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Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan bans foreign military bases on its land
2 August 2012 - Uzbekistan is moving to ban foreign military bases on its territory, local media reported on Thursday. The ban is part of a major foreign-policy document proposed by President Islam Karimov, which was approved by the lower house of parliament this week. It was the first such document since Uzbekistan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and the Senate is expected to pass it this month. (more)

US tells Uzbekistan it wants better ties
13 July 2009 - A top US diplomat told Uzbekistan on Monday Washington wanted to repair relations with the Central Asian state, strained since a dispute over human rights in 2005 and the closure of a key US military base. The mainly Muslim former Soviet republic had ceased contacts with Washington but has since allowed transit of non-military cargo to neighbouring Afghanistan and welcomed President Barack Obama's address to Muslims calling for a new beginning in ties. US Under Secretary of State William Burns met with Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who told Burns he welcomed the new US approach. (more)

Uzbekistan accepts Obama's call for 'new beginning'
9 June 2009 - Uzbekistan strongly welcomed US President Barack Obama's call for a 'new beginning' in ties between Washington and the Muslim world, signalling a departure from the Central Asian state's usual anti-Western sentiment. Breaking with its tradition of fierce anti-Western sentiment, the former Soviet republic praised a speech Obama delivered at Cairo University last week as pragmatic and sober. (more)

Uzbekistan: New school brings children with disabilities out of their homes
6 May 2006 - A new Sunday School project is providing educational opportunities to some of the 1,000 disabled young people in Angren, and because of its success more such educational institutions are planned. (more)

Uzbekistan abolishes capital punishment
12 September 2005 - The Uzbek government has announced that the country's death penalty will be abolished as of 2008. Deputy Attorney General Bakhtiyer Nurmukhamedov said that on 28 January the President of Uzbekistan presented the idea before parliament, and emphasized that 'we were working towards the solution of this problem from the country's first days of independence'. (more)

Uzbek Senate backs US eviction from base
26 August 2005 - Today the Uzbek Senate has endorsed the government's decision to evict US troops from an airbase - an important hub for American military operations in Afghanistan. 'We know that fundamentalist moods arise wherever US bases appear. Enemies of the United States appear wherever there is a US military presence, and we don't want to be caught in-between,' Kashkadarya governor Nuritdin Zainiyev said. (more)

Uzbekistan evicts US from air base
30 July 2005 - The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan has ended its agreement allowing US military aircraft and personnel to use an air base that has been an important hub for American military operations in Afghanistan, administration officials said Saturday. No reason for the eviction was given by either the US or Uzbekistan, and the US forces will have six months to leave. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan welcome new Transcendental Meditation teachers and practitioners
14 July 2012 - People in the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are embracing the knowledge and technologies of consciousness brought to light by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In Uzbekistan a new teacher has begun offering Transcendental Meditation courses in Bukhara, in the heart of the country. Kyrgyzstan, a developing country with stunning landscapes and natural resources, opened a Maharishi School of Management in 1996; over the last 16 years 3,500 people have learned the technique. (more)

Uzbekistan: Group practice of Maharishi's Technologies of Consciousness helps maintain peace
5 February 2007 - Since Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation Movement was founded in Uzbekistan in 1992, more than 12,000 people have learnt the TM Technique--and the numbers are growing. The country also has over 600 Yogic Flyers. (more)


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In Uzbekistan, 'slave labour' used to harvest cotton
25 October 2013 - Uzbekistan, once part of the former Soviet Union, is a dry, landlocked country in Central Asia. Islam Karimov, 75, has been President since 1990, having won three consecutive elections that were widely considered to have been rigged. Karimov's Uzbekistan is infamous for its use of torture, violent suppression of dissent, and persecution of human rights activists. It is the world's fifth-largest exporter of cotton, earning $1 billion (US) annually in exports to China, Turkey, Russia, the European Union, and Bangladesh. This year, Uzbekistan expects to harvest 3.35 million tonnes of cotton between September and November. Its citizens will be forced to pick the crop -- as they have been since 1991. Uzbeks must perform hashar -- national duty -- which the government defines as supporting the cotton harvest. Authorities force adults in the public sector -- teachers, doctors, nurses -- as well as vulnerable citizens and schoolchildren into the cotton fields. They are threatened with physical violence and the loss of jobs, social benefits, and even their pensions. Others are threatened with public humiliation. (more)

Rights group forced out of Uzbekistan
15 March 2011 - Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that it has been forced to close its office in Uzbekistan after facing years of harassment by the Central Asian nation's authorities. 'With the expulsion of Human Rights Watch, the Uzbek government sends a clear message that it isn't willing to tolerate critical scrutiny of its human rights record,' Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said in a statement. Uzbekistan lies on a key supply route for NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, making it a valuable ally for the West. The country's strategic importance has made the United States reluctant to criticize Uzbekistan over its rights violations, Human Rights Watch said. (more)

Rights group: 39 Uzbeks died of torture in prisons
30 December 2010 - At least 39 people have died of torture in prisons of authoritarian Uzbekistan this year amid a spiralling crackdown on religious groups and government critics, a respected rights group said Thursday. The Independent Human Rights Defenders Group said the figure was based on information from the victims' families and former inmates. It added that the actual number of such deaths could be higher, but many are not reported because the families fear official reprisals for contacting rights activists or reporters. Dozens of rights and opposition activists have been jailed in Uzbekistan in recent years. Worried by the revival of Muslim traditions and the threat of radical Islamism from neighbouring Afghanistan, the government of former Communist boss Islam Karimov has for years suppressed peaceful Muslims who practice their faith outside government-approved mosques. (more)

Silk's dark side: Uzbek kids made to grow cocoons
28 August 2010 - Uzbek's silkworm business dates back centuries to the Silk Road that ran through this Central Asian country. But its modern-day incarnation as a state monopoly has a dark side. For one month a year, from morning to night, children grow silkworms, a painstaking and exhausting job. Farmers say they are threatened with fines or loss of their land leases for missing quotas, and these quotas are so high that they have no choice but to draft their children into the work. The use of child labor in Uzbek cotton-picking has been widely documented, and Walmart and several other US chain stores won't stock it. But the silk industry has largely escaped international scrutiny. (more)

Factbox: Key facts about the disappearing Aral Sea
4 April 2010 - Lakes and seas are disappearing around the world, mainly due to mismanagement of water resources linked to irrigation projects. The Aral Sea, once the world's fourth largest lake, has shrunk by 70 per cent in recent decades. Following are key facts about the Aral Sea. (more)

UN Secretary-General Ban calls Aral Sea 'shocking disaster'
4 April 2010 - The drying up of the Aral Sea is one of the planet's most shocking environmental disasters, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 4 April as he urged Central Asian leaders to step up efforts to solve the problem. Once the world's fourth-largest lake, the sea has shrunk by 90 per cent since the rivers that feed it were largely diverted in a Soviet project to boost cotton production in the arid region. The shrunken sea has left boats stranded in sandy wastelands, leaning over as if they dropped from the air. The sea's evaporation has left layers of highly salted sand, which winds can carry as far away as Scandinavia and Japan, and which plague local people with health troubles. (more)

Uzbek refugees return home uncertain and uneasy
18 March 2007 - Less than two years after they fled Uzbekistan in the wake of the government's crackdown on protests in an eastern city, scores of Uzbeks have returned home amid tension, and to an uncertain welcome. There have been unconfirmed reports that some of the returnee have been arrested, and others are being subjected to regular questioning. (more)

Uzbekistan's repression and violence continues at one-year anniversary of massacre
15 May 2006 - One year ago, Uzbekistan's government's attack on demonstrators in Andijan left over 1,000 people dead. According to experts, repression in the country continues, with arrests, intimidation, and violence against political opponents. (more)

Uzbekistan: Systematic use of torture continues
26 April 2006 - Concern over Uzbekistan's systematic use of torture in detention facilities, unfair trials, and ill-treatment to extract confessions has again been raised by the United Nations. (more)

Uzbek revolt leader said to seek holy war
24 September 2005 - Uzbekistan's authoritarian regime hopes a trial will refute accusations that government troops fired on protesters in the city of Andijan, killing hundreds, and support its contention that extremist Islamic groups from abroad encouraged it. However, confessions from the defendants appear to have been carefully choreographed and appear to have been coerced through torture. (more)

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