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Top UN human rights chief calls for action on reform pledges and accountability Uzbekistan And KazakhstanDuring recent visits to two Central Asian states, countries with appalling human rights records.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, called for an independent investigation, or “after-action” review. July 2022 protests in Karakalpakstan, UzbekistanAutonomous Regions of, along with “responsibility for loss of life” January 2022 events in Kazakhstan, urging the authorities to ensure “justice, reparation and truth” for all victims. Human Rights Watch documented the unjustified use of deadly force by security forces in both cases.

Although the investigation has led to the prosecution of protesters in recent months – Dozens in Uzbekistanin hundreds Kazakhstan – there is glaring absence of accountability For the loss of life caused by the outrageous law enforcement responses in both countries.

The High Commissioner also called for criminalizing domestic violence. Neither Uzbekistan nor Kazakhstan includes domestic violence as a stand-alone offense in their criminal codes. Every year hundreds of women are victims of abuse and impunity for violence is the norm in both countries. The High Commissioner also called upon Uzbekistan Decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships,

at a time when media persons in both countries have been fast targetIncluding the fake criminal charges, Turk called for a “free media and open digital space”, urging both countries to take “further action on protecting journalists and freedom of expression”.

He also called on Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to implement a zero-tolerance approach to torture.

While Turki praised the presidents of both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan for their “commitment to ensuring the centrality of human rights” in each country’s reform process, he said after his visit to Uzbekistan, “Actions always speak louder than words”. .

It is pointless for Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to preach a reform agenda if they have no intention of following through. “It is important that the resolve to act on human rights is translated into action on the ground,” Turki said.

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