Posts Tagged ‘Kazakhstan’

Dictators in Central Asia like music – some musicians like the dictators

September 4, 2013

Jennifer Lopez at ISC Miami.

Kanye West

On 28 May 2012 I congratulated Loreen – the Swedish winner of the Eurovision song festival – as she was the only of the contesting artists who stood up for human rights. During her visit to Baku she visited human rights defenders at risk during a meeting the NGO Civil Rights Defenders arranged. The Government of Azerbaijan tried to downplay the issue by saying that music and human rights have to be separate, but it is shocking that a number of musicians seem to agree with this position.

The New-York based Human Rights Foundation, on 3 September 2013,  reports that the American musician Kanye West performed at the wedding of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson last Saturday night in Kazakhstan. He reportedly received $3 million for the private engagement in the oil-rich former Soviet state, which has been autocratically since 1991. West’s lucrative private performance comes on the heels of a similar concert given by Jennifer Lopez for the dictator of neighboring Turkmenistan earlier this summer, which sparked a worldwide media interest. At the time, Lopez claimed ignorance of Turkmenistan’s notorious human rights abuses. West is not the first global celebrity to be approached to play in Kazakhstan: in 2011, Sting refused to play a private concert there, citing concern over the repression of workers in the country.

Forced psychiatric treatment still alive in parts of Europe

August 13, 2013

For those who think that the phenomenon of forced psychiatric treatment of human rights defenders has disappeared with the end of the cold war, here are two reminders from Front Line that this is unfortunately still continuing:Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

The first case is in the Ukraine and had at least a ‘happy’ ending: Read the rest of this entry »

Example of Fellowship Programme for HRDs under threat by Front Line: Galym Ageleuov

April 15, 2013

Front Line Defenders hosted human rights defender Galym Ageleuov from Kazakhstan on its Fellowship Programme in Dublin between January and March 2013. Galym is the founder and head of human rights NGO Liberty – based in Almaty and established in 2011 to monitor and document human rights abuses and promote freedom of the internet in Kazakhstan, including through the You Tube project “Open Your Eyes” which broadcasts videos highlighting socio-political life in the country.

Liberty was one of the few organisations that succeeded in reporting from Zhanaozen and disseminating video footage following the massacre in 2011 when a demonstration by striking oil workers was violently suppressed by police, resulting in at least 14 deaths. Efforts to spread the awful truth of what happened there led to a serious defamation campaign against the organisation which included accusations of inciting violence and attempting to overthrow the government.

Read the rest of this entry »