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Majlis Podcast: The Struggles Of Independent NGOs In Uzbekistan

The government of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has said it wants to see improvements in the NGO sector.
The government of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has said it wants to see improvements in the NGO sector.

Independent nongovernmental organizations play constructive roles in many countries in helping to safeguard basic rights and media freedoms -- plus ensuring the dignity of various ethnic and social groups, including vulnerable people, which has been especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.

These are all areas where, since Shavkat Mirziyoev became Uzbekistan’s leader in September 2016, the Uzbek government has been saying it wants to see improvement.

But while some NGOs with connections to the government have been registered in just one day, there are some independent NGOs that have been attempting to register their organizations for months and then there are those who have had their registration documents rejected 10, even 20 times already.

On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion on the obstacles faced by independent NGOs in Uzbekistan.

This week's guests are: from Uzbekistan, Dilmira Matyakubowa, co-director of Uzinvestigations and a fellow at the London-based Foreign Policy Center; originally from Uzbekistan, Dilmurad Yusupov is currently a PhD candidate at Sussex University, where he is specializing in Developmental Studies, and also a co-founder of the Tashkent-based NGO Sharoit, which helps disabled people; speaking from Tashkent, veteran Central Asia watcher Steve Swerdlow, who is a rights lawyer and associate professor of the practice of human rights at the University of Southern California; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

The Struggles Of Independent NGOs In Uzbekistan
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.​

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.


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