Central Asian States Disregard LGBT Rights

Image courtesy Guillaume Paumier

  Throughout Central Asia, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people must hide their sexual orientation for fear of violence, extortion by the authorities, and even arrest. The lack of protections for this population creates a human rights issue. In the Soviet era, homosexuality was criminalized and could lead to several years in prison. Since [Read More…]

Central Asia: Balancing National Security with the Freedom of Religion

Sher-Dor Madrasa in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Since September 11, 2001 all five Central Asian countries have enacted legislation restricting religious freedoms in an attempt to curb the rise of radical Islamic terrorism. The new laws have had a damaging effect on the free practice of religion. In 2004, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, stated [Read More…]

Water Scarcity in Central Asia May Lead to Conflict

The Amu Darya or Oxus River seen from Uzbekistan looking towards Turkmenistan.

Water scarcity is a looming problem throughout the world, particularly affecting developing nations such as the Central Asian states. Approximately 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and the number of people affected by severe water stress could increase to over 3.9 billion by 2030. In Central Asia, obtaining an equitable [Read More…]

Made in Kazakhstan: Migrant Child Labor in Kazakhstan’s Tobacco Fields

Child worker in one of Kazakhstan’s tobacco fields. Photo credit: Filip Spagnoli

Despite national and international laws prohibiting children from working in tobacco fields, many migrant youth in Kazakhstan reportedly spend up to thirteen hours per day harvesting Philip Morris Kazakhstan’s (PMK) tobacco leaves during the hottest months of the year. Most of the children have migrated with their families from other Central Asian countries to work [Read More…]

Kazakhstan: Human Rights Defender Faces Unfair Trial

By Annamaria Racota On September 3, 2009 a Kazakh court found Evgeniy Zhovtis guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to four years in prison for a car accident that killed a young man. On appeal, the court upheld the sentence of the lower court. Zhovtis is the director of the Kazakhstan Bureau on Human Rights [Read More…]