Searched the resource database for : All Results AND Regions=Turkmenistan
Haven't found what you are looking for? To further refine your search: Click on the 'advanced search' menu to filter by title, abstract, source, and/or publication date; to include or exclude multiple resource categories, regions or topics.
Abstract: The war in Afghanistan has added considerably to the strategic significance of Central Asia due to its proximity to the conflict. Moreover, the continuation of the war increasingly involves the vital interests of many other actors other than the U.S. and NATO forces currently there. This monograph, taken from SSI's conference with European and Russian scholars in 2010, provides a comprehensive analysis of the means and objectives of Russia's involvement in Central Asia. It also provides Russian perspectives concerning the other actors in Central Asia and how Moscow views the policy significance of those efforts.
Abstract: This briefing paper tracks the evolution of, and trends in, U.S. military and police aid to
Central Asian countries pre- and post-9/11. In particular, it seeks to identify assistance
associated with agreements with countries in the region to provide base and transit access
to United States and allied militaries for the war in Afghanistan. While the United States
does not pay “rent” for military bases, this report includes a primer on the relevant U.S.
military aid programs (both traditional and new) that are used as compensation for basing
and other access rights, including for Central Asian participation in the recently launched
Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a land-based supply route for U.S. and allied forces
that runs through Central Asia to Afghanistan. The U.S. government has no comprehensive budget for the assistance it provides
to the police, militaries, and other Central Asian security forces; however,
in the fullest accounting available to date, this report documents that the United States provided at least $145 million in military aid through 19 different budgets
and programs in one year (fiscal year 2007). This amount is nearly half of the total
of $329 million that the U.S. government gave to Central Asian governments in
2007, and it is six times the amount the U.S. government spent to promote rule of
law, democratic governance, and respect for fundamental human rights in that same year.
Abstract: Afghanistan’s neighbors that garner the most attention in policy debates about resolving its conflicts are Iran and Pakistan. The five post-Soviet states to Afghanistan’s north—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—also will have a hand in determining Afghanistan’s future, though their relevance is often discounted and there is little understanding of exactly what their role might be. Joshua Foust’s paper explains how and why these bordering countries do not view the war in Afghanistan in the same terms as do the United States, Russia, Europe, or the Security Council collectively. In some cases, the interests of these Central Asian neighbors run counter to those of the more global players seeking to determine Afghanistan’s future. In this paper he explores:
* Transnational Threats. The Central Asian states face two major threats to the stability of their brittle regimes, which are exacerbated by uncertainty in Afghanistan: criminal networks (especially human and narcotics trafficking) and Islamic extremism.
* Regional Economic Development. The potential for economic gain, whether through cooperative resource extraction, international trade, or energy production, could be a vehicle for realizing broader engagement with Afghanistan by Central Asia’s countries.
* Contributions to a Regional Solution in Afghanistan. While they are currently preoccupied with internal issues, Foust sees considerable opportunity for increasing cooperation among countries in the region in an effort to aid the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Abstract: With the US-led West getting about to withdraw from Afghanistan - the real upsurge for the crucial region historically known as the Between and Betwixt of Empires is about to begin in earnest. This will be a confluence - a perfect storm - of the revival and resurrection of historic mega-trends under contemporary conditions. Most important are the revival of the original Russian-Chinese “Great Game”. For almost three centuries, Central Asia was the preeminent zone of confrontation between China’s Manchu Dynasty (1644-1912) and Russia’s Romanov Dynasty (1613-1917). Now, the Heart of Asia has once again become the zone Between and Betwixt Empires in more than mere geopolitical terms. However, what makes the current situation uniquely explosive and dangerous is the surge of the Jihadist movement - emboldened by its enduring of the US/ISAF war in Afghanistan and Pakistan - as a most vibrant and violent force that is setting the Heart of Asia aflame. The Jihadist movement is facilitating the Chinese ascent as a global hegemon in return for a Chinese umbrella against US and Western retaliation. This confluence of historic and grand strategic mega-trends constitutes not only a threat to the quintessential vital interests of Russia - but to the well-being of the entire industrialized North.
Abstract: Kyrgyzstan’s violence underscores the instability of those former Soviet governments which are burdened by authoritarian and corrupt rule. To varying degrees, every Central Asian country faces serious threats at home and from the war in neighboring Afghanistan. They need help. The West and Russia should act, including by engaging the underutilized Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Central Asia -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- is insecure. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have ethnic kin fighting in Afghanistan who might target repressive rulers at home. The extremist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is becoming more threatening. The recent cessation of U.S. support for eradicating poppy fields in Afghanistan will spur narcotics trafficking via Central Asia. Economic challenges and rampant corruption undermine security. The area is rich in oil and gas mainly in the Caspian region and America and its companies have an important stake in the development of its huge oil reserves and diversification of world oil supplies. That said, high unemployment and dashed expectations in impoverished Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan could provoke social explosions. Most people in Turkmenistan remain poor despite its huge natural gas reserves. In Kazakhstan oil development raises many but not all living standards. A major Central Asia security initiative – made more urgent by developments in Kyrgyzstan – could offer content worthy of a summit.
Abstract: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are active fronts in the wider conflict against violent extremism centered on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although these states are less prominent in discussions about U.S. security interests in the region than nuclear-armed Pakistan, their stability is an important and unacknowledged component of the AfPak equation. And, as conditions in Afghanistan continue to deteriorate, the menace of jihadism could eventually worsen into a strategic threat for Central Asian states, particularly when paired with a succession crisis, natural disaster, or other sudden shock. Beyond threatening indigenous regimes, some Central Asia militants have also demonstrated a clear intent to mount operations against foreign targets, both within the broader region and, in the case of the Sauerland Plot, in the European Union.
Alarmist predictions have dogged Central Asia since the breakup of the Soviet Union, yet the region has proved remarkably resilient. Despite Tajikistan’s civil war and episodic outbreaks of violence in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, stability has been the rule and disorder the exception. Amid much ambiguity, the region has “muddled through.” It may continue to do so, but declining labor remittances, looming succession struggles, latent ethnic tensions, counterproductive government policies, and returning militants are conspiring against the forces of stasis.
Abstract: This is the 12th FCO Annual Report on Human
Rights. The report sets out the UK’s work and
policy on human rights in 2009, and explains the
importance of human rights across our foreign
policy goals. It highlights our main policies,
countries of concern and the challenges we
face. It demonstrates how we seek to address
these issues through diplomatic channels and
international bodies, as well as our programme
work across the globe. However, many of the issues covered in these pages
highlight the growing tendency to once again claim
human rights as a “Western” construct, unsuited to
particular cultures and countries. In the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea, the government continues
to insist that national security and cultural differences
invalidate human rights obligations and justify
subjecting humanitarian workers to severe restrictions.
In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi is incarcerated on
the basis of similar arguments that her battle for
Foreword by the Foreign Secretary
democracy undermines national security. Women are
still denied their human rights in many parts of the
world, on the basis that culture and religion render
those rights inapplicable. The increasing threat to
gay people’s rights in some African countries reminds
us that tolerance is a dream rather than a reality for
much of the world’s population.
But this report also shows how people around the
world are pushing back against the idea that human
rights are not universal – in 2009 demonstrators
in Guinea and Honduras demanded their rights to
democracy, human rights defenders from Belarus
to Syria continued to protest against injustice and
worldwide, individuals and groups continue to work
to realise the rights of all. We have a responsibility
to applaud these efforts, and to support them by
challenging the notion that human rights depend on
culture and circumstance.
Abstract: The threat posed by radical Islam has invariably been perceived as the
most serious challenge to stability in Central Asia since 1991. Fears were
raised by the Islamic revolution which had developed internally in Cent ral
Asia, the external invasion of radicals (from Afghanistan) and Islamic terrorism.
Combating the Islamic threat became one of the key elements of
individual Central Asian countries’ security policies and those adopted
by regional and global powers towards this region. The Islamic threat
hanging over Central Asia also became a regular issue raised in media
discourse and in debates within analysts’ circles.
Numerous conflicts and tensions in both Central Asia and its immediate
neighbourhood seemed to provide grounds for such fears, which politicians
and analysts alike have shared since the collapse of the USSR. Ini tially,
the destructive influence from war-torn Afghanistan and from Iran, which
was engaged in a policy of exporting its Islamic revolution, raised especially
great concerns. The facts which seemed to prove that the risk was
real included the civil war in Tajikistan (1992–1997), during which the
Islamic Rebirth Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) played a key role on the side of
the opposition; Muslim militias’ attempts to take power in the Uzbek part
of the Fergana Valley (1991–1995); the activity of the Islamic Movement
of Uzbekistan (attempts at armed raids against Uzbekistan with the aim
of setting up a caliphate in 1999 and 2000); terrorist attacks (including
the series of attacks in Uzbekistan in 2004); the rebellion in Andijan
Abstract: The essay will explore the role of the economy and social well-being and its impact on the transition to peace. I advance two arguments: First, when economic opportunities diminish, grievances are more likely to become expressed through violence, while in an environment of increasing economic opportunities, political grievances will not result in violence, even if the grievances are considerable. Second, when economic and social opportunities exist, the transition to peace is more sustainable. Hence in post-conflict peacebuilding, more effort should be made to create economic opportunities in order to increase the probabilities of lasting peace. I examine these arguments in the case of several Central Asian countries.
Abstract: In the past month, two seemingly unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint: an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China.
At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world's energy resources. Early this summer, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted a sharp drop in world oil reserves. According to energy expert Michael Klare, the "era of cheap and plentiful oil is drawing to a close," and is likely to result in "a new era of cutthroat energy competition."
In early July, after a full-court press by Washington and an agreement to increase its yearly rent, Kyrgyzstan reversed a decision to close the U.S. base at Manas, thus giving the United States a powerful toehold in the countries bordering the oil- and gas-rich Caspian Basin.
While Manas is portrayed as a critical base in the ongoing campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the war in Central Asia is less over "terrorism" than it is over energy. "Never reading the words 'Afghanistan" and 'oil' in the same sentence is still a source of endless amusement," says the Asia Times' Pepe Escobar.
Escobar, who has coined the term "Pipelineistan" to describe the vast network of oil and gas pipelines that "crisscross the potential imperial battlefields of the planet," sees Afghanistan "at the core of Pipelineistan," strategically placed between the Middle East, Central and South Asia."
As Escobar points out, "It's no coincidence that the map of terror in the Middle East and Central Asia is practically interchangeable with the map of oil."
Abstract: The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) represents a major development in the strategic landscape of the Central Asian region. The inclusion of India, Iran and Pakistan as observer states in the SCO mechanism suggests that it is gradually expanding into the wider South Asian region. In the next SCO summit meeting in Russia it is expected that Sri Lanka and Belarus will become dialogue partners of the SCO.
The changed attitude of the Central Asian regimes created a situation, which provided an opportunity to the SCO for a new geopolitical role. In July 2005 (during Astana Summit) the SCO member states called the US to set a deadline for withdrawing its military presence in the region. As a result, the US had to close down its air base in Uzbekistan in November 2005. In June 2006, the SCO summit took place against the backdrop of the crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme and both Iran and Pakistan sought full membership in the organisation. The Bishkek Summit in 2007 was important, where leaders from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan pledged to work more closely to develop energy resources and boost security efforts within the SCO framework. The Dushanbe summit in 2008 was held against the backdrop of Georgian crisis and speculations about the start of a ‘new cold war’ between Russia and the US.
Abstract: After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States recognized the
independence of all the former Central Asian republics, supported their admission
into Western organizations, and elicited regional support to counter Iranian influence
in the region. Congress was at the forefront in urging the formation of coherent U.S.
policies for aiding these and other Eurasian states of the former Soviet Union.
Soon after the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, all the
Central Asian states offered overflight and other support for coalition anti-terrorism
efforts in Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan hosted coalition
troops and provided access to airbases. In 2003, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also
endorsed coalition military action in Iraq, and Kazakhstan provided about two dozen
troops for rebuilding. U.S. policy has emphasized bolstering the security of the
Central Asian “front-line” states to help them combat terrorism, proliferation, and
arms and drug trafficking. Other U.S. objectives have included promoting free
markets, democratization, human rights, energy development, and the forging of eastwest
and Central Asia-South Asia trade links. Such policies aim to help the states
become what the Administration considers to be responsible members of the
international community rather than to degenerate into xenophobic, extremist, and
anti-Western regimes that threaten international peace and stability.
The Administration’s diverse goals in Central Asia have reflected the differing
characteristics of these states. U.S. interests in Kazakhstan have included securing
and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear and biological weapons materials and facilities.
U.S. energy firms have invested in oil and natural gas development in Kazakhstan
and Turkmenistan, and the Administration backs diverse export routes to the West
for these resources. Economic and democratic reforms have been among U.S.
concerns in Kyrgyzstan. In Tajikistan, U.S. aid has focused on economic
reconstruction following that country’s 1992-1997 civil war. U.S. relations with
Uzbekistan suffered following the Uzbek government’s violent crackdown on armed
and unarmed protesters in the city of Andijon in May 2005.
The 111th Congress is likely to continue to be at the forefront in advocating
increased U.S. ties with Central Asia, and in providing backing for use of the region
as a staging area for supporting U.S.-led stabilization efforts in Afghanistan.
Congress is likely to pursue these goals through hearings and legislation on
humanitarian, economic, and democratization assistance, security issues, and human
rights. The 2006 bilateral accord on the continued U.S. use of airbase facilities in
Kyrgyzstan included U.S. pledges of boosted foreign aid and other compensation,
which are subject to regular congressional appropriations and oversight. Assistance
for border and customs controls and other safeguards to prevent the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to combat trafficking in persons and drugs
will likely be ongoing congressional concerns. Congress will continue to consider
whether and how to balance its concerns about human rights abuses and lagging
democratization against other U.S. interests in continued engagement with the region
to advance energy security and prosecute the Global War on Terrorism.
Abstract: Though almost every Central Asian state is engaged to some degree in a
discourse on security sector reform, democratic oversight of the security
sector, and civil-military relations, it would be incorrect to assume that
the joint efforts of European, Transatlantic, regional and national actors
(including the media, civil society and academia) have led to
homogenous or at least sustainable progress. The added challenge of
joining the global coalition in the ‘fight against terrorism’ has
accelerated development in some departments of the security sector. It
has, however, at the same time led to a standstill if not a backlash in the
evolution of a culture of human and civil rights, not to mention
international humanitarian law. As security sector reform unfolds in
Central Asia, human rights and will need to triumph over all supposed
justifications to curb them. Security Sector Reform is not about making
Abstract: This bulletin contains information about Amnesty International’s main concerns in Europe and
Central Asia between July and December 2007. Not every country in the region is reported on; only
those where there were significant developments in the period covered by the bulletin, or where
Amnesty International (AI) took specific action.
A number of individual country reports have been issued on the concerns featured in this bulletin.
References to these are made under the relevant country entry. In addition, more detailed
information about particular incidents or concerns may be found in Urgent Actions and News
Service Items issued by AI.
This bulletin is published by AI every six months.
Abstract: This paper quantifies the impact of terrorism and conflicts on income per capita growth in Asia for 1970–2004. Our panel estimations show that transnational terrorist attacks had a significant growth-limiting effect. Transnational terrorism reduces growth by crowding in government expenditures. An internal conflict has the greatest growth concern, about twice that of transnational terrorism. For developing Asian countries, intrastate and interstate wars have a much greater impact than terrorism does on the crowding-in of government spending.
Policy recommendations indicate the need for rich Asian countries to assist their poorer neighbors in coping with the negative growth consequences of political violence. Failure to assist may result in region-wide repercussions. Conflict and terrorism in one country can create production bottlenecks with region-wide economic consequences. International and nongovernmental organizations as well as developed Western countries and regions could assist at-risk Asian countries with attack prevention and post-attack recovery.
This study has six purposes. First, and foremost, we present panel estimates for a sample of 42 Asian countries to quantify the impact of terrorism and conflicts on income per capita growth for 1970–2004. Panel estimation methods control for country-specific and timespecific unobserved heterogeneity. Second, we distinguish the influence of terrorism on economic growth from that of internal and external conflicts. Third, these influences are investigated for cohorts of developed and developing countries to ascertain whether development can better allow a country to absorb the impact of political violence. Fourth, econometric estimations relate violence-induced growth reductions to two pathways— reduced investment and increased government expenditures. Fifth, a host of diagnostic and sensitivity tests to support our empirical specifications. Last, we draw some policy conclusions.
Abstract: For many years, the people of Turkmenistan have suffered widespread and systematic violations of their human rights. In December 2006, hopes rose for a fresh approach to rights, as Acting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov took power. But his government has done very little to address the concerns of Amnesty International, other human rights defenders and the international community. Violations continue and impunity pervades for police, security services and other government authorities. The report focuses on human rights developments since President Saparmurad Niyazov’s death in December 2006 up until 16 June 2008 and highlights patterns of human rights violations that were established under President Niyazov and continue to this day. The report concludes with a list of recommendations to the authorities of Turkmenistan and the international community aimed at significantly improving Turkmenistan’s human rights record.
Abstract: Au-delà des tensions au sujet de l’eau et du gaz, la lutte en Asie centrale contre les terroristes islamistes et les narcotrafiquants devient une nécessité pressante pour la sécurité en Occident. Cette menace est accentuée par le fait qu’il existe des milliers d’armes de destruction massive mal contrôlées dans la région, qui pourraient être volées par des terroristes. La pauvreté et le manque d’espace démocratique sont des terreaux fertiles pour des idéologies extrémistes. Ces groupes de terroristes ont su opérer des mutations rapides, joindre leurs forces et accroître leur trafic de drogues. L’Asie centrale est devenue une route majeure du trafic de drogues, notamment en provenance de l’Afghanistan. Les coopérations sécuritaires clefs en Asie centrale sont constituées par l’Organisation de coopération de Shanghai et l’Organisation du traité de sécurité collective, orchestrées par la Russie. Les Etats-Unis tentent d’ancrer davantage leur présence, mais leur intervention risque de perturber l’équilibre régional et de radicaliser davantage les mouvements islamistes. Pour qu’une stratégie de lutte contre la criminalité transnationale en Asie centrale soit efficace, l’approche doit être multidimensionnelle et régionale.
Abstract: The proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline will transport approximately 33 billion cubic metres per year of natural gas 1,680 kilometres from the Dauletabad gas field in southeast Turkmenistan through southern Afghanistan, to Pakistan, terminating in Fazilka, India. India and Pakistan will share the output equally, and a small percentage will be used by Afghanistan. The impact of the TAPI pipeline on Canadian Forces must be assessed, given that the proposed pipeline route traverses the most conflict-ridden areas of Afghanistan, crossing through Kandahar province where Canadian Forces are attempting to provide security and defeat insurgents.
Abstract: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has announced its 2008 recommendations to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on "countries of particular concern," or CPCs. The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate as CPCs those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief. The Commission's recommendations for CPC designation for 2008 are Burma, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
In contrast to the State Department, which removed Vietnam from the CPC list in 2006, the Commission concluded that Vietnam still merits designation as a CPC. There has been notable progress, but it has occurred alongside persistent abuses, discrimination, and restrictions. The government continues to imprison and detain dozens of individuals who advocate for religious freedom reforms in Vietnam. Ethnic minority Buddhists and Protestants are often harassed, beaten, detained, arrested, and discriminated against, and they continue to face some efforts to coerce renunciations of faith.
The Commission has also established a Watch List of countries where conditions do not rise to the statutory level requiring CPC designation but which require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the governments. Countries on the Commission's Watch List for 2008 are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Abstract: Recently, the Trans-Afghan gas pipeline (TAP) project has been given new momentum, as Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan are pressing for the TAP project to go forward even though everyone concerned recognizes that fighting in Afghanistan casts serious questions over the entire project. Nevertheless, the project is now estimated to cost US$6 billion and is supposed to export some 33 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas from the Dauletabad field in Turkmenistan annually. The field is not expected to be completed earlier than 2018, so this, like the Iran-Pakistan-India energy coalition, is a project for the future. American and Saudi Arabia governments initiated the TAP project in 1998 with active participation from a third party, Argentinean Company Bridas, and was intended to connect Turkmenistan to Pakistan and de-monopolize Russian presence in the Central Asia.
Abstract: Under Saparmurat Niazov, Turkmenistan suffered one of the world’s worst tyrannies.
Since Niazov’s death in December 2006, the government of his successor, President
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has begun to reverse some of the most ruinous
social policies of Niazov’s rule and to end the country’s international isolation. But
the government remains one of the most repressive and authoritarian in the world. It
has yet to commit to a reform agenda that reinstates fundamental rights for people in
Turkmenistan. As this briefing paper will show, untold numbers of political prisoners
languish in Turkmen prisons. Draconian restrictions on freedom of expression
remain in place. Independent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that deal with
human rights cannot function properly due to government threats and harassment.
While some individuals have been permitted to travel abroad, the system of foreign
travel restrictions inherited from the Niazov era remains in place.
Abstract: This overview report is a companion to the annual
survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the
The reports are excerpted from Freedom in the World 2007, which surveys the
state of freedom in 193 countries and 15 select territories. The ratings and
accompanying essays are based on events from December 1, 2005 through
December 31, 2006. The 17 countries and 3 territories profiled in this report are
drawn from the total of 45 countries and 7 territories that are considered to be
Not Free and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights
Included in this report are eight countries judged to have the worst records:
Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan. Also included are two territories, Chechnya and Tibet, whose
inhabitants suffer intense repression. These states and regions received the
Freedom House survey's lowest rating: 7 for political rights and 7 for civil
liberties. Within these entities, state control over daily life is pervasive and
wide-ranging, independent organizations and political opposition are banned or
suppressed, and fear of retribution for independent thought and action is part of
daily life. In the case of Chechnya, the rating in large measure reflects the fallout
of a vicious conflict that in the last 12 years has disrupted normal life and
resulted in some 200,000 deaths.
The report also includes nine further countries near the bottom of Freedom
House's list of the most repressive: Belarus, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial
Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Zimbabwe. The territory of
Western Sahara is also included in this group. While these states scored slightly
better than the "worst of the worst," they offer very limited scope for private
discussion while severely suppressing opposition political activity, impeding
independent organizing, and censoring or punishing criticism of the state.
Massive human rights violations take place in nearly every part of the world.
This year's roster of the "most repressive" includes countries from the Americas,
the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and East Asia; they represent a wide array
of cultures and levels of economic development. This report from Freedom
House to the United Nations focuses on states and regions that have seen some
of the world's most severe repression and most systematic and brutal violations
of human dignity. The report seeks to focus the attention of the United Nations
Human Rights Council on states and territories that deserve investigation and
condemnation for their widespread violations.
[Ed. note: Exact publishing date not given]
Abstract: Central Asia's oil and gas cannot solve the European Union's energy dependence on Russia, but these resources can destabilise the producing region unless governments use the revenues to promote good governance and rule of law. Despite the 12 May Russian-Central Asian gas agreement, a trans-Caspian gas pipeline is still possible, but it should not be seen as a cure-all. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan all suffer from the "resource curse". If Western governments ignore mismanagement and human rights abuses in expectation of short-term gains, they risk stimulating instability in Central Asia that will only add to their energy and other security problems.
Abstract: The German Presidency has taken the initiative to launch a process of rethinking the involvement of the European Union in the five states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, with the intention of producing a new EU Strategy on Central Asia. This paper welcomes this initiative to strengthen the EU's presence in the region as timely and sorely needed. In addition to finding the right mix of policies, however, he argues that the Strategy should clearly distinguish the EU from those international actors who are focused exclusively on stability and the status quo in the region and accordingly should promote policies that strengthen political, social and economic change.
Abstract: Were Turkmenistan not home to one of the world's largest reserves of oil and gas and one of modern history's most peculiar former dictators, a presidential election (ElectionGuide.org) would probably pass unnoticed (NYT), like the proverbial tree falling in the wood. But energy analysts say political change in this oil-rich country along the Caspian Sea has important foreign policy ramifications for the United States, Russia, and others in the region. Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's previous president, ruled with a Stalin-like iron fist to sustain his personality cult: He erected ornate ice palaces in his honor and renamed the month of January (Atlantic) after himself. But his successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, is no democrat either. A former dentist and deputy prime minister, he has called democracy a "tender substance" that cannot be imported (RFE/RL) from outside and has promised to keep Turkmenistan on the path set out by his predecessor. In fifteen years of independence, he boasts, Turkmenistan, unlike most of its post-Soviet neighbors, has experienced "no economic or political shocks."