According to a 24 July China Daily article, gay Uzbek men interviewed by the newspaper indicated that homosexuals in Uzbekistan regularly experience police "harassment" and that gay establishments are "forced to close or [are] heavily monitored by police.
A January World Organisation against Torture Organisation mondiale contre la torture , OMCT report on human rights violations in Uzbekistan states that "[a]lthough [the crime of homosexuality] has a very high level of latency, law-enforcement bodies can use the charge in some fabricated cases to humiliate the accused or to blackmail homosexuals" 21; see also China Daily 24 July In , following a trial that Amnesty International AI describes as "unfair," Uzbek journalist and human rights defender Surlan Sharipov was charged with homosexuality and sexual relations with a minor and sentenced to five and half years in jail AI 13 Aug.
Although openly bisexual, Sharipov initially denied the charges and AI expressed concern that his confession was obtained "under duress" 13 Aug. Homosexuality is reportedly rarely discussed in public in Uzbekistan China Daily 24 July According to Gay Times , there is "no gay scene as such" in Uzbekistan; however, in , a gay rights group was established and, in , a "gay community" Web site was created n.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for states that there are some homosexuals who have reportedly left Uzbekistan "seeking a more tolerant environment" US 8 Mar. Information on legal recourse and protection available to homosexuals who have been subject to ill-treatment could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection.
Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request. Amnesty International AI. July Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network. New Concern: Unfair Trial. China Daily [Beijing]. Gay Times [London]. Organisation mondiale contre la torture OMCT. January Julie A. Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulaziz Kamilov held a press conference July 5, during which he took questions and spoke on a range of issues for nearly two hours.
Access to the press club is severely limited to predominantly state media representatives. The government used charges of libel, slander, and defamation to punish journalists, human rights activists, and others who criticized the president or the government. Sulaymanov later appeared on a talk show to discuss the case. In April a Tashkent court sentenced Sulaymanov to three years in jail.
The government generally allowed access to the internet, including social media sites. The government blocked several domestic and international news websites and those operated by opposition political parties. The media law defines websites as media outlets, requiring them to register with authorities and provide the names of their founder, chief editor, and staff members.
Websites were not required to submit hard copies of publications to the government. According to government statistics, approximately 39 percent of individuals in the country used the internet. Unofficial estimates, especially of internet access through mobile communications devices, were higher. Several active online forums allowed registered users to post comments and read discussions on a range of social problems.
World Report Uzbekistan | Human Rights Watch
To become a registered user in these forums, individuals must provide personally identifiable information. The decree generally affected only government-owned or government-controlled websites.
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Opposition websites and those operated by international NGOs or media outlets tended to have domain names registered outside the country. The government continued to limit academic freedom and cultural events.
Authorities occasionally required department head approval for university lectures, and university professors generally practiced self-censorship. Although a decree prohibits cooperation between higher educational institutions and foreign entities without the explicit approval of the government, foreign institutions often were able to obtain such approval through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially for foreign-language projects.
Some school and university administrations, however, continued to pressure teachers and students to refrain from participating in conferences sponsored by diplomatic missions.
The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, but the government often restricted this right. Authorities have the right to suspend or prohibit rallies, meetings, and demonstrations for security reasons. The government often did not grant the permits required for demonstrations. Authorities subjected citizens to large fines, threats, arbitrary detention, and abuse for violating procedures for organizing meetings, rallies, and demonstrations or for facilitating unsanctioned events by providing space, other facilities, or materials.
This regulation was broadly applied, even to private corporate functions. In February police in Bukhara initially detained 20 Shia men on charges of disorderly conduct but released 18 of the men either immediately or within 15 days. Authorities charged two individuals, Zhahangir Kulizhanov and Shavkat Azimov, with illegal public association related to establishment of a religious organization. On October 24, Bukhara Regional Criminal Court sentenced Kulizhanov to five years in prison term for dissemination of materials that threaten the public order.
While the law provides for freedom of association, the government continued to restrict this right. The government sought to control NGO activity and expressed concerns regarding internationally funded NGOs and unregulated Islamic and minority religious groups. The operating environment for independent civil society, in particular human right defenders, remained restrictive.
Activists reported continuing government control and harassment. In August police in Karakalpakstan raided a private home where 25 members of an unregistered Protestant church gathered for dinner. All members of the church were taken into custody. One Uzbek-language bible was confiscated.
According to a local NGO, diners claimed to have gathered for a private affair, while police claimed the group belonged to the same underground, unregistered church and were discussing religious matters. Karakalpakstan has only one registered non-Muslim faith church.
The government reportedly has not registered a new Christian church location in eight years; the last time was the registering of an Armenian Apostolic Church in Tashkent.
There are legal restrictions on the types of groups that may be formed, and the law requires that all organizations be registered formally with the government. Authorities used registration requirements to bar foreign NGOs from the country. The government allowed nonpolitical associations and social organizations to register, but complex rules and a cumbersome bureaucracy further complicated the process and created opportunities for government obstruction.
The government compelled most local NGOs to join a government-controlled NGO association that allowed the government considerable oversight over their funding and activities.
The government required NGOs to coordinate their training sessions or seminars with government authorities. NGO managers believed this stipulation created a way for the government to require prior official permission for all NGO program activities. The government claimed these regulations were intended to simplify registration requirements and lower registration fees, but independent civil society groups reported these requirements had not simplified registration procedures. The degree to which NGOs were able to operate varied by region because some local officials were more tolerant of NGO activities, particularly when coordinated with government agencies.follow link
Remarks on the Release of the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
Civil society groups reported that authorities imposed restrictions after groups had registered, such as requiring advance permission from the Justice Ministry for many public activities. The administrative code also imposes penalties against international NGOs for engaging in political activities, activities inconsistent with their charters, or activities the government did not approve in advance.
The government continued to enforce the banking decree, ostensibly designed to combat money laundering, which complicated efforts by registered and unregistered NGOs to receive outside funding. The Finance Ministry required humanitarian aid and technical assistance recipients to submit information about their bank transactions.
The Ministry of Justice required NGOs to submit detailed reports every six months on any grant funding received, events conducted, and events planned for the next six months. NGO leaders may be fined for conducting events without explicit permission from the ministry, and the fine was several times higher than for some criminal offenses. Some civil society organizations criticized the fund for primarily supporting government-organized NGOs. The constitution and laws provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, but the government limited these rights, in particular through the continued requirement for citizens to receive an exit visa for travel outside the Commonwealth of Independent States CIS.
In-country Movement : Citizens were required to have a domicile registration stamp in their passport before traveling domestically or leaving the country, and the government at times delayed domestic and foreign travel and emigration during the visa application process. Permission from local authorities was required to move to Tashkent City or the Tashkent Region from other parts of the country.
Those living and working without Tashkent City or Tashkent Region registration were unable to receive city services and could not legally work, send their children to school, or receive routine medical care. The government required hotels to register foreign visitors with the government on a daily basis.
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Foreigners staying in private homes were required to register their location within three days of arrival. Government officials closely monitored foreigners in border areas, but foreigners generally could move within the country without restriction.
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