Flash protest around the official visit to Brussels of the president Karimov

Press release

Brussels - in front of Berlaymont (EC building) - 10.15

On the eve of the first visit to Brussels of the President of Uzbekistan,
Islam Karimov, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses
its extreme concern about the situation of human rights in Uzbekistan where 16
human rights defenders, including 8 members of FIDH member organisation, HRSU,
remain detained.

FIDH denounces the invitation sent by the President of the European
Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, to a dictator directly responsible for massive
human rights violations in the absence of any improvement on the human rights
situation and of any demonstrated willingness to positively engage on this

The secrecy surrounding this visit, its focus on energy negociations
reinforce FIDH assessment that human rights are kept far from the centre of
EU-Uzbekistan relations.

After having lifted the EU sanctions against the regime despite the fact
that none of the criteria to lift it were met -including the establishment of a
commission of inquiry on the massacre of Andijan - the European Union is
sending again an extremely worrying signal to Uzbek human rights defenders and
to the international human rights community.

Together with Uzbek human rights defenders, including Mutabar Tadjibaeva who
was detained and tortured in Uzbek jails before her liberation in 2008, FIDH
denounces the EU lack of consistency in defending the core values of human
rights and democratic principles and will set up flash mobilisation in favour
of detained Uzbek human rights defenders in front of the European Commission
building on Monday 24 January, at 10.15am.

FIDH call upon the EU to:

- use all its instruments and leverages to obtain the release of all
detained human rights defenders ; - condition any further development of
EU-Uzbek relations to concrete improvements of the human rights situation in
Uzbekistan ; - establish specific benchmarks and objectives to be reached
annualy in the framework of the EU-Uzbekistan human rights dialogue and to
suspend it if these objectives can not be reached ; - invite Uzbek and
international human rights defenders to a debriefing with Mr Barroso

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