Majlis Podcast: Uzbekistan In The Spotlight For The Wrong Reasons

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4/10/21

Since 2016, when Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov, died, the authorities have been working to change the image the country inherited from Karimov as a chronic rights abuser. There have been some signs of progress but starting in late February, things began to fall apart. A group trying to register as an opposition party was harassed and some of its members attacked; activists trying to form the country’s first independent labor union came under pressure; calls for changing laws against the LGBT community were flatly rejected and met with violence; and a new law was introduced making it a crime for bloggers and others to insult the honor of President Shavkat Mirziyoev on the Internet, less than half a year before he is due to run for reelection. On this week’s Majlis Podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion on the regression in Uzbekistan’s declared domestic reforms. This week’s guests are: from Uzbekistan, Dilfuza Kurolova, human rights lawyer and founding curator of Global Shapers’ Tashkent Hub; also from Uzbekistan, Dilmira Matyakubowa, co-director of Uzinvestigations and a fellow at the London-based Foreign Policy Center; veteran Central Asia watcher Steve Swerdlow, who is a rights lawyer and currently associate professor of the practice of human rights at the University of Southern California; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

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