Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for the ‘Uzbekistan’ Category

Amnesty Report Notes Worldwide Abuses

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The findings were published on May 23 in Amnesty International’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” for 2012 and documents abuses in 159 countries and territories.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty: “Governments have been created to protect the rights of their citizens, but we then have governments who are actually doing exactly the opposite, who are actually violating the rights of their own citizens and people who are living inside their boundaries. So I think in this day and age the excuse of national sovereignty, that these are internal affairs, is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers say that there has been a suppression of freedom of expression to varying degrees in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Kazakh authorities used “excessive force” to break up strikes and public protests by oil and gas workers in southwestern Kazakhstan from May through the end of 2012. Hundreds of employees were dismissed, dozens of protesters, trade unionists, and opposition activists were detained, and at least 16 people were killed during clashes between protesters and police in December 2011. The report also says refugees were forcibly returned to China and Uzbekistan, despite international protests.

Torture and ill-treatment remains widespread in Tajikistan while impunity for perpetrators continued. The assessment says independent monitoring bodies were given “no access to detention facilities.” It notes that children, elderly people, and witnesses in criminal cases endured torture that included “the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings and burnings with cigarettes.”

Uzbekistan has restricted the freedom of expression because human rights campaigners and journalists are continually harassed. 10 journalists and human rights defenders remained imprisoned in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions.”  The  suspected members of banned religious groups are a particular target of ill-treatment by Uzbek authorities.

That torture and other forms of ill-treatment of those suspected of criminal offenses remain widespread in Turkmenistan. It cites electric shocks, rape, and the forcible administration of psychotropic drugs among the methods employed by authorities against suspects. It said freedom of movement remained drastically restricted.

 In Russia, increased peaceful political protests have prompted “repression,” including restrictive new laws and the harassment of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.  The number of apparently politically motivated verdicts is on the rise. The situation is said to be particularly bad in the volatile North Caucasus, where Amnesty says Russia often fails to properly investigate claims of abuses by law enforcement officials. The assessment says torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain a problem.

 Kyrgyz authorities were guilty of ethnic discrimination after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz three years ago.

In Georgia the new government is dealing with a delicate political balancing act.

The Amnesty report calls on Belarus to abolish the death penalty, which it says has been carried out in a “cruel and inhuman” way. Executions are conducted in “utmost secrecy” with neither the condemned nor their relatives being informed in advance.

It criticizes Moldova for not doing enough to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Moldova was also cited for a law mandating the chemical castration of violent child abusers.

Ukraine is plagued by failings in its criminal justice system and a lack of safeguards for detainees. The rights of homosexuals and transgenders are at risk because of pending legislation.


Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan: 8 Years After Andijan Massacre. What Has Been Done By The EU?

Posted by Info on 13/05/2013

On May 13, 2005, security forces in the city of Andijan, Uzbekistan, opened fire on protesters,  the majority  unarmed, killing hundreds of men, women and children  as they tried to flee. Till today no one has been held accountable, and the authoritarian president, Islam Karimov, has defied calls for an independent investigation. Instead the Uzbek authorities imprisoned dozens of human rights defenders and journalists and ejected human rights groups and international media from the country.

The European Union and its members expressed outrage in the immediate aftermath and imposed sanctions. But Uzbekistan has for over a decade  blocked access to 11 UN rights monitors, worse standing than even Iran, China or Turkmenistan. ICRC visits resumed in 2009 after being blocked  for five years. And the EU foreign ministers cited this as one of the “positive steps” allowing for lifting sanctions.  The last of those sanctions were lifted in 2009, though Uzbekistan met none of the human rights conditions the EU had set.

Will the EU be capable  of saying enough is enough as Since then Uzbekistan’s reputation as one of the world’s worst human rights abusers has only grown.

Will the EU and its allies ask the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a country rapporteur to draw global attention to the human rights disaster in Uzbekistan and force an international debate about its abuses. (Human Rights Watch).


Posted in EU, Turkmenistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Freedom Of Speech Index for 2012

Posted by Info on 08/05/2013

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual Freedom of the Press Index for 2012:

Uzbekistan occupied 164th place out of 179 countries. From last year’s index Uzbekistan moved down seven notches which shows the deterioration of the situation journalists face in the country. Uzbekistan remained a nightmare for journalists. Dictatorship of President Islam Karimov controlled the Internet, pressured the media and punished independent journalists using courts.

It was a good news to hear, that The UNHCR in Kyrgyzstan granted refugee status to Uzbek journalist Elena Bondar. Pressure on Bondar – threatening phone calls and aggressive treatment by law enforcement officers – forced the young journalist to flee Uzbekistan and seek refugee status.

The worse situation is only in Turkmenistan with the regime of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Turkmenistan came 177th on the index, along with Eritrea and North Korea which came on the bottom of the index.

Kazachstan occupied 16oth, Tajikistan 123rd and   Kyrgyzstan 106th place.

Russia came 148th, falling six notches from last year which is explained by repressions and the suppression of protests after Vladimir Putin came to power.

Moldova, Armenia and Georgia fared the best coming 55th, 74th and 100th.

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Personality cult in Turkmenistan. President Berdymukhamedov introduced minimal reforms but heaped honours upon himself. For his 50th birthday, he awarded himself the Watan (Motherland) Order, a gold and diamond pendant weighing about 1 kilogram for his “outstanding achievements” in his barely six months in office.

Posted in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan And The Freedom Of Religion

Posted by Info on 07/05/2013

“Since Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, its government has systematically and egregiously violated freedom of religion or belief, as well as other human rights.” The US commission on International Religious Freedom said in its report in 2013.

It was estimated that  Uzbekistan has from 5,000 to 10,000 prisoners of conscience.

The commission said Uzbekistan should not receive US military equipment or aid unless it shows real respect for religious freedoms and organisations responsible for gross violations of freedom of religion should not be included in a list of recipients.

In 2003, in response to the worsening human rights situation, Washington stopped military aid to Uzbekistan but at the beginning of 2012 the Obama administration cancelled this embargo.
On 18 January 2012 US State Secretary Hillary Clinton signed a decree to send non-lethal military equipment to Uzbekistan.
The document is in force only until September 2013 when it should be renewed and revised every six months.




2010_Uzbekistan_DefendersUzbekistan´s Imprisoned Human Rights Defenders

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Two Decades Since USSR Broke Up. What Happened To Soviet Countries?

Posted by Info on 23/10/2011

Twenty years on from the Soviet coup gave birth to 15 new states. Guardian data team mined statistics from sources ranging from the World Bank, the UNHCR, the UN Crime Trends Survey and the Happy Planet Index to compare the performance of the countries, combed through the OSCE’s reports on every election in each country since 1991 to see where democracy was taking hold – and where it was not wanted.


Democratic records are exemplary, but the countries sit surprisingly low on international measures for wellbeing and happiness.

Ukraine and Moldova sustained catastrophic economic contraction.. Belarus, under the autocratic rule of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, suffered less. The troika has the weakest economic figures of all post-Soviet regions. Moldova has the best record of free and fair elections, BUT with return a communist (Vladimir Voronin) to power. Moldova also hosts to one of the post-Soviet space’s many frozen conflicts of the Transdniestr region Ukraine’s democratic turning point – the orange revolution of 2004 – rapidly gave way to paralysis and stalemate… In Belarus, Lukashenko has faced lengthy international isolation for crushing opposition and dissent.

Azerbaijan’s oil dividend makes it one of the strongest performing economies. Armenia and Georgia have both seen incipient growth through the 2000s rudely interrupted by the global recession of 2008/09. The frozen conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Abkhazia (Georgia) ..Georgia and Russia has resulted in the only war between former Soviet republics (2008). Armenia suffers from the worst unemployment of all 15 republics, and democratic breakthroughs have been few – only Georgia has held free and fair elections.

A mixed economic story: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have expanded their economies more than 400 %. And although these are the happiest post-Soviet republics not one has held a genuinely free or fair election since 1990; central Asia is where elections are deferred or else won with 99 percent of the vote by dictators who lock up their opponents and even ban ballet and name a month of the year after their mother (Turkmenistan). Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not post-Soviet at all: they have simply stuck with the strongmen who led them out of the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan the leader died in 2006, while Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon has run his republic uncontested since 1992. Only in Kyrgyzstan Soviet-era leader Askar Akayev was ousted in 2005.

Russia has reversed its dramatic economic decline. .its life expectancy persisting below 70 on account of, among other factors, chronic problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Russia has the highest HIV rate (along with Ukraine), the highest homicide rate and the highest prison population of the former Soviet Union. Elections are once again foregone conclusions; governors, once elected, are now appointed. The ‘vertical’ of power centred on the Kremlin appears as strong as it was in Soviet times.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, EU, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan: New Law On Detention Of Suspects

Posted by Info on 17/10/2011

The law “on keeping suspected criminals in custody during the investigation of a crime” came into force at the end of September. It is the first law ever introduced in Uzbekistan to establish the conditions of detention of individuals suspected of having committed a crime and those whose movements it is deemed necessary to restrict by detaining them in custody.

Lawyers are generally positive about the law, describing it as a genuine step forward compared to previous practices, which enabled conditions of detention to be dictated by intradepartmental instructions and orders.
“Compliance with this particular statute should, on the whole, make this an effective law. The scope of the law suggests that statute 18 will be fully incorporated into Regulations on Internal Order [regulation of custodial premises – editorial]”.

According to the article 19 of the new law managers of custodial institutions are required to inform detainees that any application or appeal they make to a state body will be handled by another institution.

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US Continues To Warn Against Travelling In Uzbekistan

Posted by Info on 12/10/2011

The US State Department is continuing to warn US citizens of the dangers of travelling in Uzbekistan., warning of the danger of terrorist attacks against American citizens.

Experts at the US State Department say that supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the Central Asian region.

Members of these groups have attacked US government interests in the past. In 2004, the US Embassy in Tashkent was attacked; terrorists have also been responsible for kidnappings, assassinations and suicide bombings, the State Department says.
“Extreme caution should also be exercised in areas of the Ferghana Valley bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.”

Several years ago, the US Embassy in Uzbekistan issued a warning to its citizens travelling in the country of the dangers of using private-hire taxis. This warning was prompted by a number of instances of foreigners being robbed in taxis.

Posted in Kyrgyzstan, others, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Three Uzbek Refugees Extradited From Kazakhstan Now In Prison

Posted by Info on 03/10/2011

Courts in Uzbekistan have sentenced the three men, who had fled to Almaty after being pursued in Uzbekistan on religious charges, to between four and 13 years in prison.

Criminal court sentenced Kobijon Kurbanov to four years in prison for organising illegal religious gatherings.
Faizillakhon Akbarov was convicted for circulating religious materials likely to threaten security and public order and was sentenced to five years in prison.
A 15-year-sentence was handed down to Akhmad Boltaev after he was found guilty on several charges relating to religious extremism, but the prison term was later reduced on appeal to 13 years.

The fate of the other refugees is not known. New fewer than 28 Uzbek refuges, many of whom had expected to remain in Kazakhstan, were handed over to the custody of Uzbekistan’s interior ministry on 9th June this year.

The Expert Working Group, based in Tashkent, claims that the refugees have not been allowed to see their relatives since arriving back in Uzbekistan and they have also been denied the right to choose their own lawyer.

Posted in Kazakhstan, SCO, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Joint Statement Calling On Uzbekistan To Grant Freedom To Citizens.

Posted by Info on 28/09/2011

Five Central Asian and European human rights organisations of have issued a joint statement calling on the authorities in Uzbekistan to grant more freedom to its politicians and citizens.

The Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Activists of Uzbekistan (IGNPU) is lending support to the declaration, which is designed to draw the attention of OSCE countries to current issues in the Central Asian region.

The document highlights in particular the Uzbek authorities’ hostile attitude to the work of NGOs.
“Only one active human rights organisation, Ezgulik, is recognised, while other groups, including IGNPU, have to carry out their work without having any legal status”.
The statement’s authors recall the fact that more than ten human rights activists are currently in jail in Uzbekistan, some of whom are tortured or are being kept in extremely harsh conditions.

Statement call not to obstruct the registration of human rights organisations and NGOs, to officially recognise Human Rights Watch and to stop pursuing civil activists for illegal activity. They also ask Uzbekistan to stop blocking the websites of human rights organisations and to adopt a law on freedom of association... the problems of internet blocking, especially with regard to social networking sites.

Calls to block social sites are common not only in Uzbekistan but in other countries including members of intergovernmental and regional organisations such as the Collective Security Treat Organisation (CTSO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

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Exiled Uzbek Political Activist Shot Dead In Russia

Posted by Info on 27/09/2011

An Uzbek businessman and opposition People’s Movement of Uzbekistan (PMU) official Fuad Rustamkhojaev,38, was shot several times in the head and chest late on September 24 in front of his home in the western Russian city of Ivanovo.

He was active in the movement’s congress held in Berlin in May. In an address at the gathering he urged fellow Uzbeks to unite against the “dictatorship” in their homeland.
Rustamkhojaev had been approached about a month ago by officers from Uzbekistan’s National Security Service who physically threatened him if he continued his political activities.

About 20 people representing the Erk opposition party, the Andijon — Justice and Revival group, and the Tayanch organization, joined to form the PMU at a meeting in Duesseldorf, Germany from May 2-4, while the movement’s constituent assembly was held in Berlin in May 25 with some 60 activists attending.

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US Suspends Sanctions Against Uzbekistan

Posted by Info on 25/09/2011

The US Congress voted on 22 September to remove restrictions on military aid to Uzbekistan. The sanctions were imposed seven years ago in response to Uzbekistan’s deteriorating human rights record.

Human Rights Watch, the international human rights organisation, came out firmly against the administration’s stance.

The aims of the American and Uzbek governments in allowing this concession are not clear.

‘The US is not trying to buy off Uzbekistan, but wants to help out with non-weapon items such as bullet-proof jackets so that the country can defend itself in the event that its enemies try to strike against Uzbekistan in revenge for its providing the Northern supply route for the US to supply positions Afghanistan.”

Congress introduced sanctions on aid to Uzbekistan in 2004. The move was designed to persuade the government of Uzbekistan to improve its human righs record and implement wide ranging political and institutional reform. This, according to analysts of the region, has still not happened.

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Estonia Has Deported Uzbek Asylum Seeker

Posted by Info on 21/09/2011

Estonia has deported to Russia an Uzbek asylum seeker because he entered Estonian territory from Russia illegally by swimming across the 300-meter-wide Narva River that marks the border between the two countries.

Rakhim Sobirov, 30,did not have any identification documents with him, and for that reason he was returned to Russia, the country from which he illegally entered Estonia.
He was among a group of Uzbek asylum seekers wanted by Tashkent on religious-extremism charges who were arrested in Kazakhstan last year. He traveled to Russia after his release from detention.
He left all his identity documents at home, fearing that he might be extradited to Uzbekistan at the request of the Uzbek authorities if he had Uzbek identity papers with him.

Posted in Estonia, Russia, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan: Child Labor: Global Clothing Brands Boycott Uzbek Cotton

Posted by Info on 19/09/2011

More than 60 of the world’s top clothing labels, including Burberry, Levi, H&M, Adidas and Puma are to boycott cotton from Uzbekistan over claims the government forces children to harvest the crop.

The groups have signed a pledge under the Responsible Sourcing Network, a project organised by the US-based advocacy group As You Sow which is organising the boycott.
“We are a major cotton consumer and like many companies, we take a clear stand against child labour, regardless of country,” said Henrik Lampa, corporate social responsibility manager at H&M.

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NY Fashion World Reacts To Human rights Abuses in Uzbekistan

Posted by Info on 10/09/2011

The organizers of New York Fashion Week have canceled a planned show by Gulnara Karimova the designer daughter of Uzbekistan’s leader Islam Karimov, who has been accused of human rights abuses.
Karimova 39, is also Uzbekistan’s ambassador to Spain and to the United Nations in Geneva

Karimova was due to present her Guli spring/summer 2012 collection on September 15 at New York Fashion Week. Karimova showed her collection at the event in September last year, but her family connections only hit the headlines this week.

“The message is clear that abusers will not be allowed to launder their image at the expense of human rights,” said Steve Swerdlow, from Human Rights Watch. “Companies need to act to ensure they don’t unwittingly end up supporting abusers again.”

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US To Lift Its Restrictions On Uzbekistan Regardless Of Human Rights Records

Posted by Info on 09/09/2011

US president Obama’s administration propose to drop restrictions on assistance to the Uzbek government. The restrictions, in place since 2004, should be lifted only when the Uzbek government significantly improves its practices.

The administration wants Congress to adopt language that would allow the secretary of state to waive existing human rights-based restrictions on US assistance, including military aid, to the Uzbek government. The waiver would be intended to help secure a deal the United States is negotiating with the Uzbek government to provide the US enhanced military access to Uzbekistan to support its operations in Afghanistan.

The restrictions on aid to Uzbekistan from 2004 are based on legislation enacted in 2002 that makes US assistance to the Uzbek government contingent on its efforts to improve its human rights record and to institute political and institutional reform, to certify that the Uzbek government is making “substantial and continuing progress” in meeting its commitments to the United States under a joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework, signed in March 2002.

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