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Uzbekistan Cracks Down Ahead Of Elections

Uzbek President Islam Karimov
New York-based Human Rights Watch says Uzbek authorities have been increasing assaults on human rights activists ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that "anyone who tries to report on human rights in Uzbekistan clearly risks getting attacked, arrested, or worse."

The statement described a rise in attempts to intimidate activists ahead of the December 27 parliamentary and local elections, including an attack on human rights researcher Tanya Lokshina.

The statement added that key international actors, including the United States and the European Union, have grown increasingly silent in the face of Uzbek government abuses, arguing in favor of what they term "quiet diplomacy" with Tashkent.

But the statement says Uzbek authorities do not deserve any praise for human rights improvements.

Uzbekistan has been ruled for more than two decades by President Islam Karimov.