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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.
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 The EU is proud that protecting human rights is central to its efforts to make the world a better place, and has repeatedly defined this goal as integral to its foreign policy. That’s the theory. The reality often looks different – in Central Asia…
Kazakhstan police officers detain a protester during an opposition rally in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Congress, or at least parts of it, is getting restless with the White House approach to human rights abuses in Central Asia. A recent hearing by the House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on the region’s terrible human rights record…
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Five years ago this month I was in Osh documenting cases of arbitrary arrest, ill treatment and torture in the aftermath of the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. The deep bruises on the body of one man I spoke with are still imprinted on my mind. He…
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EU leaders should encourage president to drop anti-gay laws and free political prisoners

(Berlin)—President Almazbek Atambaev of Kyrgyzstan, one of Central Asia’s smaller and poorer republics, is a man in a hurry.   Last week he was in Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin on closer bilateral ties. This week and next he’s in Europe for talks…
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For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people the law is a paradox. The law can operate as an instrument of repression and control, but also as a tool for resistance and liberation. We find fragments of our collective histories in court records…
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It’s been four years since violent ethnic clashes broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan, and for many, time has moved on. These days, walking down the main streets of Osh, the largest city in southern Kyrgyzstan, you wouldn’t think that burned-out houses and…
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This week, David Cameron has announced a visit to Kazakhstan; the first ever visit by a British leader to Central Asia. On the agenda will be security issues, the pull-out from Afghanistan, and oil and gas. Though the human rights climate in Kazakhstan…
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The chaotic scenes at the trial of a man charged over inter-ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan are damaging the legal process, reports Mihra Rittmann. Even in the basement of the courthouse, safe behind a closed door, I’m sure the defendant could still hear…
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Iran, immigration, Syria, Ghana, Yemen, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Greece, EU & Bahrain...

[View the story "Human Rights Watch Daily Brief, 13 June 2013" on Storify]
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Strange things happen in Bishkek, the Kyrgyzstan capital. One morning this autumn the sounds of loud protests outside parliament almost drowned out conversation in our meeting  nearby. That wouldn’t stand out in cities where street protests are common.…
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Ashton has set herself a benchmark for human rights in foreign policy. Her visit to central Asia will be a tough test.

At the height of summer, when foreign ministers adopted the European Union's new human-rights strategy, Catherine Ashton, the high representative for foreign affairs, was eloquent in promising to make these issues a core ingredient in the EU's foreign…
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BRUSSELS - I can’t help but wonder what Azimjon Askarov would say in reaction to the this week’s EU foreign ministers’ statement  “welcome[ing] the progress”  in implementing the European Union’s strategy for Central Asia? My guess is that Askarov, a 62-…