(Bishkek) – Uzbekistan’s incoming government should take concrete steps to improve the country’s abysmal human rights record, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to President-elect Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Human Rights Watch identified key reform areas, ranging from freeing political prisoners to upholding religious freedom to cooperating with UN rights bodies, that Mirziyoyev and his new administration should take on during their five years in office.
During Mirziyoyev’s campaign he promised increased accountability of the government to citizens and acknowledged the lack of reform in key aspects of Uzbekistan’s society, including the economy and the criminal justice system.
“During his presidential campaign, Mirziyoyev appeared to appeal to the Uzbek voters’ desire for change by promising to make the Uzbek government more accountable to the people,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Mirziyoyev has an opportunity to begin a new chapter in Uzbekistan’s history, but he’ll need to address past and ongoing human rights abuses to prove that his presidency is more than just campaign promises.”