Tuesday, May 15, 2012 -
Rights groups marked the seventh anniversary of the Andijan massacre Tuesday by petitioning the United States and Europe to “re-examine their relationships” with Uzbekistan.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov ordered security forces to open fire on protesters without warning in the major eastern city on May 13, 2005, killing possibly hundreds of people. The bloody crackdown was followed by years of persecution and mass jailings.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International posted statements saying that Western powers have since made insufficient efforts to take the Tashkent government to task over that day and its dismal human rights record.
Europe and Washington initially reacted by imposing sanctions regimes against the government and demanding Tashkent permits an impartial investigation into the killings.
Yet the Karimov government refused to do so, kicking rights organizations out of the country and deepening its repressive control over the country.
The two powers have since eased the sanctions to curry political and business favors from Karimov, due to Uzbekistan’s strategic location north of Afghanistan.
“Uzbekistan’s partners should recognize the downward spiral in its human rights record since Andijan and reiterate calls for justice for this terrible atrocity,” HRW said in a statement.
“Seven years later, the EU and the U.S. have yet to hold the Uzbek government accountable for the Andijan massacre and for the repression that continues unabated to this day,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Amnesty was equally critical of the EU in its statement.
"“We’re dismayed that the EU has since turned a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation in Uzbekistan. It’s lifted all sanctions and has stopped calling for an investigation. This is despite the regime’s disregard for its international obligations and human rights standards agreed with the EU. It’s high time that the Union held the Karimov regime fully to account," Amnesty's Director of European Institutions Office Nicolas Beger said in the Friday statement.