Karimov to Visit EU; Ashton and Barroso Must Put Human Rights on the Agenda

Chairwoman Hautala has reminded High Representative, Ms Ashton and President of Commission, Mr Barroso of the importance of raising human rights issues during the visit of President Karimov of Uzbekistan to Brussels, on 24th of January. [:] 


Dear Baroness Ashton,


Dear President Barroso,


I am writing to you in view of the approaching meeting of Islam Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan, with Mr Barroso, the President of the European Commission, scheduled for 24th of January.


I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our concern with structural issues and individual cases within the situation with human rights in Uzbekistan and invite you to raise them with President Karimov.


First of all, more after a year since the regrettable decision by the Council on 27th October 2009 to lift the arms embargo against Uzbekistan, we do not have clear information and assessment of progress by the Uzbek in five areas outlined by the Council’s decision as a condition of lifting the embargo. Moreover, during the year under review implementation of none of ‘positive’ steps singled out by EU ministers, apart form ‘dialogues’, took place.


To the contrary, we are deeply concerned with further deterioration of human rights as reported by Human Rights Watch. It is visible in particular in new arrests of human rights activists and independent journalists twelve of whom are currently imprisoned, to name only Abdurasul Khudainasarov, Akzam Turgunov, Alisher Karamatov, Azam Formonov, Dilmurod Saidov, Farkhad Mukhtarov, Jamshid Karimov, Norboi Kholjigitov, Nabibulla Okpulatov, Nosim Isakov, Solijon Abdurakhmanov, and Yuldash Rasulov; new reports of torture and ill-treatment od fetainees; a compulsory and political relicensing of lawyers; and interference in the work of human rights organisations. This directly contradicts to the Council Conclusion of 13th October 2010 “to release all imprisoned human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience”.


Finally, I would like to repeat my call for investigation into the Andijan massacre raised in my letter from the 12th of May 2010. Whilst on the 13th of May 2011 it will be six years since those tragic for a few thousands citizens of Uzbekistan events, neither effective investigation has been carried out nor number of victims identified.


To prevent worsening of the situation in Uzbekistan, the EU needs to insist upon respecting the criteria set out in October 2008 GAERC Conclusions and acknowledge and raise the problems. For this regard, I respectfully call for you to convey the message of our concern with human rights situation in Uzbekistan to Mr Karimov. Also, I ask you to raise specific issues as mentioned above and report back to us on the official reply.


With regards,

Heidi Hautala

Chairwoman of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights