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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…
News

New Citizenship Law Discriminates Against Muslims

Tens of thousands in India are protesting a discriminatory citizenship law embraced by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on December 12. At the forefront of these protests are students from across India’s universities…
Indian students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University shout slogans during a protest, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 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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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 Murat Tungishbaev away…
A man taking a photo
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Laws on Sedition, Defamation Used Against Critics

Police in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state arrested well-known folk singer S. Kovan last week for singing a song at a protest meeting that criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The arrest was in response to a complaint filed by a…
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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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Lawsuits Mar Former President’s Record

Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court dealt a heavy blow to freedom of speech today by upholding three defamation rulings punishing critics for apparently insulting the “honor and dignity” of the now former president, Almazbek Atambaev. …
Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev addresses a news conference in Berlin, April 1, 2015.
News

Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.
News

Authorities Seek to Dodge International Rights Commitments

Kyrgyz authorities seem determined to amend the country’s constitution despite some strong opposition from within Kyrgyzstan. Legislation that will allow authorities to hold a referendum on constitutional amendments this coming December could go to third…
Members of Kyrgyzstan's parliament attend first session in Bishkek, November 10, 2010.
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The list of activists falling victim to efforts by Indian authorities to curb criticism is growing by the day. On June 17, 2016, the government announced that Sabrang Trust – a group run by activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed…
A police van transports some of those convicted in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat, India on June 2, 2016.
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Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is visiting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan this week – three countries plagued by serious human rights abuses. Uzbekistan has one of the world’s worst human rights records; Tajikistan is in the…
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier attends a news conference after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia, March 23, 2016.
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“It cannot be over-emphasized that when it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance.” With these words, India’s Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment on March 24, struck down Section 66A…
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In May 2012, during a parliamentary debate, Arun Jaitley, then-leader of the opposition, argued that the rules governing the Internet in India restricted such a wide range of expression that they were a threat to free speech. “Now somebody can get up and…
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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…
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Today, Facebook issued its first transparency report, surprising no one in saying that the US government has made more requests for user data than any other country. US surveillance practices are only one of the reasons the country leads the pack:…
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Preventing needless suffering of the terminally ill in India

In January, years of joint advocacy by Human Rights Watch and Indian palliative care groups culminated in the Medical Council of India recognizing palliative care as a specialization of medicine and approving an MD Palliative Care program. Over time, this…