HRW operations in Uzbekistan were suspended in June 2007 when Andrea Berg, head of the organization's mission in Tashkent, was denied renewal of her registration.
The watchdog has continued reporting on Uzbekistan from its office in Almaty, Kazakhstan. However, it no longer has access to Uzbek representatives, which HRW says prevents it from conducting fair and balanced reporting.
HRW proposed a new candidate for mission head in Uzbekistan, Igor Vorontsov of Russia. But in an interview with RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, Vorontsov said authorities had refused his application, saying he lacked the necessary knowledge of Uzbek domestic affairs and the country's people.
Kenneth Roth, HRW's executive director, visited Tashkent last week in an attempt to convince the authorities to reconsider Vorontsov's nomination.
"I hope that the government of Uzbekistan treats seriously both my visit and my assurance of our sincere intentions and belief in objectivity, and takes this opportunity to reconsider its position on Mr. Vorontsov’s accreditation," Roth said in an interview with ferghana.ru.