6 Jul 2022

UN, US calls for investigation into Uzbekistan's deadly protests!

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and the United States have both called on Tuesday for a speedy investigation into the deadly riots in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan officials said on Monday that 18 people had been killed in clashes in the independent Karakalpakstan region on Friday after protests erupted over planned constitutional changes affecting the state.

The unrest, which has been marred by protests by security forces, has represented the most important challenge to date under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev since taking office in 2016, the death of longtime adviser Islam Karimov.

"We are deeply concerned about the reports we have received about serious violence, including killings, during the protests. I urge the authorities to exercise restraint," Bachelet said in a statement.

"I urge the authorities to immediately open a public and private investigation into any allegations of criminal activity in the area, including violations of government agencies."

The United States has separately expressed concern and urged all parties to seek a "peaceful solution" to the conflict.

"We urge the authorities to conduct a thorough, credible and transparent investigation into the violence, in line with international norms and best practices," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

- Support from Russia -

Uzbekistan is a former Soviet republic and an ally of Russia, which has been under international pressure for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday spoke by telephone with Mirziyoyev and "expressed support for the Uzbekistan leadership's efforts to stabilize the situation in Karakalpakstan".

The size of the protest was unusually large in Central Asia, prompting the Uzbek authorities to issue a month-long emergency in the impoverished western region.

Bachelet said more than 500 people had been arrested and expressed concern that one person had been arrested, and could face up to 20 years in prison.

"People should not be prosecuted for exercising their rights," said the former Chilean president.

"Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, where Uzbekistan is a state institution, everyone has the right to freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and the right to take part in public affairs."

All detainees should have immediate access to a lawyer, and their proper procedure and guarantees of fair trial should be guaranteed, says the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Bachelet called on the government to lift the Internet ban immediately, saying the move was "impartial" and had a "significant impact" on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and access to information.

He also said that the limits under the emergency law should be equal and timed.

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