Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I didn't write much about Uzbekistan last year..

The BBC continues to provide excellent coverage of Central Asia, through its correspondent Natalia Antelava. In late-October she reported on the murder of journalist Alisher Saipov who wrote mainly about Uzbekistan. He was killed over the border in Kyrgyzstan. He was 'critical of the Kyrgyz authorities, which he said have allowed President Karimov's influence to spread beyond the borders of Uzbekistan.'

Natalia expanded on the event in 'From Our Own Correspondent'
Alisher had dedicated his entire life to telling the story of a place that many people know little about: Uzbekistan.
There was one other little detail, though, that I heard on France Inter (I think it was Luc Lemonnier, but I couldn't find it on their website).  In the run-up to the presidential vote [in late-December], the Uzbek people were receiving plentiful supplies of gas, for once. Things were expected to return to normal as soon as the polls closed. 

[18 May] Here is something from the International Crisis Group that I didn't get around to posting before:
Around Rond-Point Schuman, Realpolitikers will present many arguments to support lifting “ineffective sanctions”. But has any good news reached us from Uzbekistan in the meantime? Has the repression of journalists, human rights defenders or non-governmental organisation members softened? Has the situation in the prisons, in the court rooms – where allegations of torture are never taken into account – improved? Or in the cotton fields, where children are obliged to work in conditions close to slavery? ... Diplomacy being what it is and politics having its reasons que la raison ne connaît pas there will be voices in Europe... ("Europe’s Reasons without Reason", 8 February 2007, European Voice. Alain Délétroz,  vice-president (Europe) of the ICG).
Update (5 Feb): the BBC WS had a story on the release of a reporter who provided on-the-spot accounts of the events in Andijan. It seems that pressure from the EU is having some small effect...

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