Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan: non-cooperation should not pay!

April 22, 2013

Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan’s highly repressive policies are coming up for rare international scrutiny as from today (22 and 24 April 2013), Human Rights Watch said today. United Nations member countries gathering at the Human Rights Council in Geneva under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure should seize the opportunity to expose and denounce the ongoing repression in both countries and press for concrete steps to end abuses.HRW_logo

The governments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan stand out as among the most repressive in the world, Human Rights Watch said. Both also stand out for their failure to heed recommendations made during their previous Human Rights Council reviews, in December 2008. “The extraordinarily high levels of repression in both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, coupled with their governments’ refusal to acknowledge problems, let alone to address them, underscores the need for a strong, unified message,” said Veronika Szente Goldston, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

In submissions on Turkmenistan and on Uzbekistan Human Rights Watch highlighted key concerns with respect to both countries, and the steps needed to address them. One immediate step – and crucial if crime should not pay ! – is that both governments should be urged to end their longstanding denial of access for the UN’s own rights monitors. Ten UN rapporteurs have requested such access to Turkmenistan, while the number of UN rapporteurs barred from Uzbekistan has reached 11!  Cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC is another pressing issue [On April 12, the ICRC took the unusual step of announcing publicly its decision to end prison visits to detainees in Uzbekistan].

Other key concerns in Turkmenistan include: The government’s longstanding use of imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation and draconian restrictions on freedom of expression and association, which authorities enforce by threatening, harassing, or imprisoning those who dare to question its policies, however modestly. The severe repression of civil society activism makes it impossible for independent human rights defenders and journalists to work openly.

via Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan: Abuses in International Spotlight | Human Rights Watch.

 

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