IWPR (29)

President's Lawsuits Intimidate Kyrgyz Media

Independent outlets fear pressure may fuel self-censorship. Activists are warning of threats to the country's media freedom after President Almazbek Atambaev filed a series of lawsuits against outlets for allegedly defaming him.   Media professionals fear that the huge sums of money involved might ...

Afghanistan: Betrothed in the Womb

The consequences of early marriage often ruin girls' lives. Bibi Asma was in her cradle when her father promised her in marriage to a boy just a few years older than her. When she was 15, her fiancé came back from Iran where he had been working to visit her at her home in Lafra, a part of Firoz Koh ...

Could New Poppy Strain be Boosting Afghanistan's Opium Crop?

Local producers say they can now plant and harvest their fields all year round. Karam Khan, an opium poppy farmer from Helmand, is delighted that business is booming. New strains of seeds mean that poppy could be sewn and harvested all year round, he said, and shrinking government control over the ...

Could Uzbekistan be Opening Up?

Scope for change on foreign policy, but domestic reform may be mostly cosmetic. In the three months since his appointment, Uzbekistan's new president Shavkat Mirziyoyev has taken a number of measures that appear to show willingness to open up one of the world's most isolated states. His predecessor ...

Afghanistan: Action Urged Over Street Abuse

Women say they face unremitting harassment in the public sphere. Najla, a 20-year old undergraduate at a private university in Kabul province, is contemplating giving up her degree. She says that continuous sexual harassment on campus has made it nearly impossible to continue with her political ...

Women Building Peace in the South Caucasus

Platform helps activists and writers from conflict regions come together. An online forum for women in conflict-divided regions of the South Caucasus is providing a vital space for female participation in peace-building, political and economic processes. IWPR's South Caucasus programme launched the ...

Women Building Peace in the South Caucasus

Platform helps activists and writer from conflict regions come together. An online forum for women in conflict-divided regions of the South Caucasus is providing a vital space for female participation in peace-building, political and economic processes. IWPR's South Caucasus programme launched the ...

I Don't Even Have the Right to Grieve

Where is the space for a woman to mourn the loss of her friend? Don't ever make a friend during wartime. There's a role for you to grieve as a mother, a sister, a wife, a lover, but not as a friend. Let me tell you the story of one 19 year-old girl. It's an age that's supposed to be one of the best ...

Syria's Rebellious Women Films

Three stories give a rare insight into a side of Syria often absent from the news. Known as the troublemaker' by her friends, Ahed was at the vanguard of the demonstrations in Aleppo against both Assad's government and the Islamic State. Despite the beatings and humiliation meted out by both forces, ...

Syria's Rebellious Women Films

Stories of three women give a rare insight into a side of Syria that is often absent from the news. Known as the troublemaker' by her friends, Ahed was at the vanguard of the demonstrations in Aleppo against both Assad's government and the Islamic State. Despite the beatings and humiliation meted ...

New Afghan Law Targets Sexual Harassment

Opinion divided over legislation that will outlaw such abuse for the first time. Leeda stood waiting at a Kabul bus stop, braced for a daily commute that she said inevitably involved sexual comments and snide remarks from male passers-by. The young woman said she knew about recent legislation that ...

Kazakstan: The Pain of Polygamy

Men see taking extra and unofficial 'wives' as a sign of social prestige. Sholpan, 54, has known for the last six years that her husband has someone else in his life. This woman is not just a mistress; she has the status of a tokal, or unofficial wife. Sholpans's hopes that the relationship would ...

Faten's Story

Amid the turmoil of civil war, a young woman finds herself repeating her mother's tragedy. My father and mother married 20 years ago. My mother was then aged 35 and considered old, so she agreed to marry my father even though he already had two wives and many children. My mother suffered a great ...

A Birth That Felt Like Death

Displaced and impoverished by war, a mother-to-be desperately seeks help. When I woke up on that morning in August 2015, all I could think about was returning home. We had fled our village because of the relentless bombing of the regime aircraft. At the time, I was living with my stepmother in a ...

Kyrgyzstan: Female Convicts Face Harsh Future

Experts say that jailing women has far-reaching societal repercussions. The day starts early at Kyrgyzstan's only women's prison. Around 300 inmates are woken at 6.30am at the facility in Stepnoe, a village close to Bishkek. The youngest convict is 15 while the oldest is over 70. Most have been ...

Kyrgyzstan: Challenging Submissive Stereotypes

Women may wear hijab, but they refuse to be pigeonholed. Eliana-Maryam Satarova is editor-in-chief of Umma, Kyrgyzstan's only Muslim affairs magazine, established two years ago to counter stereotypes about the community. The glossy quarterly has proved popular among younger Muslims for its ...

IWPR Boosts Online Security for Female Activists

Women face particular threats when working online and across social media. Female human rights defenders in Latin America are learning how to stay safe in an often hostile online environment thanks to IWPR's Safety Awareness and Action project . The programme aims to build and strengthen digital ...

Questions Over Arrest of Kyrgyz Opposition Figure

Authorities accused of a selective use of the law when dealing with opponents. Supporters of detained opposition lawmaker Omurbek Tekebaev have warned that his arrest is nothing more than an attempt by President Almazbek Atambaev to settle scores with the veteran politician. Tekebaev, who heads the ...

Boys Sold for Sex in Afghan Province

Activists warn of flourishing trade in male prostitution and bacha bazi' or boy play. The majestic blue-tiled Hazrat e-Ali mosque complex in the centre of Mazar e-Sharif serves as a recreational space as well as a place of worship for many of the city's residents. But Ahmad Javed, , lounging on a ...

School Closures Hit Afghan Province

A lack of security in districts means that boys and girls can simply not learn. Civil society activists are warning that the state school system in the southern province of Kandahar is in chaos, with some 50,000 children completely deprived of access to education. Mohibulah Qadiri, director of ...

Afghanistan's Child Beggars

Impoverished parents and organised gangs routinely exploit children for profit. Farishta lay on the ground by a busy road junction in the centre of Herat city, begging alongside two boys the 40-year-old said were her grandsons. The young children, dressed in flimsy clothes despite the wintry ...

Afghanistan's Third Gender People

Marginalised community faces ignorance, discrimination and abuse. Aimal, a 20-year old living in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, does not identify as either male or female. Instead, Aimal is third gender,' a category that does not fit typical definitions of masculine or feminine. ...

Kyrgyz Divorcees Left Out in the Cold

Women left to raise children on their own with no support from their ex-husbands. Bermet, a mother-of-three from Bishkek, was recently abandoned by her husband after three years of marriage. Despite their official divorce – he has since remarried - and a court order ruling him liable for monthly ...

Kyrgyz Divorcees Left Out in the Cold

Bermet, a mother-of-three from Bishkek, was recently abandoned by her husband after three years of marriage. Despite their official divorce – he has since remarried - and a court order ruling him liable for monthly child support payments, 26-year-old Bermet has yet to receive a penny. She now ...

Afghanistan: Nangarhar's Sole Female Lawyer

Lack of representation means that women find it even harder to access justice. Out of hundreds of female law graduates in Nangarhar province only one has been able to find a job as a state lawyer, IWPR has found. Shekeba Danish is the only female lawyer employed by the Nangarhar attorney's office, ...

Afghanistan: Allegations of Widespread Abuse in Boys' Schools

Students in Ghazni province say that they are too ashamed to make formal complaints. Hamidullah, now 13, has changed school four times and spent two whole years out of education due to repeated sexual abuse from his teachers. He had many traumatic memories, he told IWPR, recalling how at one school, ...

Depression Rampant Among Afghan Women

Gender violence, poverty and associated social problems fuels widespread mental health problems. The razor scars on 18-year-old Leila's hands and neck bear witness to her past attempts at suicide. The Herat teenager told IWPR that she had become deeply depressed after her marriage to a 45-year-old ...

Finding Schools for Afghan Returnees

An influx of former refugees returning from Pakistan has put intense pressure on services. When Qareeb-ul-Rahman returned to Afghanistan after years living in the Akora Khatak area of Pakistan, his primary concern was how his six children would be able to continue their education. Like many other ...

Afghan Midwives Make Their Mark

Community care has massively reduced maternal mortality. Fatemeh, a 34 year-old mother-of-three, has bitter memories of her first two deliveries. Both were home births with no formal medical assistance. I suffered so much during these two deliveries and I nearly died,' the Baghlan resident told ...