In Uzbekistan, Could Unfair Elections Jeopardize Human Rights Advances?

Press release

On Sunday, highly anticipated legislative elections will take place in Uzbekistan. In a brief published ahead of the 22 December elections, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) express serious concern regarding the outlook for human rights in Uzbekistan, in light of concerns about whether the elections will be free and fair.

Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, Uzbekistan has seen the introduction of over 2,000 new laws and executive decrees as part of reforms aimed at promoting the independence of the judiciary and improving respect for human rights. In addition, human rights defenders, journalists and other political prisoners have been released from prison, where they were serving long prison sentences after being convicted on politically motivated grounds in unfair trials.

Nonetheless, the current context of state obstruction of the work of independent civil society, as well as persecution and harassment of journalists and critics of the authorities renders the conduct of free and fair elections unlikely. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which opened an electoral observation mission in Uzbekistan on 25 November 2019, in particular recalled that no opposition party had been allowed to run in the elections for many years.

In this brief, FIDH, IPHR, and AHRCA outline their concerns about several human rights issues that are at stake with Sunday’s elections.

Brief of the human rights situation
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