Friday 1 October 2004
September 17, 2004
Central Asia: NGOs Face Rising Tide Of Suspicion From Governments (Part 2)
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) face a double challenge in Central Asia. Not only must they carry out their difficult mission, but they must also contend with often-hostile authorities. The Central Asian countries are in the processes of a radical transition and suspicions of the motives of foreign NGOs are easily aroused among officials. In the second of a two-part series, RFE/RL correspondent Bruce Pannier looks at the trials and tribulations of foreign NGOs in Central Asia. To see Part 1, click here --> /featuresarticle/2004/09/521ae994-dbf2-4ea3-a36a-c9d3215ea1f4.html .
September 17, 2004
Central Asia: NGOs Helping To Develop Civil Society (Part 1)
Working with refugees is one of the many areas NGOs focus on in the region In free societies, individuals and groups often pursue their interests -- and safeguard them -- in ways that are independent of the state. Collectively, their private actions belong to what is termed "civil society" -- and are the foundation of any democracy. Yet while vital to helping repressed peoples achieve greater political freedom, civil society is not born overnight. It takes time -- and hard work -- to develop. And that's where nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are playing a key role in Central Asia and Afghanistan as they seek to overcome decades of authoritarianism and war. This is the first of a two-part series on NGOs in Central Asia. To see Part 2, click here --> /featuresarticle/2004/09/4ad7f4c1-8aad-481a-a6b3-d7d3201dc023.html .
September 01, 2004
U.S.: Former Rights Official Discusses Challenges In Central Asia, Iraq
The U.S. State Department's former top human rights official, Lorne Craner, spent much of the past three years grappling with the challenge of pressing reforms with new U.S. allies in the war on terror. During his final few months in office this year, the State Department de-certified Uzbekistan for economic aid and helped censure Turkmenistan in the UN Human Rights Commission. Craner says such actions demonstrate that, despite accusations to the contrary, the Bush administration has maintained human rights as a foreign policy priority. Craner talked with RFE/RL on the sidelines of the Republican Party convention in New York.
August 30, 2004
Analysis: A River Runs Through It
Ashgabat already boasts a 40-meter-high, gold-plated statue of President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov that rotates a full 360 degrees each day, the better to bask in the full glory of the sun's rays. But the Turkmen capital lacks one indispensable accoutrement of a truly great city -- a mighty river. Now, plans are afoot to remedy nature's oversight. And while they are of a piece with other grandiose projects conceived under the watchful eye of Niyazov, they are also part of an older Soviet legacy of schemes to subordinate and remake the natural world.
August 30, 2004
Turkmenistan: Projects Sounding Alarm Bells In Region (Part 2)
Turkmenistan is planning to build a lake and river in an effort to create a reliable storage area for water, expand farmland, and make the capital, Ashgabat, more attractive. Neighboring states are watching these projects with alarm, however. Previous water-diversion projects in Central Asia have left a devastating environmental legacy, the most visible being the dying Aral Sea. Rational use of water is a priority in the region, and many analysts cite disputes over water as being among the more likely causes of friction between the Central Asian states. In the second of two parts, RFE/RL looks at how the Turkmen water projects are being viewed outside Turkmenistan, particularly by its neighbors.
August 30, 2004
Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Has Grand Plans To Create Man-Made Lake, River (Part 1)
Turkmenistan, a country that is 80 percent desert, is taking dramatic action to meet its water needs. The government is building a massive lake in the desert, and now there are plans for a man-made river through the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat. With a burgeoning population and plans to increase agricultural output, there is a need for better, and more secure, supplies of water in Turkmenistan. The problem is that much of Central Asia shares the same need, and there is a limited amount of water. Earlier schemes to bring water to areas where it was deemed more necessary have, in some cases, resulted in massive environmental disasters. In the first of a two-part series, RFE/RL looks at Turkmenistan's grand water projects.
August 26, 2004
Central Asia: Japanese Foreign Minister Begins Tour To Unveil New 'Silk Route' Policy
Japan's Foreign Minister Yokiro Kawaguchi arrived in Uzbekistan today, starting a tour that will take her to four Central Asian states and Mongolia. Kawaguchi is due to give a speech in Tashkent that will articulate Tokyo's new policy toward the Silk Route countries. Kawaguchi's trip was already something of a success even before she left Japan, considering the Japanese Foreign Ministry has arranged a rare event in Central Asia -- a meeting in Astana that will include the foreign ministers of all five Central Asian states. RFE/RL correspondent Bruce Pannier looks at Kawaguchi's tour and Japan's new strategy in the region.
August 18, 2004
OSCE: Organization Shifting To Focus Greater Attention On Central Asia, Caucasus
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should consider paying extra attention to Central Asia and the Caucasus. That's the view of the OSCE's current chairman, Solomon Pasi. Pasi, who is also Bulgaria's foreign minister, says it makes sense now to concentrate on those parts of the world, in view of new international realities. He also said it would be "far more useful" to hold the OSCE's major annual economic forum in Central Asia rather than in Central Europe. RFE/RL reports on what looks like a shift in emphasis for the 55-member OSCE, which is Europe's largest security and rights body.
July 22, 2004
Kyrgyzstan: Outspoken Ombudsman Possesses Unique Regional Voice
Central Asia is a region where few dare challenge the will of the presidents. Most officials follow their president's lead, and what attempts there are to find an official to act as a bridge, a mediator, between the people and the government are usually made to serve the interests of the authorities. But there is one man, the ombudsman in Kyrgyzstan, who routinely voices opinions that contradict the government's views.
July 21, 2004
Turkmenistan: Government Orders People Out Of Their Homes In Name Of 'Urban Renewal'
The Turkmen government is ordering people in the capital Ashgabat to vacate their homes on short notice. These victims of the city's plan to create space for new upscale building projects -- are not receiving new homes or any compensation for their loss. They are simply told to leave and to find a new place to live.
July 16, 2004
Western Press Review: Anglo-American Intelligence Failures, Uzbekistan's Human Rights Record, And A Wellspring Of Trouble In Turkmenistan
Prague, 16 July 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Among the topics at issue in some of the major dailies today are the release of two separate reports, in the United States and Britain, documenting intelligence failures in the run-up to war in Iraq; frozen aid and human rights in Uzbekistan; and Turkmenistan's "troubled waters." We also hear from the widow of Paul Klebnikov, the editor of the Russian edition of "Forbes" magazine, who was slain last week in Moscow.