For current reports go to EASY FINDER




Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 9,949 9,713 11,300 91
GNI per capita
 US $ 420 450 550 173
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (date from the World Bank)

Books on Uzbekistan

Update No: 364 - (28/04/11)

Bang in the middle
Uzbekistan is the central state of Central Asia and right in the eye of the storm – the democratic revolution sweeping through the Islamic world.

The authorities in Tashkent are desperately hoping to keep it at bay – by fair means or foul. They are not averse, indeed rather prefer, the latter; everything can then be kept under wraps, they hope. In the world of modern communications this is not quite true.

Putting the record right
There is no better barometer of a country's state of health than the informed reports of the US - funded experts on the ground, who invariably include locally recruited personnel and cognoscenti. The US State Department's annual compendium of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 was released on April 8, later than in past years.

But it is as methodical and detailed as ever, covering a huge range of grave human rights problems.

This public record always raises the question as to why the US diplomatic rhetoric in dealing with authoritarian states like Uzbekistan doesn't match the seriousness of the findings -- the Country Reports speak the volumes that quiet diplomacy never does. The greatest worldwide trend this year, noted by Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, is increasing restriction of non-governmental organizations -- a phenomenon well known to Uzbek groups.

With a tide of revolutions throughout the Middle East, the State Department says it "cannot predict the outcome" and admits "the transition to democracy is not automatic and will take time and careful attention."

Uzbekistan was singled out in the introduction of the report among the world's most egregious violators of human rights in the world, along with Columbia, Cuba, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Russia, Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran and Libya.

Political prisoners, torture, harassment of journalists and human rights activists, unjust defamation cases, control of NGOs and Muslim religious groups, and forced adult and child labour in the cotton harvest were all mentioned in the chapter on Uzbekistan.

While US officials, in re-establishing warmer relations with Tashkent in recent years, have dropped their call for an independent inquiry into the Andijan massacre of 2005, the Country Reports still mention that the government blocked such an inquiry:

The government did not authorize an independent international investigation of the alleged killing of numerous unarmed civilians during the violent disturbances in Andijan in 2005, despite ongoing calls by international organizations for the government to do so. The government stated after its 2005 investigation that armed individuals initiated violence by firing on government forces. The death toll varied between the government's report of 187 and eyewitness' reports of several hundred individuals. The government never held anyone publicly accountable for the civilian casualties.

The report contains exhaustive accounts of numerous unfair trials of human rights activists and religious believers. The case of Maxim Popov is mentioned, for example:

In February it was reported that in September 2009, a Tashkent court sentenced Maxim Popov, a psychologist and HIV/AIDS activist, to seven years in prison on charges related to an HIV/AIDS prevention booklet, as well as financial improprieties related to grant funding the NGO had received. None of the international organizations that had funded Izis, the NGO at which Popov had been Executive Director, had complained about his grant management, and it was widely believed that the government targeted him because of the sensitive nature of his work. The practice of re-sentencing prisoners as they near the end of their terms was also noted.

According to family members and some NGOs, authorities failed to release prisoners, especially those convicted of religious extremism, at the end of their terms. Prison authorities often extended inmates' terms by accusing them of additional crimes or claiming the prisoners represented a continuing danger to society. For example, on July 15, Habibullo Madmarov, the son of human rights activist Akhmadjan Madmarov, had his prison term extended for getting out of bed to pray before the prison's daily wake up call, in violation of internal prison regulations.

The report notes that visits to Uzbek prisons by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are permitted but kept confidential and information shared only with the government under ICRC procedures. In 2010, the NGO Ezgulik reported that the ICRC was blocked by authorities from interviewing a prisoner who alleged that guards had raped her, causing her to give birth prematurely in prison.

The State Department praises the government of Uzbekistan for receiving about 100,000 refugees from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan during violence in June in which at least 400 people, mainly ethnic Uzbeks were killed and thousands wounded. The report notes that "there were some reports of coercive tactics employed by authorities from both countries to return some of the refugees to Kyrgyzstan" and that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was not allowed to establish a permanent presence.

A section titled "Official Corruption and Government Transparency" details the rampant bribery and fraud in Uzbekistan particularly among law-enforcers and judges, contributing to the poor human rights situation.

                                                                                                     « Top


« Back


Published by 
Newnations (a not-for-profit company)
PO Box 12 Monmouth 
United Kingdom NP25 3UW 
Fax: UK +44 (0)1600 890774