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Erklärungen in internationalen Organisationen

16.03.2006

OSCE Permanent Council No. 598


EU Statement in Response to the Head of the OSCE Centre in Tashkent, Ambassador Miroslav Jenča

  1. The European Union warmly welcomes Ambassador Jenča to the Permanent Council, and thanks him for his balanced and considered report. We express our full support for the Centre’s activities, and wish Ambassador Jenča and his dedicated staff the best of success for all ongoing and future activities.
  2. The EU attaches great value to keeping the political dialogue with Uzbekistan open and calls upon the Uzbek authorities to co-operate with the Chairman in Office and the Secretary General.
  3. In the year that has passed since Ambassador Jenča´s first report to the PC, the human rights situation and the process of democratic reform have deterio-rated significantly in Uzbekistan. We remain deeply disturbed by the events in Andijan in May 2005, rightfully termed a tragedy. We repeat our call for an in-dependent and transparent inquiry into all aspects of this tragic occurrence, and we offer our cooperation to the Uzbek side in this respect. We look for-ward to the publication of ODIHR’s Report on the trials subsequent to the Andijan events.
  4. Many affected by the Andijan tragedy have fled Uzbekistan and sought refuge in the territories of other participating States. Their fate, and the possibility of deportations or extraditions to their country of origin, remain a cause of great concern to the EU. Once again, we commend the efforts of all States that have granted protection to the refugees by offering asylum or temporary refuge. At the same time, we call on all participating States that currently shelter refugees from Uzbekistan to refrain from deportations  and to work with the UNHCR and others in order to assure the continued safety and security of these individuals. And we call on the Uzbek authorities to allow access to and respect the rights of those already returned.
  5. Regrettably, the possibility for independent national and international observ-ers to follow the trials against those held responsible for the incidents in Andi-jan was limited to the first trial before the Supreme Court which ended on 14 November 2005. The lack of transparency in the subsequent trials is particu-larly deplorable as the Supreme Court trial clearly failed to meet international standards of due legal process. We express our hope that justice will be meted out eventually to all those who must be held accountable in this context.
  6. At the same time, we appreciate the fact that trial observation was made pos-sible in recent lawsuits against members of the civil society, including Ms. Khi-dayatova and Mr. Umarov from the “Sunshine Coalition” and Ms. Tojibaeva from the “Burning Hearts” group. However, we are deeply concerned that the sentences passed against these individuals are indicative of the mounting pressure on non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and civil society groups in Uzbekistan. Other moves against civil society, including the shutdown of several international NGO’s during the past year, corroborate this picture. We call on the Uzbek side to reverse this trend and to allow, in con-formity with OSCE principles and commitments, individual human rights de-fenders and non-governmental organizations to make their full contribution to the development of civil society and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Uzbekistan.
  7. The EU takes note of the presidential decree of 1 August 2005 abolishing the death penalty from 2008, as well as some amendments to the legal system which will bring Uzbek legislation and – we hope – legal practice closer to in-ternational standards. On the other hand, we are concerned that the death penalty is still being imposed, and that prisoners are still on death row. We re-iterate our view that an immediate moratorium on the death penalty would be the logical first step towards its forthcoming abolition, and we call on the Uzbek side to impose such a moratorium promptly. The vast majority of OSCE par-ticipating States have abolished death penalty. Of those that still have it in their legislation, most have introduced a moratorium.
  8. Finally, while we welcome the sustained contacts of the Centre in Tashkent with the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we deplore the fact that the scope of activities of the OSCE Centre in Tashkent was limited in a number of cases due to a lack of approval or co-operation from the Uzbek authorities. The non-accreditation of two newly recruited staff members has been an additional constraint on the Centre’s work, as has been the exceptional limited duration of the Centre’s mandate. These factors have made it difficult for the Centre to function efficiently. We express our expectation that the Centre will be able to resume its work on the basis of a regular twelve-month mandate, and will be able to carry out its full range of activities in all three dimensions, taking into account the inherent link between security and human rights. Consenting to this would be the clearest demonstration by the Uzbek side of its desire to fur-ther develop the mutually beneficial partnership with the OSCE.
  9. In its reply to Ambassador Jenča’s report in April 2005, the Uzbek delegation expressed its openness “to constructive dialogue on matters involving some criticism”. The European Union wishes to underline its readiness to work with the Uzbek side in this spirit of constructive dialogue. Opportunities to resume the constructive dialogue abound. In this vein, the EU reiterates its invitation to Uzbekistan to participate in the Regional Dialogue meeting between the EU and Central Asian countries to be held on 7 April in Almaty. We hope for ap-propriate Uzbek participation. Once again, we thank Ambassador Jenča for his efforts to support Uzbekistan in the promotion of OSCE principles and com-mitments and wish him and the staff at the Centre the best of success.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

*Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

 

Datum: 17.03.2006