Mary Lawlor, founder and director of Front Line Defenders: “Ireland and the EU must be as strong speaking up for human rights defenders in countries where they have political and strategic interests as they are when it comes to the usual suspects,” she said. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Some 157 human rights activists were killed or died in detention in 25 countries last year, according to the advocacy group Front Line Defenders. T(...)

Independent Afghan civil society activist women carry the coffin of Farkhunda. Photograph: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

Farkhunda had one chance to escape the mob that wanted to kill her. Two Afghan police officers pulled her on to the roof of a low shed, above the angr(...)

Horse wrestling: a traditional nomad existence gave the Kyrgyz the horseback prowess associated with the most famous central Asian, Ghengis Khan. Today the national sport of Kyrgyzstan is wrestling  and a gory form of polo involving a sheep’s headless carcass. Photograph: Jonathan Korowicz

The market in Bishkek is a mayhem of spices, meat and dowdy attire. You want a lock, glue or fresh pistachios? Some “atum” ground chilli or perhaps a (...)

Iranians walk past a banner showing a portrait of  soldiers killed by Islamic State militants during a mission in  Aleppo in Syria. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iran will be invited to participate in talks in Vienna on Friday to discuss ending the conflict in Syria and establishing a framework for political tr(...)

Afghan special forces preparing to launch a counteroffensive to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban insurgents. Photograph: Nasir Waqif/AFP/Getty Images

From the early days of his presidency last year, President Ashraf Ghani knew he faced a national security threat in the northern Afghan province of Ku(...)

Afghan military personnel walk near the airport during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz. Photograph: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

Afghan government forces on Thursday rallied for the first time to try to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban fighters, engaging in heavy fighting (...)

 Sepp Blatter reveals Russia as holders for the 2018 World Cup on December 2nd, 2010, in Zurich. Workers at the Zenit arena say they haven’t received payment in months. File photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Labourers working on one of Russia’s World Cup venues are complaining that they have not been paid for months, despite the budget for the arena increa(...)

Afghanistan’s president, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. At least 52 people have been killed in a massive landslide in the country’s remote Badakhshan province. Photograph: EPA/STR

A massive landslide in a remote province in the northeast of Afghanistan has killed at least 52 people.The affected area in Badakhshan province is cut(...)

A member of a local electoral commission empties a ballot box after a parliamentary election at a polling station in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. Photograph: Nozim Kalandarov/Reuters

An outspoken critic of veteran Tajik leader Imomali Rakhmon has been shot dead by an unknown assailant on a street in Istanbul, Turkish media reported(...)

An Afghan woman who lost her family in a landslide at the Argo district in Badakhshan province. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Afghanistan declared a national day of mourning as rescue workers using shovels and other hand tools struggled to unearth bodies buried in a landslide(...)