Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Urgent Call for Action: Uzbekistan Authoritarian Measurements

We have received this urgent call for action from women groups in Uzbekistan.

Sweeping and stringent measures introduced recently by Uzbekistan authoritarian government threaten, among other basic rights, the existence of the country independent progressive women non-governmental organisations(NGOs). Many NGOs have been forced to abandon their work and advise staff to find alternative employment.

We urge you to act to ensure that such independent women NGOs can continue to make their positive contribution to the promotion and protection of women rights and to the overall development of Uzbekistan society.

Please demand the withdrawal of the 25 May 2004 Decree on the re-registration of women NGOs under the Committee of Women of Uzbekistan. While the NGO sector requires
regulation and while money laundering is indeed a concern,these must not be used as an excuse just to silence political opposition and those who seek to reveal the realities of women poor status in the country.

It is WLUML experience that suppression of independent progressive groups, like women rights groups, fuels fundamentalisms such as those that have been gaining
ground in the Central Asian region over the last few years. This is one more example of a global trend to control progressive NGOs.

In solidarity,
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
International Coordination Office