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Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
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.
News

Governments Should Include Sex Workers in Public Health and Financial Support Responses

Norwegian police have arrested sex workers over accusations that they violated quarantine restrictions. Although not accused of any crime, the workers, from other European countries, face detention and expulsion from Norway. Media reports suggest some…
People demonstrate in support of sex workers, April 14, 2018. 
News

80-Year-Old Jailed for 7 Years for Helping Families of Political Prisoners

Doniyor Nabiev was just trying to help people in need. The 80-year-old man from the Rudaki region of Tajikistan had been sharing his retirement savings with the local families of political prisoners. Over several years he had passed on between $15-$30…
Doniyor Nabiev (file photo).
News

Uphold, Reaffirm Human Rights Protections

(Berlin) – Government responses to the acute human rights challenges posed by Covid-19 across Central Asia negatively affected right to health, media freedoms, and access to justice, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021.…
Uzbek students take open-air entrance exams in Tashkent on September 2, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.
News

Increasing Pressure on Families of Exiled Activists

(Berlin) – Tajik authorities in late November 2020 summoned, interrogated, and threatened family members of Fatkhuddin Saidmukhidinov, a Tajik activist in exile, apparently to force him to cease his online criticism of the government, Human Rights…
Fatkhuddin Saidmukhidinov
News

Rights, Rule of Law Key in Response to Region’s Crises

(Brussels) – The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges…
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.
News

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.
News

Authorities Arbitrarily Detain Son of Political Prisoner

Update: On August 3, 2020, Khisomiddin Rozikov received a letter from the Tajik Prosecutor’s Office, dated July 30, which says that the State Committee for National Security detained Asroriddin Rozikov under Article 307.3, Part 2 of the Criminal Code…
Asroriddin Rozikov
News

Authorities Should Investigate Beating of Abdulloh Ghurbati

8 June 2020 Update: Abdullo Ghurbati was the victim of a further attack in late May. According to Asia Plus, a Tajik media outlet, on May 29, in the southern village Uyali, Ghurbati was approached by three men who alighted from a car as he was…
Abdulloh Ghurbati receives medical help after an attack on May 11, 2020, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
News

Ensure Information Access, Curb Abuses, Protect Detainees

(Berlin) – Governments in Central Asia have failed to consistently uphold human rights obligations in their responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by limiting access to information about the spread of the virus and implementing restrictions…
Kyrgyz law enforcement officers verify drivers and passengers' documents at a check point, after authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital Bishkek.
News
  What are your main concerns about the coronavirus in Asia? Because testing is so poor in most of Asia, we have no visibility about how widespread infections are. Overcrowded cities where social distancing is challenging or impossible also…
Factory workers wearing protective masks return to Dhaka from northern and southern districts in Bangladesh amid the government’s shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, April 4, 2020.
News

Authorities Should Ensure His Safety and Prosecute Two Assailants

This week, two men attacked and injured a Tajik activist living in exile in Lithuania, the latest in a long line of what appear to be politically-motivated attacks on critics of the Tajikistan government. The victim, Ilhomjon…
Ilhomjon Yakubov after the attack on March 16, 2020, Kaunas, Lithuania.
News

Government Could Use Parliamentary Elections as Springboard for Change

The parliamentary elections in Tajikistan on March 1 were sadly a predictable affair. Eurasianet and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that parties close to authoritarian president Emomali Rakhmon won all the seats in an…
202003eca_tajikistan_election
News

Sharipov Case Latest Attempt to Stifle Critical Voices

Update: On April 16, 2020, the Dushanbe Shohmansur court, sentenced Daler Sharipov to one year in prison on charges of incitement of religious discord for printing copies of a dissertation. The trial was closed to the public. Sharipov's…
Daler Sharipov. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrH1GEHu5dE. Accessed by Human Rights Watch on February 20, 2020.
News

End Arbitrary Detention, Speech Restrictions

(Berlin) – Changes in the names and faces of political leaders in Central Asia have brought promises for reforms, but core human rights concerns, such as detention of critics and limits to free speech, remain urgent in all five…
An Uzbekistan cotton grower works in a cotton plantation outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019.
News
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.
News
  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
News
The news this week that Ukraine has become the 100th country to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration—a Norwegian initiative to make schools safer even during war—has me thinking about two schools at almost opposite ends of Europe. They…
Damaged school in Nikishine Rebel fighters deployed inside the school between September 2014 and February 2015 and exchanged intense fire with Ukrainian forces.