Dozens of government critics in Kyrgyzstan were taken into custody on March 23 amid the opening of a meeting to promote national consensus. During the gathering's first day, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev questioned the viability of a "Western system of human rights" in the Central Asian nation.
The US State Department noted some modest improvements in human rights conditions in Central Asia in its annual Human Rights Report, although, overall, the region remained one of the worst in the world in terms of respecting basic freedoms.
Since January, temperatures have hovered around minus 30 degrees Celsius and snow has covered 90 percent of the landlocked nation. Known locally as a "dzud," the harsh winter weather has killed over 3.3 million head of livestock and has threatened food and fuel supplies in rural communities, aid agency representatives say.
The jailing of an Uzbek public health activist, along with the muted response by international organizations to the case, is having a chilling effect on public health advocacy in the Central Asian state, some experts say.
Five years after his slaying, the murder of prominent Azerbaijani journalist Elmar Huseynov remains unsolved, as well as shrouded in controversy. An ongoing criminal case involving a journalist who was investigating Huseynov's death is providing new fuel for debate about the unsolved murder.
In the remote mountain villages of Georgia’s northwest region of Svaneti, 84-year-old Bauchi Qaldani of Adishi is universally regarded as a wise man. And Qaldani, a village elder now in his fifth decade as a mediator and matchmaker, is still ready to dispense his wisdom whenever called upon. "I was born for others," he says.
Officials in Tashkent unexpectedly closed the Kara-Suu-Avtodorozhnyy checkpoint to all traffic on March 1, saying the site needed repairs. A visit by a EurasiaNet correspondent on March 4 showed no sign of repair activity.