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End Abusive Prosecutions; Lift Restrictions on Free Speech

(Nairobi) – Burundi’s scrutiny and control of media and nongovernmental organizations, and the conviction after deeply flawed proceedings of 12 journalists and activists in exile have a continued chilling effect on their work, Human Rights Watch said…
Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye at his inauguration on June 18, 2020. President Ndayishimiye took power two months early after the abrupt death of his predecessor, Pierre Nkurunziza.
News

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

Known for Criticizing Local Authorities

(Berlin) – An outspoken blogger from Uzbekistan faces up to 10 years in prison in a dubious extortion case brought by local authorities in the country’s southeast region, Human Rights Watch said today. Plainclothes officers detained the blogger,…
Otabek Sattoriy.
News

State Regulator Insults Media as Journalists Appeal Conviction

Just when many thought press freedom had hit rock bottom in Burundi, the government-controlled National Communication Council’s (CNC) Media Awards this week have added insult to injury. The theme of this year’s ceremony was to…
journalists in Burundi attend court session
News

Government Bans Communication with BBC, VOA

The Burundian government today signalled a new attack on media freedom, announcing it would renew the Voice of America’s (VOA) suspension and withdraw the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) operating license. These draconian moves…
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza arrives for celebrations to mark Burundi’s 55th anniversary of independence at the Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium in Bujumbura, Burundi, July 1, 2017.
News

Create Commission to Address Current and Former Prisoner Rehabilitation

(Tashkent) – The Uzbek government has released more than 35 people imprisoned on politically motivated charges, including journalists, human rights defenders, and other activists since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office in September 2016,…
Human Rights Watch, local human rights activists, and former political prisoners in Uzbekistan met with members of the Uzbek government in June 2018.
News

Debate Silenced at Critical Moment

The Burundian government desperately wants an overwhelming win in next month’s constitutional referendum that will enable the president to extend his term in office. To do this, it must present the image of unity in the country – and open debate and…
Logo for Iwacu newspaper, "The voices of Burundi."
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…
Report
Summary Uzbekistan’s second president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, assumed the presidency in September 2016, following the death of Islam Karimov – the Central Asian country’s authoritarian ruler for 27 years. Since then, the Uzbek government has sought…
News

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…
201710eca_uzbekistan_bekjanovmemoir
News

Despite Media Freedom Advances, Long Way to Go

(Tashkent) – Politically motivated prosecutions and censorship keep Uzbekistan’s media outlets, journalists, and other government critics self-censoring and under pressure, despite an improved landscape for open debate and critical reporting, Human…
A Facebook user in Uzbekistan uses mobile internet to access information about an ongoing trial.
Video
Politically motivated prosecutions and censorship keep Uzbekistan’s media outlets, journalists, and other government critics self-censoring and under pressure, despite an improved landscape for open debate and critical reporting. These actions undermine…
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.
News

Regional Leaders Should End Repressive Policies

(Berlin) – Political leaders in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan should use the window of opportunity offered by political change in their countries to improve human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. Leaders of…
People attend the opening ceremony of the new Belarussian-built potash plant in Garlyk, Turkmenistan March 31, 2017.
News

Stop Detaining Critics; Respect Independence of Media, Activists

(Brussels) – The European Union should make respect for human rights and an end to decades of repression a core component of its engagement with Central Asian countries, Human Rights Watch said today. In the past year, Central Asia has seen some…
From left to right: Mr Neven MIMICA, Member of the European Commission; Ms Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mr Erlan IDRISSOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan; Mr Erlan ABDYLDAEV
News

Release All Imprisoned Peaceful Activists

(Bishkek) – Rustam Usmanov, a peaceful political activist imprisoned arbitrarily in Uzbekistan for 19 years and brutally tortured, was finally freed on February 13, 2017, at the end of his prison term, Human Rights Watch said today. Usmanov, 69, a founder…
Rustam Usmanov.
News

Muhammad Bekjanov Released After 18 Years of Hell in Uzbekistan Prison

It feels so good to write these lines. Today, following 18 long years of hell in an Uzbekistan jail, Muhammad Bekjanov, one of the world’s longest-imprisoned journalists, is finally free. A couple of hours ago I spoke to…
Muhammad Bekjanov
News

Urgent Need for Reform as Mirziyoyev Takes Office

(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,…
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