Background Briefing

Cooperation with the international community

Assertion: “There are no restrictions of any kind in Uzbekistan on visits to the country by diplomats and representatives of the United Nations, OSCE, and other international bodies.”

The government omits mentioning that no UN special procedures that have requested access to the country have been able to visit, due to the government’s failure to issue the required invitations. Michele Picard, the UN independent expert on Uzbekistan appointed by the Commission on Human Rights under the 1503 procedure, has not been able to carry out a single visit to Uzbekistan. Special procedures that have sought but not received such access include the special rapporteurs on torture, on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and on the independence of judges and lawyers, as well as the special representative of the secretary-general on human rights defenders.

The government also omits any mention of its decision of March 17, 2006, to order the closure of the UNHCR office in Tashkent,9 presumably in retaliation for the agency’s intensive and laudable efforts to protect Uzbek refugees in a number of countries from forced return to persecution in Uzbekistan.

On June 30, 2006, the OSCE Centre in Tashkent was downgraded to an OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan after several international staff members were denied accreditation.

9 “UNHCR regrets order to leave Uzbekistan,” UNHCR press release, March 20, 2006.