Did we know he was a baddie, or was he OK when we slipped in bed...?
Uzbekistan / Uprising smothered in blood
Uzbeks rise up in vain against dictatorial regime
The Uzbek army yesterday opened fire on citizens who rebelled against the dictatorial regime in the country. Dozens of people have possibly been killed. Last night the rebellion seems to have been beaten down.
The violence took place in the city of Andijan in the eastern Fergana Valley. Uzbek troops stormed a government building that armed rebels had taken earlier in the day. Soldiers also shot at demonstrating citizens who expressed their support to the rebels on a square in Andijan. Eyewitnesses mentioned having seen several bloodied corpses. [..]
Cause of the violence was the fury among the population of Andijan about the imprisonment of 23 respected local businessmen. The Uzbek authorities accused them of islamic extremism [..]. In the night of Thursday on Friday the 23 were freed from prison by armed supporters, along with up to 4000 other -mostly political- prisoners. The insurgents then took several government buildings, while other buildings were set on fire.
"The limit has now been reached. Our family members are starting to disappear", said one of the rebels, who had just been freed. "We have suffered too much, people are desperate, it has to end.''
The uprising immediately got the support of thousands of furious citizens who yelled slogans against Karimov's regime. To quell the unrest Karimov sent hundreds of soldiers to Andijan. In all of Uzbekistan the broadcasts of foreign stations were blocked. [..]
The main cause of the protests is the hopeless situation in the Fergana valley. The area has been restive for some time already, and is overpopulated and poor. Furthermore, the secular government of the former Soviet republic sees muslim extremists everywhere, especially here. Under the guise of the war against terrorism the authoritarian Uzbek president Karimov has accused thousands of people of being fundamentalists and has had them imprisoned. Human rights activists say that the trial against the businessmen in Andijan too was part of Karimovs campaign.
Statement by Muhammed Salih
On democracy in Uzbekistan
The most frequent slogan by Uzbek Parliamentarians is, "Long Live the " Silence"!" and "Long Live our smartest president". In the Uzbek constitution, there is a space for a democratic president, however in practice it does not exist. Instead there is an autocrat. There is no single branch of the government that exists without the control of the centre. Even agreements between trading firms are considered legal only after obtaining presidential approval. All of the foreign firms in Uzbekistan are subject to presidential permission.
The basis of our free market economy is black market. Bribery and corruption are foundations of our economy. An official who does not recieve and gives bribes, or those who do not engage in corruption immediately finds himself our of a job. 95% of all the population in Uzbekistan is poverty-stricken. The rich are the ones who comprise the other 5% who belong to the noemnklatura.Taht is to say, the deputies, judges and police officers. There is no middle class in the in the country. On the onde hand, tehre is a small group of bribed rich and on the other, there is a magnificent army of the poor...
In our constitution, there are articles related to the multiparty system. there are four parties whose actvities are officially permitted. All of these parties consist of old communists, which quate to "pocket parties". That is to say, they are in the pocket of the "monarch". The rael opposition parties, the ones which do not fit into "his" (the monarch, i.e. the president) pocket have for years been persecuted and terrorized.
What is the primary objection of the oppposition to the Karimov regime? During the pre-independence years, in 1988 and 1989, we asked the administration to launch reform programmes in politics and economy. Those were the reforms which would have made us step forward towards a process of gradual democartization. We have supported stability in the country. It was impossible to achieve reform withou stability. Unfortunately, the administartion misused our position. They used it instead to strenghten their control, and but there is stability. However, this stability looks more like the stability of a graveyeard (or the silence of a Mazaristan). (Salih uses here the Mazaristan, the land of graves). The word stability is a wonderful card in the hands of our dictators. Western leaders who are the fans of human rights and democracy can not oppose our dicatators in the face of this stability card.
Uzbekistan is the craddle of Turkish civilization. There are currently 23 million people living in Uzbekistan. It would be wrong to assume that these people are hungry only for bread. I would like to have my voice reach my brothers in Turkey.
Of course Turkey is right in considering Uzbekistan as brother, and so its president Karimov.However, people who are suffering under the oppression of "brother Karimov" are also your brothers. I wish Turkish government would pay more attentin to the sufferings of masses.
In March 2004, following the expiration of the one-year deadline it had set for the Uzbek government to meet specific human rights benchmarks as a condition for further engagement, the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) took the unprecedented decision to suspend direct assistance to the government of Uzbekistan, citing the government's failure to make progress on the benchmarks. It decided to limit investment to the private sector and stay involved in public sector projects only to the extent that they directly affect the well-being of the general population, or involve neighboring countries.
The benchmarks had been set in the bank's March 2003 country strategy for Uzbekistan, issued less than two months before it held its annual meeting in Tashkent. They pertain specifically to human rights: greater political openness and freedom of the media; registration and free functioning of independent civil society groups; and implementation of the recommendations issued by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture.
The U.N. Human Rights Commission voted to impose a confidential monitoring mechanism on Uzbekistan due to persistent lack of improvement in its human rights record. In October 2004, an independent expert appointed by the Commission visited Uzbekistan to conduct a human rights assessment.
Office of the Press Secretary
December 14, 2004
Memorandum for the Secretary of State
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
SUBJECT: Waiver of Restrictions on Assistance to the Republic of Uzbekistan under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of
1993 and Title V of the FREEDOM Support Act
Consistent with the authority vested in me by section 1306 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-314), I hereby certify that waiving the restrictions contained in subsection (d) of section 1203 of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 1993 (22 U.S.C. 5952), as amended, and the requirements contained in section 502 of the FREEDOM Support Act (22 U.S.C. 5852) during Fiscal Year 2005 with respect to the Republic of Uzbekistan is important to the national security interests of the United States.
White House December 04
Craig Murray - the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.
Where is the list of officials who have publicly criticised Karimov?
U.N. Human Rights Commission
At least 600 killed in Uzbekistan
May 16, 2005 - 6:24AM
At least 600 people have been killed in a military crackdown following protests in the Uzbek city of Andijan.
The head of a local non-governmental organisation who saw the bodies says 500 lay stored in one of the eastern city's schools.
The head of the Animokur organisation says another 100 were packed in a nearby construction college.
The bloodshed started early on Friday when weeks-long demonstrations over a trial of 23 local businessmen boiled over.
Prosecutors had accused the men of belonging to an outlawed Islamic group, but their supporters say the charges were fabricated.
Armed backers of the accused stormed a local prison to free them, along with about 2,000 other prisoners, and thousands of people then reportedly converged on Andijan's main square in what quickly turned into an anti-government rally.
© 2005 AAP
May 16, 2005 KST 06:29 (GMT+9)
[FOUNTAIN]Uzbekistan opens its arms to Korea
With a history of foreign invasions and memories of undemocratic practices under military regimes, President Roh Moo-hyun's visit to Uzbekistan prompts several thoughts to be pondered by Koreans.
During the president's visit to the country, which has abundant natural resources, the two countries signed agreements for cooperation in oil exploration and gold and uranium mining. Aside from giving some symbolic development rights to Russia and China, Uzbekistan has not allowed many foreign pacts in the petroleum sector. Also, it has not permitted joint mining of gold and uranium, both strategic resources.
Thanks to the agreement, Korea will be able to participate in the exploration of new oil fields in the Aral Sea region. Also, Korea will take part in the joint exploration and development of uranium and gold mines. Beijing has been asking Uzbekistan to undertake joint petroleum and natural gas development projects, and India wishes to collaborate in uranium mining. However, Seoul was the first to establish a technical foundation for joint exploration.
Uzbekistan chose Korea as a partner because of interesting dynamics of international politics. Those familiar with history know that Uzbekistan, which suffered from Chinese aggression into central Asia during the Tang and Qing Dynasties, has always considered China a "virtual enemy." Uzbeks are equally cautious of India, which possesses nuclear weapons and pursues hegemony in Southwest Asia. According to a source at the embassy, Uzbekistan feels victimized from Russia because it gained its independence from the former Soviet Union and is suspicious of Japan, which rides the influence of the United States and only pursues its own interests. After all, Korea might be the best partner for economic cooperation, as we have a thriving economy but no history of invasion or ambition for domination.
Uzbeks are also impressed by the survival skills of Korean companies that have grown despite the various restrictions and unreasonable bureaucracy in the past. With appropriate flexibility, Korean companies can turn the weaknesses and shortcomings into advantages in the developing country.
by Choi Hoon <[email protected]>
The writer is a political news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo
All think that the next days will show, what and how things might go on.
Sunday, 15 May, 2005, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Locals expel Uzbek town leaders
Local residents have seized control of Korasuv, a border town in eastern Uzbekistan, driving out representatives of the central government.
Angry crowds set government buildings alight and attacked the mayor. The uprising follows the bloody suppression of a demonstration in the nearby city of Andijan on Friday.
The BBC's Ian MacWilliam says this is exactly the kind of local rebellion the Uzbek government hoped to prevent by a show of force in Andijan.
Hundreds of people are feared to have been killed in that city when troops fired on protesting crowds.
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC there had been "a clear abuse of human rights" in Uzbekistan.
Mr Straw said the situation was "serious" and called for more transparency from the Uzbek government.
The Uzbek foreign ministry dismissed the comments, saying Mr Straw was too far away to know what had happened.
Meanwhile, the residents of Korasuv are meeting to discuss how to run their own affairs, free of interference from the authoritarian government, says our correspondent in the town.
As news of the violence in Andijan filtered into Korasuv, local people went to the mayor, demanding that the border crossing to the Kyrgyz side of the town be reopened.
When he refused, he was beaten.
Angry crowds set fire to the militia headquarters, the road police and the tax inspector's office - the three most hated representatives of the central government, our correspondent says.
They then set to work to rebuild two bridges over the border river, reuniting the Uzbek and Kyrgyz sides of the town.
The bridges were ripped up more than two years ago in what the government said was a crackdown on cross-border trade.
But correspondents say locals saw the move as an attempt to grind them down by denying them access to the thriving market on the other side.
They say they now plan to control the frontier crossing themselves and to re-establish trade to provide jobs.
Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has blamed Friday's unrest in Andijan on Islamic extremists operating in Kyrgyzstan.
It is unlikely he will tolerate for long a situation where people can cross freely between the two countries, our correspondent says.
Meanwhile, the situation in Andijan is reported to be quiet, with soldiers and tanks patrolling the streets.
It is difficult to get information as Uzbek security forces have sealed off the city centre and expelled journalists.
It is still not known how many people died. Estimates vary from dozens to hundreds.
The BBC's Monica Whitlock says without any independent humanitarian agencies operating in the region, the true figure may never emerge.
FOREIGN RADICALS BEHIND UZBEKISTAN UNREST: FOREIGN MINISTRY
VIENNA, May 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian foreign minister said foreign radical forces, particularly Talibs, were behind uprising in Uzbekistan.
Sergei Lavrov said Russia was still analyzing reports coming from Uzbekistan, and did not have a full picture yet.
"I do not think any country will tolerate foreign forces seizing arms depots, staging violence, raiding administrative buildings, and taking hostages on its territory," Lavrov told a news conference in Vienna.
Lavrov said every country with self-respect must take measures to exercise its right to self-protection.
A group of gunmen seized administrative buildings and a prison in Andijan, a large city in eastern Uzbekistan, on Thursday night, while thousands of protesters filled the central square the next day, demanding the president and the government step down. The central government sent troops into the city and the uprising was suppressed. The government reported on nine killed, whereas other reports said hundreds of people had been killed and many were injured in Andijan.
"We know the violent clashes took a high death toll and offer our deepest condolences to the victims' relations," said the minister.
Lavrov said it was necessary to ensure stability so that people calmed down and did not respond to provocative acts.
Lavrov also called for a thorough investigation into who and why sent the group of gunmen into the city. This is important as intelligence reports indicate that foreigners were among the gunmen.
Lavrov suggested the UN Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee, the Commonwealth of Independent States' Anti-Terrorist Committee, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should be engaged in the investigation.
Lavrov emphasized it was necessary to deter further escalation and more casualties in Uzbekistan.