Central Asia: The human rights situation continues to deteriorate

The human rights situation continues to deteriorateUN Assistant General Secretary for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic declared after his visit to Central Asia, that in all countries of the region there are serious problems with human rights. He expressed this opinion at a press interview in New York.

Ivan Shimonovich noted that many of the problems of four Central Asian countries – are similar and have common roots. The reason for this may be that all countries were part of the former Soviet Union. Soviet influence was so strong at the time, that its legacy is seen even now after many years since the Soviet collapse. First of all it is the lack of genuine democratic society, the way it should be in the traditional sense. In addition, while working, he faced a lot of obstacles that hinder the work of NGOs and journalists, even now. Having common basis this problem is expressed in every country in different ways:

“Best of all things are in Kyrgyzstan, where in 2010 the president Bakiyev was overthrown.There’s a very active civil society. In Tajikistan the democratic space expands slowly. Turkmenistan was the only country where I was not able to talk with representatives of civil society, because a genuinely independent civil society simply doesn’t exist there. In Uzbekistan there is a tradition of civic engagement and non-governmental organizations, but many years of repression led to that they remained very little. And in this country, support of civil society for the protection and observance of human rights is essential!”

Another cause for concern: problems in the field of power separation, rule of law and the independence of judges:

“It is possible to speak about the power separation now, cuz it comes only in regulations. But in practice, and this also applies to the provisions of the constitution, power separation is questionable.”

Ivan Shimonovich added that judges are usually appointed by the government, either directly or with their feed.

Corruption also thrives in all four states.

He said that the regional problem is widespread and systematic use of torture – both for the production of confessions and as punishment. And most of the torture are used at a preliminary stage, in detention centers.

According to Shimonovich in Tajikistan, for example, the law on the prevention of torture was signed, as well as a number of provisions on the prohibition of torture and the exclusion of evidence obtained under torture. However, it seems that these progressive changes remain on paper:

“When you ask about specific cases, it turns out that they are no such. There are no cases when the evidence which were obtained under torture would not be accepted, there were no cases of any administrative or criminal prosecution in connection with the torture. This also can be applied to other countries.”

Ivan Shimonovich is also worried about the level of violence against women, although still the situation is different states is different. In Tajikistan the law on domestic violence was passed, but in reality its implementation is difficult, including for the small number of women among police officers and prosecutors. In Turkmenistan, to the great surprise of Mr. Šimonović, there was not a single female prosecutor. It seems that in this area more than others succeeded Uzbekistan, where there are female police officers, prosecutors and judges. But in Kyrgyzstan an alarming problem concerns the early marriages:

“In Kyrgyzstan, one-third of all marriages are the result of bride kidnapping, it means it happens contrary to the wishes not only of parents, but women as well, who often are under 18 years.”

Shimonovich staying in Kyrgyzstan was not without discussion the ethnic riots in the south of the country, including the city of Osh in 2010:

“I was struck by the fact that the vast majority of victims of violence, and it was measured in hundreds and hundreds of thousands of refugees were Uzbeks. At the same time, criminal proceedings were aimed at the Uzbeks, and they make up the majority of the accused people. I raised this issue at meetings with the officials and emphasized that we can not find any long-term solution or achieve a lasting peace without clarifying the full picture of the events in the south, and their causes.”

During his visit to Uzbekistan, Ivan Shimonovich called for the need of full investigation into the suppression of the protests in Andijan in 2005, including the causes of the riots and the use of excessive force by the authorities:

“It is especially important, considering the current threats connected with proximity of Afghanistan and activity of radical groups including quite powerful “The Islamic movement of Uzbekistan” We discussed how we can ensure the safety, including the prevention of terrorism, respecting human rights. ”

The neighbourhood with Afghanistan – is the important factor which influences a situation in the countries of Central Asia.

UN Assistant General Secretary spoke in favor of a regional conference, at which countries could discuss the fight against terrorism and respect for human rights.

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