Resolution to end impunity and enforced disappearances of citizens in Central Asian countries

Despite their membership in the UN and their international obligations, the authorities of the countries of Central Asia (CA) systematically violate human rights and freedoms and remain unpunished. The number of enforced disappearances is increasing in some Statess. People disappear both during conflict situations and in peacetime in closed institutions, during special operations, especially during the meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) or the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc).

In the context of combating extremism and terrorism in the countries of Central Asia, the number of prisoners in closed institutions, in which conditions do not meet the minimum standards, increases, therefore, the number of suicides grows there. The current anti-extremist legislation and enforcement practices do not fully comply with international standards in the field of human rights protection, which often leads to violations of the rights of citizens expressing their opinions on various issues of the public and political life of the state and society. In many cases, holding citizens accountable for possession and distribution of extremist materials is an unacceptable restriction of the freedom of expression, which has nothing to do with actual opposition to violent extremism in society. We have a serious concern about the enforcement practice under article 313 (Incitement of racial, ethnic, national, religious or interregional hostility), 314 (Creating an extremist organization), 315 (Production, distribution of extremist materials) of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, Art. 174 (incitement of social, national, tribal, racial, class or religious hatred), 405 (Organization and participation in the activities of a public or religious association or other organization after a court decision prohibiting their activities or liquidation due to their practicing of extremism or terrorism) of the Criminal Code of the KR. It becomes a tool of suppressing dissent more and more frequently. In particular, there are many cases when individuals are accused on the basis of assumptions only, searches are conducted in the homes of citizens and other facilities, their right to privacy of correspondence gets limited without judicial sanctions.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in Article 2 emphasizes that “... enforced disappearance is defined as arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.” i

The causes of the civil war in Tajikistan from 1992 to 1997ii have not been adequately investigated, the victims were not given equal access to transitional justice, the victims and their relatives did not receive any compensation, no lessons were learned.iii

UN experts were able to make a short visit to the Wahdat prison, where rebellious prisoners killed three guards during the 2019 riot, and in response 27 prisoners were killed. “It is necessary to conduct a thorough, impartial and independent investigation in compliance with international standards in order to determine the circumstances under which the prisoners were killed and how their remains were identified,” the experts stressed.iv

The reasons for the conflicts in the south of the Kyrgyz Republic during the June 2010 events have not yet been assessed impartially and evaluated by the authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic. In May 2011, the authorities rejected the results of work of the International Commission of Inquiry into the June 2010 riots (the Research Commission on Kyrgyzstan, hereinafter referred to as the RCK), which provided strong evidence that crimes against humanity were committed against the Uzbek population of the city of Osh. Moreover, the authorities insisted that crimes against humanity were committed against the Kyrgyz part of the population. As of today, the authorities have not investigated a single crime against humanity; no criminal proceedings were filed on these charges either. It seems that the authorities are unable or unwilling to give and - equally - execute the order on impartial and thorough investigation of allegations of conspiracy, complicity and direct participation of security forces in human rights violations during and after the June events.v

The State Service for the Execution of Penalties under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not return the bodies of murdered prisoners to their relatives or inform them of the time and date of their burial.1

The issue of enforced disappearances is also relevant in Kazakhstan. According to the Committee on Legal Statistics and Special Records of the General Prosecutor’s Office, three thousand people went missing in Kazakhstan in 2015. According to statistics for July 2016, 2,661 people are now searched for (of which 181 are minors). In 2015–2016, the whereabouts of 1,418 people who were considered missing were found, the bodies of 157 people were found (it was found that 16 of them died a violent death), 40 people who were not found over the past ten years have been declared

ZHANAOZEN and SHETPE: Human rights activists emphasize that the workers continued a peaceful strike until 16-17 December, 2011, when clashes happened between the police and the demonstrators, including the striking oil workers in Zhanaozen and Shetpe. The police shot and killed 16 people, more than 60 were shot and wounded.vii

Xinjiang, China
Dozens of ethnic Kazakhs who claim that their relatives are being held in detention in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang are asking Europe to intervene in the matter. Relatives of ethnic Uygurs and Kazakhs from Xinjiang declare enforced disappearances of people or arbitrary detentions only for visiting Kazakhstan or Turkey, using the WhatsApp, praying namaz or wearing a headscarf by women.

ANDIJAN. On 13 May, 2005, in Andijan, a small town in the Fergana Valley in eastern Uzbekistan, government troops opened fire against civilians gathered in the main square of the city demanding justice. On that tragic day, many people died. According to human rights activists, more than 500 people. Many, fearing for their lives, fled to neighboring Kyrgyzstan. The Uzbek authorities still claim that they shot at the terrorists who were preparing the coup.viii

List of citizens who disappeared in prisonsix
An updated list of people missing in Turkmen prisons is included in the document of “Show them alive!” campaign. In this list, the number of missing persons increased to 112 people compared to 88 people included in our previous list and report of September 2016. This list of missing people is divided into four categories: the so-called “November prisoners” (arrested due to the alleged attempted coup d’état and attempted assassination of President Niyazov on 25 November, 2002), people arrested on charges of Islamic extremism, people convicted of economic crimes and abuse of authority, as well as civil society activists who also disappeared in the prison system of Turkmenistan.

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