Friday 1 April 2005
April 01, 2005
U.S.: Freedom House Unveils World's Worst Regimes
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov was criticized in new report Freedom House has released its annual list of the world's most repressive regimes. Six of the 18 are members of the UN's Commission on Human Rights, which is supposed to monitor and condemn human rights violations. Others include the former Soviet republics of Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
March 31, 2005
Kyrgyzstan: Are Further Revolutions Inevitable In The CIS?
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has concentrated power in his extended family. (file photo) Following uprisings in Georgia and Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev last week became the third post-Soviet leader in recent months to be felled by a popular uprising. The speed of Akaev's demise surprised many observers, prompting questions about what made his regime so fragile. Some are now asking who will be next in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)?
March 25, 2005
Central Asia: Regional Officials Cautious As Oppositions Rejoice At Events In Kyrgyzstan
Putin (in file photo) broke a virtual silence among regional leaders on events in Kyrgyzstan The official response in Central Asia has been muted to the swift ouster of President Askar Akaev's administration on Thursday. Such caution is to be expected in a region populated by regimes with notoriously spotty records on democracy and human rights. Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped into that void during a visit to Armenia on Friday, condemning what he described as "illegitimate" efforts to overthrow the Kyrgyz government. But he also hastened to say that Moscow knows the Kyrgyz opposition well and wants to maintain relations with Bishkek.
March 24, 2005
Central Asia: Neighboring Opposition Movements Keep Close Eye On Kyrgyz Events
Will the Turkmen opposition be closer to unseating Saparmurat Niyazov? The uprising in Kyrgyzstan -- where weeks of opposition protests led to the storming of the government building on Thursday -- could mark Central Asia's first real departure from post-Soviet leadership. The governments of nearby Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan are watching developments in Kyrgyzstan with trepidation. But opposition leaders in these countries are following events with a different mindset.
March 23, 2005
Uzbekistan: Faces Tough Questioning By UN Rights Committee
A UN panel charged with monitoring a major international human rights treaty has found numerous problems with Uzbekistan's implementation of rights obligations. Independent experts on the UN Human Rights Committee signaled dissatisfaction with the country's response to questions on a range of issues including torture, executions, violence against women, and prison conditions. Uzbek officials cited progress in reducing the number of prisoners and in carrying out recommendations of an international rapporteur on torture. But they acknowledged challenges in reforming their justice system.
March 17, 2005
Uzbekistan: Opposition Leader Tells RFE/RL About 'Farmers' Revolution'
Nigora Hidoyatova is one of the harshest critics in Uzbekistan of President Islam Karimov. Hidoyatova is the leader of the Ozod Dehqonlar (Free Peasants) opposition party. The party was formed in late 2003, but has failed to receive official registration and thus could not participate in December's parliamentary polls. In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL, Hidoyatova speaks about her personal security, her party's new political program, and the importance of the youth movement in Uzbekistan.
March 16, 2005
U.S.: Bush Insists Iraq 'Coalition Of The Willing' Not Crumbling
U.S. President George W. Bush (file photo) U.S. President George W. Bush held an unexpected news conference at the White House on 16 March in which he faced questions about the dwindling military coalition in Iraq, the European and American effort to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions and suspicions that the United States is sending suspected foreign militants to their home countries, where they might face torture during interrogations.
March 16, 2005
Uzbekistan: Tashkent Property Market Loses Its Luster
Known as the "Star of the East" in the Soviet Union, the Uzbek capital Tashkent boasts two and a half million inhabitants. That makes it the largest city in Central Asia. But Tashkent appears to have lost some of its luster in the eyes of people in the property business. A recent government effort to encourage mortgage lending in Uzbekistan is aimed at helping boost the real-estate sector. But as RFE/RL reports from Tashkent, it is not clear that the country is prepared to embrace such plans.
March 14, 2005
East: News Advocacy Group Says Media Constrained In Former USSR
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said today that 2004 was the deadliest year for the news industry in a decade. The organization's annual report, issued at a news conference in Washington, said 56 journalists were killed. Some died while covering dangerous stories, such as wars, but the majority were murdered. The CPJ said journalists also felt other pressures, and it singled out Russia and the other former Soviet countries, accusing them of using a variety of ways to keep news from their peoples. The only exceptions in the region were Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, which the CPJ says have established "strong press-freedom traditions." It also says the recent developments in Ukraine are hopeful signs that it, too, will shift from repression to candor.
March 14, 2005
Central Asia: Interview With Political Cartoonist Ted Rall
Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov (file photo) Ted Rall, a widely syndicated American cartoonist, is among the small number of people who draw political cartoons about Central Asia. His cartoons are regularly published in eurasianet.org, an NGO-run information provider on Central Asia and the Caucasus. In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL, Rall discusses his interest in the region and his latest cartoon -- about Turkmenistan's plans to shut down regional hospitals. RFE/RL correspondents Khiromon Bakoeva and Golnaz Esfandiari report.