The 12th PERC Summer School “Democracy and freedoms in Europe and Central Asia” took place in Budapest, Hungary, on 9-11 July. In his opening speech PERC President Irakli Petriashvili spoke about challenges to the freedom of association and democracy in the region, growing inequalities and gender gaps, and called all unions to be vigilant and pro-active to prevent further erosion of democracy and to advance workers’ rights and freedoms.
In Tashkent, women facing violence at home have nowhere to go. No one has heard of shelters, and if a woman has no friends or relatives, the situation becomes impossible: no hotel will take a locally registered single woman, on suspicion of prostitution. It’s pointless contacting the police, even in the most desperate circumstances. In a recent case, police refused to accept a statement by a 14-year old girl that she had been raped, because she was “of the age of consent and had no obvious signs of injury”.
Dear Madam and Sirs,
We, the undersigned international human rights organizations, write to you to express our utmost and urgent concern about the ongoing wrongful imprisonment of Azimjon Askarov and the deterioration of his health, and to urge you to advocate with the Kyrgyz government for his immediate release, and his transfer to a safe third country for medical treatment.
For the fourth year in a row, the Government of Turkmenistan failed to meet the minimum standards to address human trafficking outlined in the 2019 US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, resulting in a Tier 3 ranking – the lowest possible ranking.
A criminal case has been brought against Malokhat Eshonkulova, an independent Tashkent-based human rights defender, by the investigative department of the Jizzakh regional police based on a statement by Alisher Abduganiyev, the hokim of the Zaamin district.
It claims to be the Motherland of Prosperity but Turkmenistan’s economy is in chaos and its financial system isn’t working. Many Turkmen begin their day not with a cup of coffee or journey to work, but with a trip to the shops at 6 a.m. to buy a kilo of sugar, as it may disappear from the shelves later, or to stand in line outside the bank.
If the ultimate goal is the eradication of all forced labor in Uzbekistan, Tashkent hasn’t yet achieved it. While most observers concede progress on this front, and welcome greater openness on the part of Uzbek authorities in discussing the cotton industry, the reality remains that some people in Uzbekistan are forced to pick cotton and state policies aid and abet this exploitation. When the overall theme is progress, it becomes all the more important to keep track of persistent challenges and underlying causes; it’s vital to continue open conversations about both.