U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Richard Norland is urging the Uzbek government to release prisoners of conscience.
Norland made his remarks last night to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Norland said, "We have seen important progress on human rights in Uzbekistan, though we have some remaining concerns."
Prominent Uzbek human rights activist Surat Ikromov, who was with Norland when he made his remarks, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that he hopes U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's administration will focus more on human rights in dealing with Uzbekistan.
Many human rights defenders in Central Asia have been critical about the West's soft approach to human rights and the Uzbek government.