The ability of social networking platforms to mobilize anti-government protesters is a well-documented phenomenon. But in the aftermath of recent political unrest in Kyrgyzstan, social networks also have proven themselves a useful tool for maintaining order, and for helping the victims of violence.
Police blocked hundreds of young Azerbaijanis on April 30 from commemorating the one-year anniversary of a shooting spree at Baku’s State Oil Academy that left 13 dead. The Ministry of the Interior claims that 10 individuals were arrested in connection with the unsanctioned commemoration; youth activists and bloggers report dozens more.
When President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed drawing up a doctrine to promote national unity, he probably did not expect that he would lift the lid on inter-ethnic tension in Kazakhstan. But that is exactly what happened.
Families of nine of the 10 men who died in Armenia’s post-election violence in 2008 are suing to force the country’s General Prosecutor’s Office to take a more active interest in investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
US President Barack Obama has agreed to meet with his Kazakhstani counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in mid-April. The meeting could have its tense moments, as Obama is expected to press Nazarbayev on the treatment of a Kazakhstani human rights activist.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has declared a state of emergency in Kyrgyzstan following an April 7 clash between police and protesters outside the government headquarters in Bishkek that left four dead.
Protestors in the northwestern Kyrgyz town of Talas stormed a government building and took the governor hostage on April 6, eyewitnesses told EurasiaNet.org. Some reports say protesters attempted to appoint their own governor.
Days after Kyrgyz authorities closed two more independent media outlets, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly rebuked President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's human rights record. During Ban's short visit to Bishkek, demonstrators clashed with police outside the UN office and later in front of parliament, demanding the government stop harassing the press.
The jailing in Kazakhstan of an opposition leader on charges of holding an unsanctioned rally is stoking fresh concerns over the fairness of the judicial system in the country currently chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Activists are criticizing draft legislation that would expand the Kyrgyz government's ability to monitor telephone calls and email.
Parliament adopted amendments to the laws, "On Operative Investigation Activities" and "On the Electronic and Postal Services," on March 25. The changes now await President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's signature before they become law.