IPHR and its partners work to counteract violations of fundamental freedoms, restrictions on access to justice and discriminatory practices, as well as torture and ill-treatment in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Human rights remain under serious threat in all the five countries of this region. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are some of the most repressive countries in the world. The political opposition has been forced into exile, media is heavily state-controlled, civil society activists and independent journalists face a constant threat of government reprisal, and politically motivated imprisonments are commonplace. There is also currently little space for dissent and open debate on issues of public concern in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, and the political opposition, independent media and civil society are subject to intimidation and harassment. Guarantees for the independence of the judiciary and fair trials are lacking. While Kyrgyzstan has made more progress on democratic transition than its neighbours, civil society has recently come under growing pressure also in this country. The authorities have failed to take adequate measures to address gross violations marring the justice process following the 2010 inter-ethnic violence. Ethnic, religious and other minority groups are subject to intolerance and discrimination across the region.
Despite some steps taken by the Central Asian authorities to strengthen legal safeguards against torture, torture and ill-treatment remain pervasive in all five countries of the region and there is widespread impunity for such practices.