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Sentence Undermines Government Reform Claims and Free Speech

Update (July 15, 2021):  On July 15, the court of appeal of the Samarkand Regional Criminal Court upheld the earlier court ruling against Otabek Sattoriy and his six-and-a-half-year prison sentence. The court ordered the return to Sattoriy…
Otabek Sattoriy.
News

Worrying Draft Law Should Be Published and Properly Reviewed

Uzbekistan’s parliament is considering worrying amendments to the country’s Criminal and Administrative Codes, and to its Informatization Law, that could threaten the right to free speech. On February 12, the head of the Milliy Tiklanish (National…
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20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Many Desperate to Get Home Amid Covid-19

“Please tell them to send more trains!” I heard this repeated often last week while visiting a temporary migrant camp on Russia’s border with Kazakhstan, filled with Uzbek migrants desperate to be repatriated home to Uzbekistan. People started…
More than 4,000 Uzbek nationals live in a temporary camp in Kinel district, Samara region, Russia, intended for 900 people, waiting for a train to take them back to Uzbekistan.
News

Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
News

Independent Review Recommends Funding to Address Harms

An external review of the World Bank Group’s private funding institutions found that social and environmental abuses caused by their development projects went largely unaddressed, leaving victims without remedies. The review focused on the…
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Report Highlights Shortcomings in Recruitment Practices and Accountability

Uzbekistan has made important strides in reducing the use of forced labor in its cotton sector but has yet to eliminate it completely, according to new research released this week. Uzbek Forum, an international nongovernmental organization,…
Workers load cotton that they have picked onto trucks during the 2016 cotton harvest.
News

Progress Yes, But Many Reform Promises Remain Unfulfilled

The year seems to be ending on a positive note for Uzbekistan. The Economist magazine this week declared Uzbekistan its ‘country of the year,’ arguing “no other country travelled as far” as the Central Asian nation in 2019 in…
Exterior of Barak-khan Madrasah in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
News

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
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Impunity Hampers Sustainable Peace

This week marks 20 years since the end of the Kosovo war. What began as systematic Serbian state oppression led to attacks by an ethnic Albanian armed group, a vicious government response, and 78 days of NATO airstrikes. …
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Upcoming Visit an Opportunity to Bolster Respect for Human Rights

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier likes to travel to countries he believes are on a path to reform. He contends that the extra international attention reinforces the process. For this reason, according to his aides, he is…
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UN Committee Finds New Evidence of Violence in Institutions

A recent review of Serbia finds that the government is failing to protect women with disabilities in institutions from violence. In its report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) also…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
News

Reforms Need to Target the Underlying Soviet-Era System Encouraging Forced Labor

Despite a slew of steps taken to curb the practice, forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields remains widespread, according to a recently released report. The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), which has been monitoring…
Women carrying bags of cotton to be weighed and loaded onto a truck in Jizzakh region during the 2016 cotton harvest. The government typically requires people to meet a daily quota of cotton picked, from which the costs of food and transport are deducted.
News

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…
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Promises of Democratic Reform Still to be Fulfilled

Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s upcoming trip to Paris will be his first visit to a European Union leader since being elected in December 2016. Just over two years after the death of former President Islam Karimov, whose 25-…
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017.
News

World Bank President Jim Kim Should Press to Eliminate Labor Abuses

Despite recent reforms, systematic forced labor was still rampant in 2017 in Uzbekistan’s cotton sector, new research shows. A report by the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), a German-based nongovernmental…
A woman picks cotton during the 2015 cotton harvest, which runs from early September to late October or early November annually.
News

UN Peer Review Should Press for Systemic Reforms

In his first year in power, Uzbekistan’s new President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has inspired some hope the Central Asian country can turn a page from the dark legacy of President Islam Karimov, whose long rule was marred by terrible human rights abuses…
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017.
News
The scene outside a Tashkent courtroom where two journalists are on trial is at once festive and tragic. Uzbekistan’s embattled human rights defenders, long harassed by the late Islam Karimov’s repressive government, gathered in numbers not seen for years…
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Government Should Stop Censoring and Harassing Reporters

As a former journalist it’s always rewarding to be around reporters doing their work, remembering that thrill of what it’s like to chase a good story. I recall the pleasure of being with two particular journalists on a trip…
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News

Small Positive Step on a Long Road to Respecting Human Rights

Today, I got a Skype message I will treasure: the government of Uzbekistan has finally released journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov after 19 long years in jail. You may never have heard of him, but by our count, Ruzimuradov, 64, was…
Yusuf Ruzimuradov in an undated photo.