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Government Should Reduce Pretrial Detention, Strengthen Judicial Independence

“We are tired of living like this, we live worse than animals,” a Haitian prisoner recently told the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). His testimony and those of the more than 800 prisoners in 12 jails are part of a comprehensive…
A detainee pulls a large stock pot filled with rice and beans during lunch inside the National Penitentiary in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Febuary. 13, 2017. 
News

EU Should Press for Inquiry Over Death of Rights Defender

On July 25, 2020, Azimjon Askarov, a 69-year-old human rights defender from Kyrgyzstan, died in prison after contracting pneumonia. Askarov had been in prison for 10 years, having been given a life sentence following an unjust and unfair trial in 2010…
Azimzhan Askarov Pictured here during hearings at the Bishkek regional court, Kyrgyzstan, October 4th, 2016.  
News

Both Sides Should Abide by Laws of War

Update: On May 3, 2021, Tajik authorities reported that 14 houses were fully destroyed, 4 buildings including a secondary school were damaged, and 15,000 people were evacuated from the three districts of Isfara, in Tajikistan’s Sughd region,…
Cars damaged during a firefight on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border are seen near the settlement of Koi-Tash, Batken region, Kyrgyzstan, April 30, 2021.
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Authorities Should Provide Justice, End to Deadly Crime Against Women

On April 5, several men abducted 27-year-old Aizada Kanatbekova in broad daylight in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. One of them had allegedly been stalking her for months. Two days later, a farmer found Kanatbekova’s body in a car outside Bishkek…
People attend a rally for the protection of women's rights in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, protesting the kidnapping and killing of Aizada Kanatbekova, April 8, 2021. The banner reads, "The Authorities are Responsible for Femicide."
News

End Sweeping Border Expulsions, Re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status

In 1993, when I was a junior staff member at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, I saw first-hand the tragic repercussions of US President Bill Clinton’s failure to follow through on the promise he made as a candidate to…
A migrant from Haiti wearing a mask in the colors of the Mexican and US flags stands at a border crossing with others, waiting to asylum in the US, February 19, 2021. 
News

Self-Defence Against Domestic Violence Should Count at Trial

Gulzhan Pasanova could spend 10 years in prison because in defending herself from her abusive husband, he died. On October 22, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan will consider her case on appeal. In November 2019, Pasanova’s husband, accusing her of…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Authorities Need to Safeguard Democratic Processes

It has been a week since people in Kyrgyzstan took to the street to contest the outcome of Kyrgyzstan’s October 4 parliamentary elections. While protesters succeeded in pushing the Central Election Committee to annul the outcome of the elections,…
Protesters react waving Kyrgyz national flags as they wait for Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sadyr Zhaparov speech in front of the government building in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.
News

Azimjon Askarov at Risk of Covid-19 Exposure, Requires Urgent Medical Care

Human rights defender Azimjon Askarov has spent 10 years in prison in Kyrgyzstan. He is now seriously ill and at extreme risk of contracting Covid-19. Askarov’s lawyer, Valeryan Vakhitov, visited him in prison on July 22. He told me that Askarov is…
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Encouraging Signs They Are Set to Take More Leading Role

The Nordic countries proudly express steadfast commitment to human rights as a priority in foreign policy, but have been disappointingly inconsistent in practice. Sweden launched a feminist foreign policy in 2014 – a laudable approach that failed…
An Icelandic flag hangs outside a shop in Reykjavik, October 27, 2016.
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Man Who Abused Wife in Viral Video Sentenced to Probation Only

After years of monitoring violence against women in Kyrgyzstan, and seeing little done to punish abusers, we thought this time might finally be different. It wasn’t. It looked like an open and shut case. The horrific abuse was captured on video…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan. © Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Calls to Strengthen Justice and Support for Abuse Survivors

A video depicting horrific domestic abuse, circulating recently on social media in Kyrgyzstan, shows a man slapping his wife and pouring water over her head. The woman’s hands are tied behind her back, and tires, weighted down with stones, hang over her…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan.
News

Azimjon Askarov’s Final Appeal to Be Heard May 13

After nearly 10 years in prison, an ailing human rights defender will plead his case for freedom before Kyrgyzstan’s highest court this week.   Azimjon Askarov, who is serving a lifetime sentence after multiple, egregious …
Ethnic Uzbek journalist Azimzhan Askarov, who was arbitrarily arrested, tortured, convicted after an unfair trial and jailed for life looks through metal bars during hearings at the Bishkek regional court, Kyrgyzstan.
News

Past Raids Led to Killings, Rape

Last week Haiti’s minister of justice and public security announced that government forces would conduct a raid to curb gang violence in Village de Dieu, a low-income neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. He gave “good people” 72 hours to…
People go about their day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.
News

Domestic Violence Services Need to Be Classified As “Essential”

Under Kyrgyzstan’s present state of emergency, which includes a curfew from 8pm to 7am, it has become a lot more difficult for women to escape domestic violence. Many are too afraid to call the police or help centres, says Tolkun…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Unjust Detention of Azimjon Askarov Puts His Health at Risk

Governments in Central Asia have in recent days stepped up measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. On March 22, Kyrgyzstan’s government declared a state of emergency and introduced restrictions on public life.…
Ethnic Uzbek journalist Azimzhan Askarov, who was arbitrarily arrested, tortured, convicted after an unfair trial and jailed for life looks through metal bars during hearings at the Bishkek regional court, Kyrgyzstan.
News

Museum Director Resigns in Wake of Violent Threats

The “Feminnale” exhibition at Kyrgyzstan’s National Art Museum in Bishkek centers on the theme of economic independence for women, intentionally challenging gender norms in the country. But instead of treating the event as an…
People march through the center of Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek for International Women's Day, March 8, 2019.
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Merkel should Raise Rights Concerns, Call for Activist’s Release

It’s been four years since a Kyrgyz president visited Germany, a period of change and some progress. In October 2017, Kyrgyzstan held competitive, peaceful elections ushering in a new president. The country has started negotiations to upgrade…
Kyrgyz President-elect Sooronbai Jeenbekov (front) attends an inauguration ceremony at the Ala-Archa state residence outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan November 24, 2017.
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European Union Should Press for Azimjon Askarov’s Release

For the last eight and a half years, Azimjon Askarov, a 68-year-old human rights defender from Kyrgyzstan, has not been able to embrace his wife, play with his grandkids, or enjoy Iftar feasts with friends and family during the holy…
News

Kyrgyz Government Flagrantly Denies Activist’s Rights, Violates Their Obligations

Kyrgyzstan has extradited a Kazakhstan activist back to his country – even though he faces politically-motivated criminal charges and is at risk of being tortured. It is utterly outrageous. Kyrgyz officers took…
Muratbek Tungishbaev. Photo from June 19, 2018.
News

Government Should Do More to End ‘Bride Kidnapping,’ Protect Victims

The 20-year-old woman from Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, was headed for a medical career and marriage to the man she loved. Instead, she was murdered by a jealous admirer who had “bride kidnapped” her to force her into marriage. It is…
Screenshot from a video showing a photograph of Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy.