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Stop Harassing Independent Media; Release Editor

(Bishkek) – Kyrgyzstan authorities have stepped up the harassment of journalists and independent media with a slew of criminal investigations into their work in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 29, 2022, following a motion by…
The Kyrgyzstan flag
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An Interview with Hugh Williamson

In many Eastern European and Central Asian countries, media discourse suffers from the freedom of expression not being respected. Nonetheless, the situation is not hopeless, according to Hugh Williamson of Human Rights Watch. He shared his insights in…
Uzbekistan’s media landscape, made up of independent, state-sponsored, and international Uzbek and Russian language media outlets, is in a period of growth and change, as journalists test the boundaries of respect for free expression.
News

An Interview with Hugh Williamson

CABAR.asia: Recently, the authorities of the Central Asian countries have been actively regulating online activities, adopting various laws that help them control the internet. How are things going with the freedom of the internet, with internet…
Uzbekistan’s media landscape, made up of independent, state-sponsored, and international Uzbek and Russian language media outlets, is in a period of growth and change, as journalists test the boundaries of respect for free expression.
News

In Kyrgyzstan, there are people serving time for a crime no longer in the books.

Each week, a young man who sells shoes at a market in southern Kyrgyzstan loses a day of work to travel to the open prison where he is serving a three-year sentence. But the crime for which he was convicted, possession of “extremist” material, no longer…
An airplane trace is seen behind a Kyrgyzstan national flag fluttering in a central square in Bishkek March 11, 2013.
Report
  Summary In 2017, “Sukhrob” was convicted of possessing extremist material in Kyrgyzstan after counterterrorism police raided his home and claimed they found a magazine and three other pages of writing from a banned Islamist…
News

Mandatory Prison for Possessing Banned Pamphlets, Videos

(Bishkek) – Kyrgyzstan is convicting hundreds of people for possessing videos, pamphlets, and books that it has banned using a dangerously overbroad definition of extremism, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Offenders…
Counterterrorism police carry out a search in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on October 16, 2015.
News

Kyrgyzstan’s Crackdown on ‘Extremist Material’

Tell me about your new report on Kyrgyzstan’s crackdown on “extremist” material. This report documents the use of a little-known measure in Kyrgyzstan, article 299-2 of the criminal code, which allows authorities to throw people in prison for…
An airplane trace is seen behind a Kyrgyzstan national flag fluttering in a central square in Bishkek March 11, 2013.
News

During Kyrgyzstan Presidential Visit, EU Leaders Should Press for Greater Media Freedom

Six months after being elected president and taking power in the first peaceful transition between democratically elected leaders in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov is this week making his first official visit to Europe as head of…
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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News

Regional Leaders Should End Repressive Policies

(Berlin) – Political leaders in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan should use the window of opportunity offered by political change in their countries to improve human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. Leaders of…
People attend the opening ceremony of the new Belarussian-built potash plant in Garlyk, Turkmenistan March 31, 2017.
News

Stop Detaining Critics; Respect Independence of Media, Activists

(Brussels) – The European Union should make respect for human rights and an end to decades of repression a core component of its engagement with Central Asian countries, Human Rights Watch said today. In the past year, Central Asia has seen some…
From left to right: Mr Neven MIMICA, Member of the European Commission; Ms Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mr Erlan IDRISSOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan; Mr Erlan ABDYLDAEV
News

Drop Lawsuits; Allow Outlets to Do Their Jobs

(Berlin) – Kyrgyzstan’s General Prosecutor has brought a series of cases against two prominent local media outlets that have been critical of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The outlets are accused of discrediting the honor and…
Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev addresses a news conference in Berlin, April 1, 2015.
News

Activists, Groups Targeted, Persecuted by Authorities

(Berlin) – Central Asian governments ramped up pressure on nongovernmental groups and activists in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016. The governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan arrested…
News

Kerry Should Press to Free Activists, Let Independent Groups Operate

(Washington, DC) – United States Secretary of State John Kerry should publicly express concern over Central Asian governments’ distinctly poor human rights records during his Central Asia visits, beginning October 31, 2015, Human Rights Watch said today…
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Regarding the UN Secretary-General's Trip to Central Asia

Overview of key human rights concerns in Central Asia June 2015 This briefing memorandum highlights Human Rights Watch’s principal areas of concern in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, with a view to…
News
This week I had expected to be writing about a defamation case brought by Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee against an independent journalist in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan. To my surprise, the committee withdrew its complaint, and the court…
News

Prosecutors Refuse to Investigate Torture Despite Overwhelming Evidence

(New York) - Kyrgyz authorities' refusal to investigate torture allegations in a case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court on March 29, 2011,  constitutes a serious violation of both Kyrgyz and international law, Human Rights Watch said today. Farrukh…
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