Today it is the rights of Uzbek refugees that are violated: tomorrow it will be civil rights!
To the President of Ukraine, V.A. Yushchenko
Your Honour, Mr President!
As Uzbek political refugees in Ukraine, we are writing to you as President of Ukraine, the country of the Great Orange Revolution!
Ukraine is today at the centre of an international scandal. The United Nations, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, well-known human rights organizations and the US State Department have accused Kyiv of violating its international commitments as signatories to the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture.
The incident arose as a result of the actions of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) which arrested 11 Uzbek refugees and handed them over to the bloodiest dictator of the modern world, the executioner Karimov. The fate of one of these refugees is to this day unclear. The SSU is assiduously concealing the facts, trying to wash their hands stained by the blood of innocent refugees, and offering various stories. The SSU is attempting to mislead the world community, and at the same time the people of Ukraine.
Instead of explaining how people who had officially applied to the UNHCR for asylum could have been deported, and taking measures to ensure that anything similar happens in future, the Ukrainian authorities have taken a position which is unacceptable for a democratic country. Defending the honour of the uniform, they have declared that the deported refugees from Uzbekistan were members of the banned terrorist organization – IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan).
Prior to that the SSU had stated that the Uzbek refugees had violated the rules involving the period of stay on Ukrainian territory and for that reason had been deported. 15 days after Uzbekistan gratefully received these 10 poor refugees as a “present” from the SSU, it now transpires that they had not only infringed immigration rules, but were also members of the IMU!
Today any person who was directly or indirectly involved, or even simply a chance witness of the “Andijon uprising” of 13 May 2005, regardless of where they are, may be the target of persecution from the National Security Service of Uzbekistan (SNU). These people are dangerous for Karimovs regime as those who can spread the truth about the events of 13 May 2005 in Andijon. On that day the state forces, under the direct command of President Karimov, cold-bloodedly aimed at and shot demonstrators. Up to 1000 people were killed. We would mention that among those refugees deported, three were witnesses of the events of 13 May.
In order to easily arrest anybody the authorities dont like, Uzbekistan uses standard, stock (falsified) charges. People are accused of taking part in any banned “REO” (religious extremist organization) like IMU, “Hizb ut-Tahrir” and so forth. The main thing is to get the person in prison and then experienced specialists on torture will force absolutely any “needed” statements from anybody at all.
In Uzbekistan there is no independent judiciary. Nor is there any just law enforcement system. It is a country where torture is systematically applied and where the death penalty has not been abolished.
The above has been recognized by the UN High Commission on Human Rights and the UN High Commission on Refugees. It is also confirmed by experts from international human rights organizations like "Human Rights Watch", «Amnesty International», «Memorial», «the Moscow Helsinki Group», the “Civic Assistance” Committee and the organization “Pro Asyl" .
We would like to remind you that when the Czech authorities in Prague, on a request from Uzbekistan, arrested the well-known politician and leader of the opposition party “Erk”, Mr. Muhammed Solikh, they did not hurry to extradite him, but asked for the appropriate prosecution documents. The Uzbek authorities could not prove his guilt, after which the Czech Republic apologized and released him.
In Russia, 14 Uzbeks opposing the regime have been held in custody in the pre-trial detention centre in Ivanovo since 18 June 2005, also at the request of the Prosecutor General of Uzbekistan. It is well-known that Russian is the main supporter of the dictatorship in Uzbekistan. Yet even in this case, the Russian authorities have not violated their international commitments and have not handed these people over to the tyrant. Unfortunately, however, 13 of them are still languishing in the Ivanovo prison.
We are surprised that your officials should have so easily committed such violations. Most unfortunately this is not the first time, either. In 2001, under your premiership, four members of the Uzbek opposition from the party “Erk” were sent back to Uzbekistan at the latters request. These people are still in prison. In August 2005 18 Uzbeks who were members of the party “Byryk” were deported.
Mr President, we hope that this action was not a calculated move to appease the dictator Karimov, but merely a mistake committed by your officials whose actions were ignorant and who allowed violations in relation to the 11 Uzbek refugees.
We hope that you will draw the appropriate conclusions, and that those officials guilty of offences will be punished. We also hope that the relatives of the victims will hear from your lips words of apology for the actions of your officials. Only strong individuals are capable of acknowledging their mistakes. The entire world knows you to be a strong person who was about to crush an authoritarian post-communist system without bloodshed.
You are the son of the Great Ukrainian People!
Mr President, the time has come to dispel the doubts of millions of people and show the entire world that Ukraine has not left that path which it chose through the Orange Revolution!
The Head of the Democratic Forum of Uzbekistan
I.M. Dadazhanov Tel: +380953947091, [email protected]
The Chairperson of the Ukrainian Section of the Party “Byrlyk”
A.A. Fayazov Tel: +380964541752, [email protected]
The Deputy Head of the Society of Uzbek Political Refugees in UkraineKh. Y. Khadzimatov Tel: +380963882158, [email protected]