Tag Archives: Eurasia

Turkey News | People of Armenian Descent

Ethnic Armenians targeted by violence flee Istanbul

  • As conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has proliferated in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, anti-Armenia sentiment and demonstrations have targeted the small community of citizens and immigrants of Armenian descent in Istanbul.
  • Some in the community have begun relying on underground transportation networks to flee the country, with memories of the early-20th-century genocide of Armenian people in Turkey fueling fears of escalating conflict.
  • A close ally of Azerbaijan, Turkey closed its border to Armenia in 1993 in response to Armenia’s administrative incursion into the disputed territory, currently recognized internationally as a part of Azerbaijan.

Read

CITATIONS | Global Indigenous Security

Citations:
Global Indigenous Security

Historically tied to forms of settler-colonial social organization and subjugation, Indigenous identities today—including Aboriginal, Native, First Nations/Peoples, and “tribal peoples”—have proliferated alongside contemporary efforts to secure political recognition, concentrate resources, redress historical wrongs and entrenched inequities, and form widespread networks.

The political success of the category, however, has been uneven. In some regions, such as the Americas, states have long recognized Indigenous peoples as coherent social groups with unique interests distinct from non-Indigenous groups. In others, such as much of Asia and Africa, indigeneity remains, at best, only partially recognized, even as governments acknowledge historical priority, cultural and economic distinctiveness, and entrenched territorial connections. Some groups that would in one context be identified as Indigenous avoid or refuse identifying as such, often the result of complex political negotiations. Given the tremendous—and perhaps irreconcilable—diversity that exists between different Indigenous communities, how can the many groups caught in the gravity of the concept of “the indigenous” be discussed together? What commonalities might link them?

Sidestepping the scholarly debate on the coherence of “Indigenous” as a global identity category, this special content collection highlights several thematic “centers of gravity” around which self-identifying Indigenous or “tribal” groups have come to cluster, focusing on issues of material security in line with the broader scope of Outlas as a project. It presents news and resources covering social and political developments affecting i/Indigenous* communities around the world from early 2019 through the present. A snapshot of issues and events shaping global, regional, and local conversations on Indigenous communities, it organizes content around six thematic areas: culture, conflict, health, environment, mobility, and politics. A final section contains links to government, civil society, and international resources of relevance to international Indigenous research and advocacy efforts.

* Although this collection will primarily capitalize “Indigenous” as an identifier, it will distinguish where necessary between contexts involving general conditions of historical distinctiveness with respect to territorial antecedence, livelihood, and/or culture (small-I) and those involving self-identified Indigenous/Aboriginal/Native/First/tribal communities (capital-I).

Continue reading CITATIONS | Global Indigenous Security

Ukraine News | Roma

Attack on Roma camp leaves one dead, several wounded outside Lviv
  • A 24-year-old Roma man was stabbed to death and another four wounded in an attack on a Roma community on the outskirts of Lyiv.
  • The attack comes amidst a wave of far-right violence against Roma communities, where groups of nationalists have destroyed living quarters and assaulted individuals.
  • Police have been accused of refusing to intervene in attacks or conduct arrests, leaving few stopgaps to mob violence and the implicit sanction of anti-Roma sentiment.
Read

U.S., Canada condemn deadly attack on Roma camp in Ukraine” (Reuters | June 2018)

No Relief: Wave Of Attacks, Police Indifference Heighten Fears Among Ukraine’s Roma” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | June 2018)

Additional

A year on from Odessa ‘pogrom’, Ukraine’s Roma face rise in mob justice” (Reuters | September 2017)

Kyrgyzstan Feature | LGBT

The Expanding Insecurity of Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT Community

Bishkek, long viewed as a relatively liberal haven not only in Kyrgyzstan but within the largely conservative Central Asia region, has seen an increase in political and social hostility towards its LGBT community. As in other parts of Eurasia, Kyrgyzstan has witnessed a resurgence in far-right ultra-nationalism and an attendant conflation of LGBT rights with Western encroachment on Kyrgyz culture, leading to increased attacks on the Kyrgyz LGBT community. Similar to other Eurasian nations, legislation has been proposed to limit information access about the LGBT community, and the shuttering of Bishek’s last remaining gay club has left the LGBT Kyrgyzstanis with few opportunities for safe communal socializing.

Read

‘All of us will be victims at some point’: why Bishkek’s only gay club closed” (The Guardian | October 2017)

Curtain Falls On Bishkek’s Lone LGBT Club Amid Worsening Atmosphere” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | June 2017)

Connect

Labrys
Kyrgyz Indigo

Azerbaijan News | LGBT

Azerbaijan launches offensive against LGBT citizens
  • Dozens were arrested and charged with “resisting police orders” in September according to community activists in the country.
  • A state spokesman denied the raids targeted sexual minorities but rather those who “show a lack of respect”, “annoy citizens,” and whom authorities believe to be carriers of infectious diseases.
  • The government has framed targeting the LGBT community as protecting community health and defending the “traditional” and “moral” values of Azerbaijan against Western attack, tying the LGBT community to Western encroachment.
Read

Outcry as Azerbaijan police launch crackdown on LGBT community” (The Guardian | October 2017)

Azerbaijan: Scale of LGBT Persecution Is Rising – Lawyer” (EurasiaNet | September 2017)

Gay men and trans women were suddenly rounded up in Azerbaijan. Here’s why.” (The Washington Post | October 2017)

Tajikistan News | LGBT

Tajikistan launches register of LGBT citizens
  • A state publication indicated 319 gay men and 48 lesbians had been identified following research into the Tajikistani LGBT community as a part of operations called “Morality” and “Purge.”
  • One police source indicated that the register could be used to gather medical records under the pretense that the state is looking to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Same-sex relations are not illegal in Tajikistan, although activists have in the past pointed to discrimination and persecution in the conservative country.
Read

Tajikistan authorities draw up list of gay and lesbian citizens” (Agence France-Presse via The Guardian | October 2017)

Tajikistan: LGBT Registry Sparks Outrage” (EurasiaNet | October 2017)

There’s a rising global tide of crackdowns on LGBT communities” (The Washington Post | October 2017)

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

Read

Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Russia News | Gay Men

Russia begins investigation into abduction, torture, and massacre of gay men in Chechnya
  • Government officials reportedly launched an investigation as international pressure increased following reports from human rights organizations about the rounding up of gay men into camps.
  • Gay Chechens have allegedly been held in extrajudicial detention and subjected to physical and psychological abuse including beatings, electroshock torture, outing to family, and murder.
  • President Vladimir Putin was reportedly briefed by the country’s human rights ombudswoman and is set up for a showdown with Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of the republic.
Read

Russia investigates ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Chechnya’s anti-gay pogrom: Too much even for the Kremlin?” (The Christian Science Monitor | May 2017)

‘They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me’” (Human Rights Watch | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Arden Arkman/AP, via The Christian Science Monitor)

Russia News | Gay Men

Scores of gay men reportedly sent to concentration camps in Chechnya
  • According to reports from human rights organizations, more than 100 men have been imprisoned in camps the Russian republic of Chechnya where they have been tortured.
  • The abducted men have ranged in age from 16 to 50, some having been lured via social media and with three among them having reportedly been killed.
  • The abductions began as an LGBT advocacy group began applying for permits to hold parades in provincial cities around the country, although the group avoided applications in much of the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region given the volatile climate.
Read

Chechen Authorities Arresting and Killing Gay Men, Russian Paper Says” (The New York Times | April 2017)

Chechen police ‘have rounded up more than 100 suspected gay men’” (The Guardian | April 2017)

More than 100 gay men ‘sent to prison camps’ in Chechnya” (The Independent | April 2017)

(Image Credit: Musa Sadulayev/AP, via The Guardian)

Russia News | Dissidents

Hundreds arrested across Russia after thousands take to streets in protest
  • Police reported detaining some 500 protesters in the largest anti-Kremlin demonstrations since 2012, including a Guardian journalist and opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
  • Numbering as high as in the tens of thousands, protesters rallied against government corruption and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
  • Polls indicate Putin, who enjoys high approval ratings in Russia, is unlikely to be unseated as many expect a bid for a fourth term.
Read

Russian police detain opposition leader, hundreds of protesters” (Reuters | March 2017)

Russia just had its biggest unsanctioned protests in years and hundreds are now in jail” (The Washington Post | March 2017)

Hundreds detained as opposition activists hold protests in several Russian cities” (RT | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Maxim Shemetov/RT)

Estonia News | Ethnic Russians

Estonian government reaches out to Russian Estonians to counter Kremlin influence
  • Anxious about a repeat of Ukraine in their country, government officials have begun learning Russian and conducting outreach to increase the integration of ethnic Russians in Estonia.
  • Russian speakers comprise roughly 25% of Estonia’s population, with many concentrated on the country’s border with Russia where a mix of Estonian and Russian media provide differing views on regional geopolitics.
  • Although Russians have been in Estonia since pre-WWII times, many ethnic Russian immigrants in Estonia lack Estonian citizenship after post-Soviet language tests left many holding Russian passports.
Read

Wary of divided loyalties, a Baltic state reaches out to its Russians” (Reuters | February 2017)
Nervous in Narva: a town caught between East and West” (The Irish Times | February 2017)
Baltic Russians: Are They Sudetendeutsche?“* (Forbes | February 2017)

* Commentary/Opinion

Russia News | Women

Putin signs law reducing punishment for domestic violence in Russia
  • Perpetrators who physically assault family members but do not cause broken bones will now only be subject to 15 days in prison or a fine if the violence only occurs once a year.
  • Previously, the crime had carried a maximum jail sentence of two years, but conservative politicians and advocates argued the state was intruding in private affairs.
  • A spike in reports of domestic violence in Russia’s fourth-largest city following the passage of the law has sparked concerns that the law has increased women’s vulnerability to violence in a country that sees 12-14,000 women die a year as a result of domestic violence.
Coverage

Putin approves legal change that decriminalises some domestic violence” (The Guardian | February 2017)
Domestic violence reports soar in Russian city following partial decriminalisation” (The Independent | February 2017)
Majority in Russia See Domestic Violence as Serious Problem” (Gallup | February 2017)

 

Armenia Feature | Blind & Visually Impaired

Raising the Voices of the Visually Impaired in Armenia

As the Internet has created new channels for the inclusion of marginalized communities, people with disabilities in particular have looked to the technology as a chance to discover and create new, accessible labor and creative opportunities. In Armenia, government agencies and international NGOs have worked together to promote information literacy and use among blind and visually impaired Armenians. One new program, Radio MENQ, has bridged the technical with the creative, offering blind and visually impaired people the chance to work as presenters and sound technicians for an internet radio station focused on issues and interests of relevance to the visually impaired community. Global Voices sat down with two of the project’s leaders to discuss the history and future of Radio MENQ and how opportunities like the station help combat pervasive unemployment and marginalization in the community.

Read:
How is Online Radio Helping to Empower Visually Impaired People in Armenia?” (Global Voices)

(Image Credit: via Global Voices)

Kazakhstan Feature | Kazakh Language

Saving the Kazakh Language, One Film at a Time

Despite its predominantly ethnic Kazakh population, Kazakhstan has struggled to promote widespread use of the Kazakh language within its borders. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstanis have nevertheless demonstrated continued preference for Russian, with 84.4% of the population speaking the language. For film distribution, this has meant that Russian-dubbed foreign films—many coming from Hollywood—have been in considerably higher demand than Kazakh-dubbed ones. The government has sought to promote the integration of the country’s historical language via Kazakh’s status as the official language and laws requiring film distributors to dub or subtitle foreign films in Kazakh. EurasiaNet explores the challenges within the film industry of balancing cultural and political considerations with social demand for what some ethnic Kazakhs worry may become a marginalized language.

Read:
Kazakhstan: Movies Going Kazakh, But Distributors and Audiences Resist” (EurasiaNet)

(Image Credit: CityKey.net, via EurasiaNet)

Turkey News | Girls

Outrage erupts over proposed bill in Turkey to clear adults married to minors of sexual abuse charges
  • The bill, approved after an initial reading and set for a second vote, would allow for the indefinite suspension of sentencing for sex “without force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” if the perpetrator marries the victim.
  • Women’s rights, children’s rights, and other advocates were swift to condemn the proposed bill, which they argue effectively condones statutory rape and child marriage.
  • Child marriage is illegal in Turkey, but non-civil religious marriages proliferate, particularly in the southeast of the country.

Read more:
Turkish ruling party sparks uproar with sexual abuse bill” (Reuters)
Turkish bill to clear men of child sex assault if they marry their victims” (AFP via The Guardian)
Turkey: Thousands protest against proposed child sex law” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Sedat Suna/EPA, via The Guardian)