Uzbekistan killings anniversary: EU reneging on human rights pledge
(Brussels, 11 May 2012) Tomorrow marks seven years since the killing of several hundred mainly peaceful demonstrators, including women and children, by security forces in the Uzbekistani city of Andizhan. Amnesty International has accused the European Union of reneging on its human rights commitments by toning down its originally robust demands that Uzbekistan comply with its international obligations, despite clear evidence that the regime is openly flouting them.
“The past seven years have seen the EU dramatically weakening its stand on human rights in Uzbekistan. Back in 2005, it condemned the killings, demanded an independent international investigation and imposed sanctions”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
“We’re dismayed that the EU has since turned a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation in Uzbekistan. It’s lifted all sanctions and has stopped calling for an investigation. This is despite the regime’s disregard for its international obligations and human rights standards agreed with the EU. It’s high time that the Union held the Karimov regime fully to account.”
Human rights violations in Uzbekistan include arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, routine beatings, torture, and unfair trials of the regime’s critics. Over the past year the scope for freedom of expression and association has steadily shrunk. Several thousand people convicted of involvement with Islamist parties or Islamic movements banned in Uzbekistan, as well as government critics, political opponents and human rights activists, continue to serve long prison terms in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions. The authorities continue to seek the extradition of members or suspected members of Islamic movements and Islamist groups and parties banned in Uzbekistan on grounds of security and the fight against terrorism. Those forcibly returned to Uzbekistan face incommunicado detention, torture and long prison sentences following unfair trials.
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