Saturday 8 January 2005
December 15, 2004
Central Asia: New Report Says Banking Woes Hurting Some Central Asian Economies
A new report by the international credit rating agency Standard & Poor's sheds an unflattering light on the banking systems of Central Asia. The report says Kazakhstan has the region's most advanced banking system and accounts for 5 percent of banking assets in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). But the report says the rest of Central Asia lags far behind due to the failure of governments to enact economic and regulatory reforms.
December 13, 2004
East: Yushchenko One Of Many Leaders To Seek Foreign Health Care
Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) On 11 December, doctors announced that Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has been suffering from the effects of dioxin poisoning. The news appeared to put an end to months of speculation about the mystery illness that has disfigured Yushchenko's face. But it did not come from doctors in Kyiv. It came from Vienna, where Yushchenko has sought medical care since falling ill on the presidential campaign trail in September. His case, however, highlights numerous other examples of leaders in the former communist world who travel abroad for medical care. Why do they do it? Is it simply due to decrepit post-Soviet health care? Or are these leaders worried about their citizens discovering the true state of their frail health?
December 10, 2004
Central Asia: Trend Is Away From Capital Punishment
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany is noted for being the first sovereign state to abolish the death penalty, in 1786. Today, more than 130 countries have stopped executing prisoners in practice, and of those, around 80 have abolished capital punishment completely. Even in Central Asia, a region not known for its attention to human rights, the death penalty has been on the decline. As the world marks Human Rights Day today, RFE/RL looks at progress being made to rid Central Asia of what Amnesty International calls the "ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights."
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
Turkmenistan: UN Panel Expresses 'Grave Concern' At Abuses
A UN General Assembly committee has approved a resolution expressing "grave concern" at human rights abuses in Turkmenistan. The resolution cites repression of political opposition activities and harassment of people seeking freedom of expression, including local correspondents of Radio Liberty. But the measure also sought to acknowledge recent steps by Turkmenistan to cooperate with international rights monitors. The country's foreign minister denied the most serious charges in the resolution.
November 18, 2004
Central Asia: Uneasy Summit As Karimov Meets Turkmenbashi
'Turkmenbashi' Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov and Uzbek President Islam Karimov are widely considered to be the leaders of Central Asia's most repressive governments. They also have clearly shown that they are not friends. Turkmenistan accused Tashkent of involvement in an assassination attempt on Niyazov in 2002. But tomorrow, the two leaders are set to meet for the first time in four years. At their summit, the presidents are expected to discuss their only topics in common -- their border and rational use of their meager water supplies.
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.