Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Uzbekistan: Government Shuts Down Human Rights Watch Office

Posted by Info on 15/03/2011

For years the government has obstructed the organization’s work by denying visas and work accreditation to staff, and has now moved to liquidate its office registration, forcing Human Rights Watch (HRW) to end its presence in Tashkent after 15 years.

On March 10, 2011,
HRW received information from the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan that the Justice Ministry had moved to liquidate the organization’s office in Tashkent, with a first hearing apparently set for March 15.
HRW has been registered in Uzbekistan since 1996. Uzbek authorities have provided no information about the alleged grounds for the liquidation proceeding.

The Uzbek government had previously denied work accreditation to HRW’s Uzbekistan researcher, Steve Swerdlow, a decision conveyed in a letter handed to him by the Justice Ministry on Christmas Eve 2010. The letter states that the Ministry denied accreditation to Swerdlow because of Human Rights Watch’s “established practice” of “ignoring Uzbekistan’s national legislation” and because Swerdlow “lacks experience cooperating with Uzbekistan” and “working in the region as a whole.” The letter does not specify what laws HRW allegedly violated.

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