Uzbekistan (report): Establishing a reparations commission for political prisoners key to transitional justice process

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© Timur Karpov

Paris, Tashkent — A new FIDH report examines the fulfilment of the right to reparations for recently released political prisoners in Uzbekistan as part of a wider transitional justice process in the country and recommends that State authorities establish an independent reparations commission.

Since 2016, hundreds of Uzbekistan’s political prisoners have been released by the mass pardons of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, whose five-year term in office is coming to a close this year. Just three of those amnestied have been cleared of wrongful charges and only one received anything beyond symbolic compensation.

FIDH’s report, Uzbekistan: The Right to Reparations of Political Prisoners, analyses the fulfilment of the rights to restitution, rehabilitation, compensation, and other forms of reparations in Uzbekistan of political prisoners released since the 2016 political regime change, which brought President Mirziyoyev to power.

Tens of thousands of journalists, human rights activists, and religious and opposition figures were arbitrarily arrested for political reasons during the repressive regime of former president Islam Karimov. Sentenced to serve decades in penal colonies, they suffered beatings, torture, malnutrition and other human rights abuses before being amnestied following Karimov’s death.

"The current practice of releasing but not rehabilitating political prisoners serves to perpetuate human rights violations. It is important to observe international standards upon release, including respect for the rights of former prisoners with special needs, the sick, and the elderly. Uzbekistan should implement transitional justice measures to comply with its obligations towards individual victims and to show that its seat on the UN Human Rights Council is well deserved."

Tolekan Ismailova, vice president of FIDH, Director of the Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgystan

The report, available in English, Russian and Uzbek languages and produced in the framework of FIDH’s collaboration with local and international partners to advance transitional justice in Uzbekistan, spells out the State’s obligations under domestic and international law to provide reparations to these individuals and their families. While the new administration appears to have charted a course for ensuring greater respect for individual freedoms, the report finds that the rights of these victims after release remain unfulfilled.

"The treatment of former political prisoners by the current authorities falls well short of even the most basic practices of other transitioning States. Few political prisoners receive the necessary medical or psychological support for the suffering they endured. Only three achieved a formal reinstatement of their rights through acquittal."

Ilya Nuzov, head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk at FIDH, co-author of the report

The report also provides recommendations to the Uzbek authorities based on comparative analysis of transitional justice experience of other countries that provided reparations in the aftermath of systemic violence as part of broader efforts to deal with the past and rebuild social trust.

The report is available in English, Russian and Uzbek languages.

You can read the executive summary here:

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