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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Civil and Political Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia: Implications for Post-2014 U.S. Foreign Policy

Date: 
Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 2:00pm
Location: 
Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Announcement

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on civil and political rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia, and the implications for United States foreign policy towards the region.

The five Central Asian Republics – the countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – are all characterized by serious human rights abuses. While the scale and scope of violations vary, in all the countries there is insufficient progress towards advancing civil and political rights.

Uzbekistan’s repression of civil society worsened in the aftermath of the Andijan massacre on May 13, 2005, when Uzbek government forces opened fire on thousands of mostly peaceful protesters and killed hundreds of unarmed men, women and children. The Uzbek government severely limits basic freedoms of its citizens, routinely detains and tortures human rights activists, journalists, religious believers, artists, and other perceived critics of the government, and has closed the country to outside scrutiny.

Neighboring Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan are also ruled by authoritarian regimes that restrict freedoms of speech, association and religion, and deny due process of law. Kyrgyzstan has made strides toward democracy, but is at risk of reversing progress as it considers legislative proposals that limit activity of civil society organizations and criminalize free speech “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations.”

With the drawdown of the troop presence in Afghanistan, the United States has an opportunity to reconfigure its foreign policy towards the region, which has been dominated by the exigencies of the war in Afghanistan. This hearing will explore what the United States can do to strengthen human rights and democratic governance in the region. Please join us as experts examine the state of civil and political rights in Central Asia and provide recommendations for U.S. foreign policy.

For any questions, please contact Soo Choi (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or soohyun.choi@mail.house.gov or Carson Middleton (for Rep. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or carson.middleton@mail.house.gov

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, Co-Chair, TLHRC

Witnesses

Panel I

  • Mr. Daniel Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Department of State
  • Mr. Rob Berschinski, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State

Panel II

  • Ms. Allison Gill, Central Asia Expert, Amnesty International
  • Dr. Sanjar Umarov, Former Political Prisoner in Uzbekistan
  • Mr. Jeff Goldstein, Senior Policy Analyst, Eurasia, Open Society Foundations

Rep. James P. McGovern, Opening Remarks: Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia [PDF]

Robert Berschinski, Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia [PDF] 
Allison Gill, Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia  [PDF] 
Sanjar Umarov, Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia [PDF] 
Jeff Goldstein, Rights in Uzbekistan and Central Asia [PDF] 

Transcript

Transcript [PDF] 

Video

 

114th Congress