Archive for January 2nd, 2012


Uzbekistan – No Rights But Cotton, Oil and… U.S. Troops

Human Wrongs Watch

“For centuries, Uzbekistan was famed as a hub of trade and rich cultural exchange on the Silk Road connecting China to Western Europe. More recently, however, the Central Asian country has come to be known for something far darker: torture,”‘ says Human Rights Watch report “No One Left to Witness” on Uzbekistan’s record of rights abuses.

Photo: Lageroth | Wikimedia Commons

Based on over 100 interviews with torture victims, their relatives, lawyers, human rights defenders, scholars, and government officials between 2009 and 2011, the report focuses on three issues: the failure of habeas corpus, the persistence of torture in pre-trial detention, and the dismantling of the independent legal profession.

With 28 million inhabitants, Uzbekistan is the most populous Central Asian country, and has the largest armed forces. No legal political opposition is allowed and the state holds media under tight controlled.

Despite frequent criticism of its human rights record, Uzbekistan’s energy resources and strategic location have led both the West to turn a blind eye. Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest cotton producers and is rich in natural resources, including oil, gas and gold.

Following the 11 September attacks, Uzbekistan won favour with Washington by allowing its forces a base in Uzbekistan, affording ready access across the Afghan border, the BBC reports, noting that human rights groups accused the international community of ignoring the many reported cases of abuse and torture.

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