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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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Sharofiddin Gadoev, a 33-year-old political activist who had fled repression in Tajikistan, was kidnapped by Russian officials during a visit to Moscow. He was forced onto a plane to Tajikistan and paraded around in concocted videos as someone who had…
Opposition figure Sharoffidin Gadoev at a meeting with his relatives in the presence of Tajik Interior Ministry officials in Dushanbe on February 15.
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The news came on May 11. Tajik prosecutors demanded life sentences for four jailed leaders of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), the country’s main opposition party. Authorities also sought to imprison 13 other party leaders for up…
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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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As it considers whether to back a controversial dam in Tajikistan, the World Bank needs to revisit its criteria for funding projects that displace people from their homes.

“Khorsheed” lives on a treeless street in Chorsada 2, a resettlement community in central Tajikistan that the government created for people displaced by its Rogun Dam and Hydropower Project (HPP). The Tajik government says it desperately needs Rogun,…
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Tajikistan faces an energy crisis every winter. The mountainous country, just north of Afghanistan and west of China, has devised a potential solution – build a hydroelectric dam across its churning Vakhsh River. And not just any dam, but potentially one…
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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-…
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Twenty years ago, in July 1991, I was poised to start a job researching human rights violations in the Soviet Union. A month later, the failed coup to unseat Communist Party leader Mikhail Gorbachev precipitated rapid political changes that would lead to…
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Ignoring human rights in favor of stability is backfiring not just in Kyrgyzstan, but all over Central Asia -- big time.

This week's uprising in Kyrgyzstan didn't appear out of nowhere. For the last several years, many of this Central Asian country's people have felt betrayed by a government that came to power promising democracy and reform, but in their eyes delivered…
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How to keep foreign dictators from living large in the U.S.

In sunny Malibu a real estate agent named Neal Baddin helps the playboy son of one of the world's most corrupt leaders buy a $30 million mansion. Teodoro Nguema Obiang lives off money taken from the coffers of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny but oil-rich…
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TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- As the assault on Osama bin Laden and his Taliban protectors in Afghanistan continues into its second week, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan's neighbor to the north, is emerging as one of the most stalwart regional supporters of the U.S.-…
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Few would have predicted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks that the only states willing to host covert U.S. military operations near Afghanistan would be Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In fact, few knew anything about the two Central Asian countries; they…