West stays silent on Uzbek harassing rigths activists: HRW

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement late on Thursday the Uzbek government was attacking and harassing rights campaigners.

West stays silent on Uzbek harassing rigths activists: HRW

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement late on Thursday the Uzbek government was attacking and harassing rights campaigners.

Hundreds of protesters were killed in the town of Andizhan in 2005.

"Uzbekistan's international partners have been praising the government for human rights improvements, but this praise is wholly undeserved," HRW Europe and Central Asia director Holly Cartner said.

"Anyone who tries to report on human rights in Uzbekistan clearly risks getting attacked, arrested or worse."

HRW cited several cases where police prevented Uzbek activists from meeting its researcher Tanya Lokshina, who herself was then attacked and held by police in what it called a "setup" this month.

"What happened to Lokshina and the people who tried to meet her has frequently been happening to human rights monitors in Uzbekistan, and it shows the government has something to hide," Cartner said.

"It is high time Uzbekistan's international partners speak out, loud and clear, to say that this despicable practice must stop."

This month's election is sure to be won by loyalists of President Islam Karimov, who has run the country with a tight grip since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The European Union, which in October dropped sanctions imposed on Uzbekistan in 2005, has been trying to improve ties with Central Asian states to help secure future energy supplies and diversify away from Russian gas and oil.

Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan, also allowed the transit of US military supplies for Afghanistan invasion this year.

But it rebuffed calls to do more to protect human rights during talks with the EU, when it told Brussels to improve its own rights record. Rights groups say Uzbekistan has jailed thousands of dissidents and political foes of Karimov, a charge the government denies.


Agencies

Last Mod: 11 Aralık 2009, 13:53
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