general, to the disease.
November 30, 2004
Central Asia: A Silent Killer Threatens The Region (Part 1)
Over the past two years, HIV/AIDS infections have increased by 40 percent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. According to a new United Nations report released in conjunction with World AIDS Day on 1 December, around 1.4 million people in that region live with AIDS or the virus that causes it. Worst affected are Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic states. But in the first of a four-part series on AIDS in Central Asia, RFE/RL examines the early stages of what could become a regional HIV/AIDS epidemic.
November 24, 2004
Central Asia: Women’s Rights Groups Fight Gender Violence
Tajik women Gender violence is present in every country of the world. But in some conservative societies of inner Asia, it has not even been considered an issue until recently and remains a taboo subject for public discussion. It is not only men committing acts of violence against women. In many cases in these traditional societies, it is older female relatives that are the tormenters. As women’s rights groups across much of Eurasia on 25 November observe an annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, RFE/RL looks at some of the people working to change local opinions about violence against women.
November 19, 2004
Analysis: Tajik Independent Newspaper Waiting For A New Day
Tajikistan's independent weekly "Ruzi Nav" (New Day) has been waiting for what its name promises since tax police shuttered the Jiyonkhon printing press in late August. In the interim, days have stretched into weeks. The newspaper has appealed to both Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov and the international community, tried unsuccessfully to find other printers in Tajikistan, gone to the trouble of running off an edition of the newspaper at a printer in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, and seen that edition confiscated by the transportation tax police at Dushanbe's airport. "Ruzi Nav" now awaits a ruling from Tajikistan's Culture Ministry even as the editors ready a lawsuit.
November 17, 2004
Central Asia: Russia Comes On Strong (Part 2)
Vladimir Putin Russia emerged as a major investor in Central Asia in October. Images of Russia as an economically challenged former superpower faded as President Vladimir Putin and Russian companies visited the area making new deals in the region's energy sector. But Russian gains in Central Asia in October weren't confined solely to investment. In this second of a two-part report, RFE/RL takes a closer look at Russia's moves on Central Asia last month.
November 17, 2004
Central Asia: Russia Comes On Strong (Part 1)
October was a significant month for Russia in terms of its interests in Central Asia. In the years following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia was relegated to helping the region primarily on issues of security. Few considered Moscow to have the financial means to become a major investor in the region. But that has changed. Russian President Vladimir Putin's government now appears to be using the lure of money to bring its former Soviet republics back into its fold. In a two-part series, RFE/RL looks at Russia's recent moves in Central Asia.
November 15, 2004
Central Asia: Tajiks Begin Taking Over Guard Duties From Russians On Southern Border
Russian border guards in Tajikistan have started handing over duty on the Tajik-Afghan frontier to Tajik border guards. Though it is so far happening only along the mountainous eastern stretch of the border, the move marks the first time Tajik guards will be responsible for watching Tajikistan’s southern frontier since the country’s independence in 1991. But some question Tajikistan’s ability to take over from the Russian guards. That is because the frontier is one of the most difficult borders to guard in the CIS and past experience shows that a number of criminal groups operate along it.
November 11, 2004
Tajikistan: President's Remarks On Women And Mosques Draw Sharp Reactions
President Rakhmonov recently supported a ban on women attending mosque (file photo) Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov has backed an edict from the country's Muslim spiritual council that bans women from attending mosque. In an address to the nation on 6 November, Rakhmonov laid out his arguments for supporting the ban, but not everyone is certain of his motives.
November 09, 2004
East: EBRD Report Finds Former Soviet Oil Economies Booming
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) this week confirmed what many in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia had already suspected -- their economies are booming. In its annual Transition Report, released yesterday, the bank said higher oil and other commodity prices are fueling skyrocketing annual growth for many countries. In fact, the former Soviet Union is now the world's second-fastest-growing region in the world -- behind only China and neighboring countries in Asia. But the high prices won't last forever.
November 03, 2004
World: Sampling Of Reaction To U.S. Vote Shows Cautious Optimism
In opinion polls before the 2 November vote in the United States, citizens of countries from Canada to South Korea -- with the notable exceptions of Russia and Israel -- declared an overwhelming preference for Democratic Senator John Kerry to win the U.S. presidential election over Republican incumbent George W. Bush. But as the time neared for declaring an actual winner, international figures and people on the streets displayed a cautious optimism. RFE/RL collects a sampling of various opinions from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and around the world.
October 27, 2004
Central Asia: French Scholar Highlights 'Women Of Authority'
In a recent book, "The Women of Authority in Contemporary Central Asia," French scholar Habiba Fathi asserts that Muslim women in Central Asia not only actively participate in religious life but often come to occupy positions of authority. Fathi's in-field study affirms women's considerable religious presence in Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Last week, Fathi presented her findings at the New York-based Open Society Institute and spoke with RFE/RL.