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UN Report Cites Concerns About Torture, Limits On Freedoms In Uzbekistan

Human Rights Watch says a UN review shows that the government still has much to do to address human rights concerns.
Human Rights Watch says a UN review shows that the government still has much to do to address human rights concerns.

A United Nations review of Uzbekistan's human rights record expresses concerns about persistent torture in detention centers and limits on basic freedoms, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The UN Human Rights Committee's conclusions reflect the fact that many pledged rights reforms have yet to materialize, HRW said in a news release on April 8.

"The UN committee review shows that Uzbekistan remains largely authoritarian with a very poor human rights record," said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW in Berlin.

The committee's conclusions show that the government has much to do to address human rights, Williamson said.

The UN Human Rights Committee last week published its observations on Uzbekistan's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It was its first review of Uzbekistan's human rights record since President Shavkat Mirziyoev came to power in 2016.

The committee expressed concerns about the "torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of liberty, as well as restrictions on the freedom of conscience and religious belief, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly."

The committee noted, however, that there had been progress in fighting corruption, preventing violence against women, judiciary reform, and the elimination of child and forced labor in the cotton sector.

Mirziyoev has taken steps to implement reforms since coming to power. Still, rights watchdogs have expressed concerns about conditions in Uzbekistan, where rights abuses had been widespread under his predecessor, Islam Karimov.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a visit to Tashkent in February, said the country "deserves praise for its progress on human rights issues" and commended it for reforms aimed at a more free society with a more accountable government.

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