Stalled legal reforms, continued restrictions on freedom of speech, and the authorities’ heavy-handed response to July 2022 protests in the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan, in which at least 21 people died and hundreds were badly injured, have contributed to the worsening of Uzbekistan’s human rights record. Authorities have targeted outspoken and critical bloggers with criminal charges and a court in January 2023 sent a court sentenced the Karakalpak blogger and lawyer, Dauletmurat Tajimuratov, to 16 years in prison for his alleged role in the Karakalpakstan protests. Independent human rights groups face significant obstacles trying to register and impunity for domestic violence and torture is the norm. Consensual same-sex sexual relations between men remains criminalized. Uzbekistan successfully ended systemic forced labor in its cotton harvest, but it remains to be seen whether the Uzbek government will deliver on other outstanding reform pledges.

map of Uzbekistan