Grass-roots organization created at that time included Popular Movement “Birlik” and, in the subsequent years, Birlik Party, Erk Democratic Party, women’s movement “Tumaris”, Free Peasant Party, People’s Movement “Turkiston”, Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), and Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan.
December 7, 2001
TO THE HONORABLE COLLIN POWELL,
U.S. SECRETRARY OF STATE
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan is happy to greet you on the occasion of your visit to our country. We hope that your visit will be sucessful and productive.
Thirteen years ago, when people of Uzbekistan rose to fight the communist despots, they wanted to institute democratic changes and build a society without violence, with a market economy, and with a strict observance of human rights. Grass-roots organization created at that time included Popular Movement “Birlik” and, in the subsequent years, Birlik Party, Erk Democratic Party, women’s movement “Tumaris”, Free Peasant Party, People’s Movement “Turkiston”, Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), and Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan.
By 1993, however, those who took power after the fall of the USSR managed to suppress non-violent democratic opposition. Under rigid authoritarian rule, only human rights organization retained their ability to function although its leaders have been persecuted also.
Peaceful religious opposition has also been suppressed. Tens of thousands of people are kept in detention in special concentration camps for their religious beliefs. The whole world knows about this.
Long sentences are being served by political prisoners Meli Kobilov, Murod Djuraev, Akhmadjon Odilov, Samandar Kukanov, Agzam Khakimov, Khasanboy Madrakhimov, three brothers of Erk Democratic Party leader Muhammad Salikh, and writer Mamadali Makhmudov, as well as several journalists sentenced on trumped-up charges.
Akhmadkhon Turakhonov and Djurakhan Azimov, regional leaders of Birlik Party, and Shavrik Ruzimurodov, chairman of HRSU branch in Kashka-Darya region, died while in detention.
In sprite of protests thoughout the democratic world, unlawful arrests and fixed trials continue. One example of this was the arrest by the National Security Service agents of democracy activist and poet Yusuf Dzumaev on October 23.
Terrorism must be fought wherever it shows itself, and we unequivocally support a common stand on this issue of the governments of the United States and Uzbekistan. At the same time, HRSU human right activists hope that cooperation between the two countries will not dimionish U.S. administration’s concern with the human right situation in Uzbekistan, and that human rights will have their deserved place on the agenda of your meetings here.
We support any economic assistance to Uzbekistan but hope that it will be tied to real political and economic reform and observance of human rights in our country.
We wish you, Mr. Secretary, and other members of your delegation successful and productive work.
With sincere respect,