Andijan Genocide – Two years on and the EU looks to soften its stance
London, UK, May 13 2007 – In May 2005, 7,000 Muslims were butchered in
a genocide in Andijan in a concerted effort by the Karimov regime to
exterminate Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Uzbekistan. In the main Andijan
square in which 50,000 protestors had gathered, Karimov gave orders to
Russian Special Forces to kill all demonstrators including the elderly,
women and children. This was after his security forces agitated the
masses to rise up against Karimov. The Uzbek authorities allowed little
or no access to the city following the genocide for independent
journalists to verify what really took place.
Two years later, the Uzbek regime has refused to have an independent inquiry into the Andijan massacre and Karimov continues to argue that the charges against the Uzbek government have been "fabricated". Despite this, even the US State Department's annual report on human rights was damning, citing such violations such as the torture of detainees by law-enforcement officers, the incarceration of regime critics and human rights activists in mental hospitals, the persecution of independent journalists and appalling prison conditions.
Remarkably, on May 14th 2007 the EU will hold discussions on the lifting of targeted EU sanctions that were placed on Uzbekistan following the Andijan massacre. Sanctions were imposed because of the Uzbek government's continued refusal to allow an independent international inquiry into the massacre, which was requested first by UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour and then by the US Government. Germany, which currently holds the EU presidency, appears to be pushing for awkward concerns to be quietly dropped from the agenda in pursuit of a "new EU strategy for engaging with Central Asia".
Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "The ongoing repression of political dissent in Uzbekistan has continued unabated since the Andijan massacre under the guise of 'fighting terrorism' with the support of western governments. The move amongst some EU nations to relax sanctions on the brutal Uzbek regime is sheer hypocrisy – these governments support unelected dictators who boil their people alive while preaching freedom, democracy and the rule of law. It is no surprise that Germany is Uzbekistan's cheerleader at the EU – its military base in Termez is obviously more important than the lives of innocents in Uzbekistan."
"The truth is that leaders of Western governments have no moral authority to stop Karimov's brutality – after all they have been relying on 'intelligence' obtained under torture in Uzbek prisons and have been outsourcing torture to the tyrants of the Muslim world."