Ashton must press on human rights in Uzbekistan

Chairwoman Hautala wrote today to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Catherine Ashton expressing concern over inaction of the EU over the Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan five years ago. [:]

12 May 2010
Dear Baroness Ashton,

I am writing to you concerning the approaching fifth anniversary of the Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan and the mid-term of the 27 October 2009 EU Council decision to lift arms embargo against Uzbekistan.

So far, no effective investigation into the horrific events of 13th of May in 2005 in Andijan has been carried out. The number of the victims is still not known. No perpetrator has been brought to justice and victims have not been compensated. Instead, the denial of the events and persecution of the victims and witnesses continues. The EU has failed to act on its calls for accountability. When the anniversary is upon us tomorrow, the time of inaction must be over. For this reason I call for recommitment of European Union to ensuring accountability for the tragedy.

This anniversary marks not only the events in Andijan. We are also reaching the mid-term of the regrettable decision by the Council on 27 October 2009 to lift the arms embargo against Uzbekistan. In its decision the Council pronounced that it would discuss and assess the progress made by the Uzbek authorities within a year. In the same decision the Council reiterates its calls for Uzbekistan to release all imprisoned human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, to allow unimpeded operation of non-governmental organisations in the country, to cooperate fully with all relevant UN Special Rapporteurs, to guarantee freedom of speech and of the media, to proceed with the implementation of conventions against child labour, and to fully align its election processes with OSCE commitments, ODIHR recommendations and other international standards for democratic elections.

As the mid-term of the period for the conclusion is upon us I invite you to arrange the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights to be informed of the progress with regards to those five areas indicated by the European Council.

With regards,

Heidi Hautala

Chairwoman of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights