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The government of Uzbekistan has a record of resisting serious investigation into human rights abuses by law enforcement and security forces agents. Statements by Uzbek officials to date indicate that the government’s investigation into the Andijan events will not include a serious examination of abuses by government forces. The commission of inquiry established by the Uzbek parliament is welcome, but is unlikely to be free of government pressure. For these reasons, the international community should press for and make possible an independent, international investigation into the events of May 13 in Andijan, and in particular, into the killings. The investigation should have competent expertise in forensics, ballistics, and crime scene investigation and must include in its mandate a determination as to whether, and which, Uzbek troops used excessive force against unarmed protesters.


The Uzbek government should cooperate with and support an independent, international investigation into the events of May 13 and should hold accountable, in a manner consistent with international human rights law, those responsible for using excessive force on unarmed protesters.

To the United Nations:

Secretary General Kofi Annan has endorsed a call by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for an independent, international investigation into the events in Andijan.

The Secretary General should mandate the Office of the High Commissioner to conduct an investigation into the events in Andijan that has relevant expertise in forensics, ballistics, and crime scene investigation, and to report on its findings to the Secretary General and the Security Council.

The Security Council should stand ready to receive the findings of an investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner. It should acknowledge the threat to peace and security that is posed by the lack of a transparent, credible investigation and, in the event that Uzbekistan continues to reject an independent, international investigation, should explicitly intervene to demand that such an investigation be carried out.

To the United States:

Uzbekistan has been an important ally for the United States in its global campaign against terrorism.  The United States has a military base in southern Uzbekistan to support its operations in Afghanistan and has provided aid and training to the Uzbek military, as well as counterterrorism assistance.

The U.S. and Uzbek governments have been engaged in discussions on a formal, long-term agreement that would allow the United States to maintain its military base in southern Uzbekistan. The United States currently uses the Uzbek base rent-free; a formal arrangement would provide the Uzbek government considerably greater financial benefits.  The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has also reportedly "rendered" prisoners to the Uzbek security services, even as the State Department has denounced torture by those very same services. 

In July 2004, the U.S. government cut most direct government-to-government assistance, including military aid, to Uzbekistan because of the country’s poor human rights record.192 The U.S. Defense Department, however, has continued to provide some counter-terrorism assistance to Uzbekistan. Under a U.S. law known as the Leahy Amendment, this aid would have to be suspended if the units receiving it were found to have participated in gross human rights violations, such as any unlawful killings in Andijan.

The U.S. government should not engage in any further discussions with Uzbekistan about a long-term agreement on its military base until the Uzbek government accepts an independent, international investigation into the Andijan events. The United States should begin exploring alternative basing facilities elsewhere in the region. If the Uzbek government does not accept such an investigation, the United States should bring an end to its post-September 11 strategic partnership with Uzbekistan and discontinue its military presence in the country.

To the European Union:

The European Union has a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Uzbekistan (PCA), under which Uzbekistan receives about 16 million Euros, though little of this is in direct government-to government assistance. While the PCA has a human rights clause, the EU to date has rejected conditioning any assistance to Uzbekistan on human rights compliance.

The European Union should suspend the PCA until the Uzbek government agrees to an independent, international investigation. E.U. member states should use their membership in the EBRD to reinforce new vetting of EBRD projects in Uzbekistan (see below).

To the Government of the Russian Federation:

The Russian government should publicly acknowledge the need for an independent international investigation that includes in its mandate examining human rights abuses committed by government forces.

To the Government of China:

The government of China should lend support to the idea of an independent, international investigation.

To the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE):

The OSCE should deploy special missions to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan specially mandated to monitor the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Uzbekistan and its effect on stability in the region.

To the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD):

In 2004 the EBRD cut back its assistance in Uzbekistan over the governement’s lack of progress toward human rights and economic benchmarks the Bank had set out in 2003. The Bank limits investment to the private sector and stays involved in public sector projects only to the extent that they directly contribute to  the well-being of the general population, or involve neighboring countries.

Until the Uzbek government accepts an international investigation, the EBRD should vet all lending to Uzbekistan to identify private sector projects in which the government or particular government officials have a stake in order to suspend assistance to those projects. 

[192] It cut U.S. $18 million in direct assistance to the Uzbek government allocated under a 2002 supplemental appropriations act for fighting terrorism. But several weeks later, during a visit to Tashkent, General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said publicly that he regretted this decision, while announcing $23 million in new Pentagon assistance to Uzbekistan under another program not subject to human rights restrictions.  These mixed signals cannot be lost on the Uzbek government.

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