Hope and fear: Kyrgyz migrants in Russia

For IRIN News: OSH, 24 April 2015 (IRIN) – At a government-run centre for migrant labourers in the Kyrgyzstani city of Osh, 23-year-old Nurbek waits patiently for advice on how to return to Moscow. “My family has lived in Russia for more than 10 years, I want to go back to them,” he said. “I was deported 10 days ago after police said I’m on a blacklist. Now I’m hoping to be removed from the list.” Nurbek is one of around 1.5 million Kyrgyz –…Continue Reading “Hope and fear: Kyrgyz migrants in Russia”

The Hunted: Tracking Uzbekistan’s long arm

For Foreign Policy: Uzbekistan’s president has jailed, tortured, and murdered his opponents at home. Now, he’s hiring hit men to track down and kill dissidents abroad. ISTANBUL — A cold drizzle fell on Istanbul on the morning of Dec. 10, 2014, as Abdullah Bukhari made his way to teach his students at a madrasa nestled amid apartment blocks and hardware stores in the Zeytinburnu neighborhood. A white prayer cap on his head, Bukhari made two crucial departures from his daily routine, according to one of…Continue Reading “The Hunted: Tracking Uzbekistan’s long arm”

Turning the Uyghur East

For The Revealer: KASHGAR, XINJIANG, CHINA — “U-yu-ghur, we say U-yu-ghur,” Hajji Abdulaziz* gently explains to me, as I take a seat at the front of his fabric shop, blankets and seat cushions in a dizzying array of colors, stacked from floor to ceiling. A smile cracks across his face, floating in the middle of short white facial hair, and he reaches for a piece of cardboard and a pen. “See, this is how it is written.” Abdulaziz slowly writes out the word Uyghur, in…Continue Reading “Turning the Uyghur East”

Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban

For Al Jazeera English: The government’s attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs. Kashgar, China – Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uyghur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region’s Islamic identity. Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are…Continue Reading “Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban”

For Al Jazeera English: Protests over poor public services have escalated into challenges to Islamabad’s rule in rugged northern territory. Gilgit, Pakistan – Escalating protests in villages perched on the “Roof of the World” – a mountainous territory disputed between Pakistan and India – have exposed deep animosity towards Islamabad. After 67 years of control by the Pakistani government, many local people want the country to either accept them as a new province – or grant them independence. Pakistan’s authorities have responded to the unrest –…Continue Reading “‘Roof of the World’ rebels against Pakistan”