UN Demands Independent, Urgent Probe Into Deadly Unrest In Uzbekistan

UN Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet called for a “prompt, independent and transparent investigation” into the deadly protest in Uzbekistan’s autonomous Karakalpakstan region, in which hundreds of people were killed, wounded and detained.

“The reports we have received about serious violence, including killings, during the protests are very concerning. I call on the authorities to exercise utmost restraint,” Bachelet said.

Citing the latest figures that at least 18 people were killed and 243 injured during the clashes between protesters and security forces in regional capital Nukus, Bachelet said that it is feared that the real number of casualties may be far higher.

“I urge the authorities to immediately open a transparent and independent investigation into any allegations of criminal acts committed in that context, including violations by agents of the state,” Bachelet said in a statement.

Over 500 people were also detained during and after the protests and Bachelet expressed concern that one person had already been charged, and faced up to 20 years imprisonment “for conspiracy to seize power or overthrow the constitutional order”.

“People should not be criminalized for exercising their rights,” said Bachelet, adding under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a State Party, everyone has the right to “freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and the right to participate in public affairs.”

Authorities in Uzbekistan said on July 4 that clashes erupted in the autonomous Karakalpakstan region after people took out to the streets against planned constitutional changes affecting the territory’s status.

The unrest in Nukus occurred after Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoeve proposed constitutional changes that would have affected the region’s autonomous status.

Uzbekistan authorities also announced a month-long state of emergency in Karakalpakstan, limiting entry and exit from the province.

© Fourth Estate® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.