A delegation of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are visiting Uzbekistan on 28-29 October 2013 on the occasion of a meeting with Uzbek parliamentarians. So-called EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee meetings are regularly held as part of EU-Uzbekistan relations. Ahead of the delegation visit, International Partnership for Human Rights sent the participating MEPs a letter, encouraging them to raise concerns about the persecution of independent civil society voices in Uzbekistan during their visit.
The letter is availble below:
To: Members of the European Parliament Paolo Bartolozzi, Katarina Nevedalova, Piotr Borys and Elisabeth Jeggle
Copy: Carlo Chicco and Kathleen Huygen
Re. Visit to Uzbekistan for EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
25 October 2013
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
I’m writing to you in view of your upcoming visit to Uzbekistan on the occasion of the EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. As you are no doubt aware, the human rights situation in Uzbekistan is highly problematic and persecution of independent civil society voices is a matter of particular concern. For your information, I would like to share with you a briefing paper on this topic prepared by my organization, the Brussels-based International Partnership for Human Rights and our partner, the exiled Uzbek human rights NGO Fiery Hearts Club for the new round of the EU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue that is scheduled to take place next month. The briefing paper details recent individual cases of concern and discusses the importance of EU action to promote implementation of relevant recommendations addressed to Uzbekistan in the framework of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) earlier this year. [Ed: The briefing paper is available here].
We hope that the briefing paper will provide a useful reference document for you in the preparation of your visit. In line with the EP Guidelines for Interparliamentary Delegations on promoting human rights and democracy on visits to non-EU countries, we also encourage you to use any opportunities arising during your visit to raise concerns described in our paper with Uzbek counterparts, in particular with respect to individual cases, and to seek commitments from them for concrete measures to implement UPR recommendations on improving respect for fundamental freedoms.
I thank you for your attention to this matter and wish you a productive trip.
Brigitte Dufour, Director of International Partnership for Human Rights
See also Uzbekistan: The EU should press for end to persecution of independent civil society voices