Freedom House Goes To Uzbekistan

Uzbek authorities invited UN human rights rapporteur on torture

Freedom House delegation is expected to visit the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan to meet spokespeople for state and non-state organizations there in order to discuss the situation in the field of human rights. The delegation consists of two members - Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor and Lisa Davis, the Director of RIGHTS programs. They are to arrive in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on June 8th.

Windsor and Davis will meet diplomats of Uzbekistan, statesmen of the republic, as well as members of non-state organizations for human rights to discuss cooperation opportunities and the ways to improve the situation with human rights.

The delegation's visit coincided with the recent publishing of Freedom House's annual report. The report described the situation with democratic reforms and civil, political rights in Uzbekistan. The report has been published in Freedom in the World and Nations in Transit publications of the organization. The results of the research and observation shows that the situation with human rights in Uzbekistan has worsened over the recent year. The Freedom in the World publication categorized Uzbekistan as a country with a very strong repressive regime. According to the report, Uzbekistan has been given the lowest estimation as far as political rights and civil freedoms are concerned.

Freedom House welcomes several steps that have been recently taken for the sake of democratic reforms. In particular, Freedom House welcomed the state registration of the Ezgulik organization for human rights; the conviction of seven law-enforcement officers for murdering a person on trial; the invitation for UN human rights rapporteur on torture Theo van Boven to visit the republic.

Nevertheless, Freedom House recommended the Uzbek government to run the promised political reforms and create the conditions, when Constitution-stipulated civil rights are respected in practice.

Freedom House started running its activities in Uzbekistan in the year 2000, sharing its experience with Uzbek human rights organizations. In 2002, Freedom House launched the three-year program to improve the knowledge and skills level for lawyers, reporters and non-state organization leaders.

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Author`s name Olga Savka