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Uzbek Rights Activists to Speak out at UN

A human rights group based in Germany is to present a report accusing the Uzbek government of torture when the United Nations Human Rights Committee meets in New York this March.

Of the three reports compiled by the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, one covers restrictions on Uzbek citizens’ freedom of movement, and a second the state of the legal profession.

The one that will cause the most consternation in Tashkent, however, concerns the use of torture and is based on on-the-ground monitoring conducted last year by two local groups, the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan and the Committee for the Liberation of Prisoners of Conscience.

The report concludes that torture and other forms of abuse continue to be used by police and investigators, and that it is “systematic and unpunished” and even tacitly encouraged by top officials.

Human rights defenders both inside Uzbekistan and abroad are hoping the international community will sit up and take notice of the recommendations the alternative reports make.

According to Tamara Chikunova of Mothers Against the Death Penalty and Torture, “The death penalty may have been abolished in Uzbekistan, but people are still hounded to death in the prisons…. One reason for this that independent observers and representatives of international human rights bodies have no access to penitentiary facilities.”

At the UN committee, the Uzbek government will present its own official report on human rights.-

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