International Law

Uzbekistan, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

The preamble to the Republic of Uzbekistan's Constitution provides in part that "[t]he people of Uzbekistan, solemnly declaring their adherence to human rights...affirming their commitment to the ideals of democracy and social justice, recognizing priority of the generally accepted norms of the international law, aspiring to a worthy life for the citizens of the Republic, setting forth the task of creating a humane and democratic rule of law..."

However, Uzbek President Islam Karimov's regime misapplies the rule of law to stifle dissent and abuse human rights activists. Such activists are physically attacked and threatened with exile or commitment to psychiatric hospitals.

The latest victim is Gulshan Karayeva of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan. Ms. Karayeva's "crime" was to refuse to comply with demands by law enforcement and the state's security service to cooperate as an informant. Because of this refusal, she has been threatened, physically attacked, and had her house vandalized.

Rather than take this abuse quietly, Ms. Karayeva has written a letter to President Karimov and released it to the public.

In her letter, Ms. Karayeva pleads for the president to either call off the attacks or proceed to shoot both her and her disabled son so that they can be buried in Uzbekistan instead of living in exile abroad.

It remains to be seen whether Ms. Karayeva's gambit will pay off or if the Uzbek regime will take her up on the offer to simply kill her. Now that her plight has become public, perhaps President Karimov will choose to behave like a hero, casting off his dictatorial ways, and to adhere to the mandate of the very constitution that he is sworn to uphold and to apply the rule of law to protect this brave human rights activist rather than choosing to behave like a public coward and common street thug by trying to intimidate her.

Recommended Reading

Uzbekistan: Rights Defender Threatened, Attacked, Human Rights Watch (May 25, 2012)

Uzbek rights activist asks president shoot her with her son, (May 24, 2012)

How much does it "cost" to provide info for Uzbek security service?, (May 21, 2012)

Human rights activist attacked in Uzbek town of Karshi, (May 19, 2012)