Health workers in Kyrgyzstan have paid an astoundingly high personal price during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen them forced to work long hours, often without promised additional pay and sometimes with reduced pay, and subjected to a “prison-like” quarantine regime, Amnesty International said in a new report today. According to official data from the Ministry of Health, during the peak of the epidemic from mid-March to 22 July, 29 health workers died. However, unofficial sources put the figure at 40.
Several women residents of Ashgabat disrupted the work of the State Traffic Police department in the capital’s 11th residential suburb at the end of last week. The women were trying to renew their driving licenses, but for two years now the Turkmen authorities have been refusing to accept women’s renewal applications.
The death of the award-winning journalist and human rights defender Azimjon Askarov on 25 July in a Kyrgyz jail was the culmination of a series of injustices and repeated flouting of accountability by the Kyrgyz government. His death – officially by pneumonia but probably of Covid-19 – is no reason to give up the fight for justice. On the contrary, it has become even more crucial that the EU, UN, and other multilateral institutions, governments and donors demand that the Kyrgyz government unconditionally complies with the nation's commitments to human rights and the rule of law.
Reports from Uzbekistan contradict the government's claim that it has phased out its internationally-criticized policy of forcing citizens into farm fields to pick cotton every autumn. Under pressure from the Cotton Campaign, a worldwide coalition of human rights groups and businesses boycotting Uzbek cotton since 2010 over the use of child- and forced-labor in the country, officials in Tashkent say they have ended the practice.
Today on September 14, 2020 near the Embassy of Belarus in Bishkek a peaceful action of support and solidarity with citizens of Belarus took place, demanding observance of principles of fair, free, democratic elections, freedom of peaceful meetings and assemblies, release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
The Ferghana oil refinery is Uzbekistan’s largest – and most sought after. Based in the most densely populated region of Uzbekistan in the Ferghana valley, the mammoth, Soviet-built complex churns out up to 6.5 million metric tons of oil and other petroleum products a year. Dozens of oil trucks are seen daily climbing the narrow Kamchik Pass that links the valley to the rest of Uzbekistan.
Radio Ozodlik, an Uzbek-language service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, reported in June that 287 staffers of the Ferghana refinery sent a group petition to Mirziyoyev’s online reception. Since Mirziyoyev’sascension to power, the reception has become an effective and often the only tool to complain about corruption among Uzbek officials.
On August 10, Bishkek’s Pervomaysk District Court ordered that Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev remain in custody until September 8. In the meantime, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kyrgyzstan is to decide on the request of the Uzbek authorities to extradite the opposition journalist to Uzbekistan. Abdullaev was detained in Kyrgyzstan on August 9 upon the request of officials in Tashkent. He is being held in the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (GKNB) detention facility while Uzbek law enforcement agencies are investigating him for a “number of crimes”, according to UKMK.
The makers of a new Kyrgyz movie say they were denied a distribution license after a film commission objected to scenes showing corrupt government officials. Motherland, by director Mederbek Jalilov, tells the story of a conflict between Kyrgyz villagers and a Chinese investor.
72 Uyghur rights groups are joined by over 100 civil society organisations and labour unions from around the world in calling on apparel brands and retailers to stop using forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Uyghur Region”), known to local people as East Turkistan, and end their complicity in the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.
The Special Commission on Combating Covid-19 has strengthened quarantine measures throughout Uzbekistan from July 10 to August 1. The government has restricted traffic, banned events and weddings, closed parks, markets, large shops and gyms, and prohibited people over 65 from going out.