Wednesday 1 June 2005
May 26, 2005
Central Asia: Council Of Europe Aims To Expand Democratization Efforts In Region
The Council of Europe, the oldest pan-European political organisation, is interested in developing closer ties with the countries of Central Asia. The Strasbourg-based Council has wide-ranging programs to foster democratisation and human rights. The secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, tells RFE/RL about these plans.
May 25, 2005
World: Amnesty's Global Survey Condemns Governments For Human Rights Failures
The U.S. treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, figures heavily in the Amnesty report Amnesty International says governments are failing to provide principled leadership in the quest for a world order based on respect for human rights. In its annual global survey, released today, the watchdog group says the global war against terrorism has been more effective in eroding human rights principles than in countering violence. The report singles out the United States for particularly harsh criticism. Amnesty says Washington "thumbed its nose at the rule of law" by not properly investigating reports of prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghurayb prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The poor human rights situations in Iran, Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus are also highlighted. But Amnesty says there were signs of hope in 2004, too.
May 16, 2005
Central Asia: AIDS Project Seeks To Avert Epidemic
There are an estimated 500,000 drug users in Central Asia The World Bank has announced a $27-million program to help four Central Asian countries prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Health experts are worried that the region is ripe for an explosion of the disease, due mainly to the rising number of intravenous drug users. A World Bank official who managed the AIDS project for Central Asia says that the initiative, if handled properly, could end the threat of an epidemic in five years and provide a template for regional cooperation on other issues.
May 09, 2005
World War II -- 60 Years After: For Some Central Asians, 'Great Patriotic War' Is More Controversial Than Ever
The 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany is a time for celebration -- but also for controversy. The participation of some Central Asian leaders in Moscow's Victory Day celebrations might indicate that they are backing down from their traditional reluctance to honor the Great Patriotic War. Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's and Uzbek President Islam Karimov's trips to Moscow are seen as significant because they mark the first time those two have officially acknowledged the holiday.
May 03, 2005
Central Asia: Influence of Internet Grows (Part 2)
Today is the UN-declared World Press Freedom Day, an annual observance meant to highlight the importance of a free press for civil societies. In the second-part of a two-part series, RFE/RL looks at press freedom in Central Asia. There, governments have often resorted to "hidden" forms of censorship -- such as restricting news organizations' access to printing houses or broadcast frequencies -- to keep dissenting voices from being heard. But journalists and activists are finding new ways to get their messages heard, including by turning to the Internet. The Internet is still far from being a mass medium in Central Asia but it is becoming an increasingly influential forum for exchanging news and opinions.
May 03, 2005
Central Asia: Media Watchdogs Say Media Far From Free (Part 1)
Uzbek President Islam Karimov Today is the UN-declared World Press Freedom Day, an annual observance meant to highlight the importance of a free press for civil societies. In the first-part of a two-part series, we look at press freedom in Central Asia. The international media-rights group Reporters Sans Frontieres this week listed Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan among the top oppressors of media freedoms last year. Fellow media-watchdog Freedom House went a step further in its annual report, characterizing those two countries as the "worst of the worst" and labeling the remaining Central Asian states as "not free." Kyrgyzstan, however, appears to be using the momentum of its recent revolution to turn things around.
April 29, 2005
World: Was Soviet Collapse Last Century's Worst Geopolitical Catastrophe?
Putin (in file photo) called the USSR's breakup the "biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century" In his state-of-the-nation address on 25 April, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the West by calling the Soviet Union's collapse the "biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." His declaration, however, has caused little stir at home. Political analysts view the Russian president's comments as simply an attempt to lift his declining popularity rating among the elderly.
April 28, 2005
World: Freedom House Report Says Global Press Freedom In Decline
While press freedom made important gains in some countries in 2004, increased restrictions were detected in parts of Asia and the former Soviet Union. That's the crux of an annual report is issued on Thursday by Freedom House, a prominent U.S. non-governmental organization. RFE/RL takes a look at the report ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.
April 23, 2005
World: OSCE Debates Its Election Monitoring
The OSCE -- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- has come under sharp criticism from Russia on the criteria it uses and conclusions it reaches in monitoring elections. Russia charges that the process is politically weighted. Leaders of the organization have just completed a two-day review in Vienna. Debate was lively but few minds appear to have been changed about the way the OSCE decides whether elections are fair and democratic.
April 20, 2005
Turkmenistan's Niyazov Says He Will Retire in 2009
20 April 2005 -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov today told the visiting chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Dimitrij Rupel, that he will not run in Turkmenistan's 2009 presidential elections.