Uzbek activists upbeat after Kiev forum

Uzbek participants in the forum
A group of human rights activists from Uzbekistan has taken part in the Kiev forum entitled “Solidarity. Interaction. Support” and they have now revived hopes.

The forum, held in Kiev between 6 and 8 February, gathered human rights activists from Central Asia.

The head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Activists of Uzbekistan, Surat Ikramov, who attended the forum, said that he had become inspired to continue his work and felt that everything would be good in Uzbekistan.

This feeling, he said, is based on good and convincing speeches by Uzbek human rights activists.

They managed to raise the most acute problems in their country and draw attention from representatives of international organisations attending the forum.

Members of the Uzbek delegation of 6 raised three topics: freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of religion.

Ikramov himself read out his report on Uzbekistan’s international obligations on political and civil liberties and their implementation.

His speech was based on Uzbekistan’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in December 1996.

Uzbekistan is violating the following clauses of the covenant: 7 (torture), 9 (unlawful detention and arrest), 14 (citizens’ equality in court), 18 (freedom of thought, conscience and religious convictions), 19 (freedom of expression) and a number of other articles, the activist said.

Hopes for the better

Ikramov praised the results of the Kiev forum.

“Uzbek authorities claim that everything is good with human rights in the country but we, human rights activists, spoke about something different. Perhaps our alternative view will help change the situation for the better,” he said.

He believes the forum will help improve the human rights situation in Uzbekistan – the government should study human rights reports on the situation in the country by activists and draw the corresponding conclusions.

The initiative group was inspired by the fact that the forum had been held in Ukraine, this year’s chair of the OSCE, and attended by the OSCE envoy in Ukraine, Madina Dzharbussinova.