Media Contact: Ben Anderson
The United States Helsinki Commission will conduct a briefing on human rights in Central Asia with a particular focus on Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The expert participants will also comment on the recent violence in Kyrgyzstan.
Escalating Violence and Rights Violations in Central Asia
Thursday, March 28, 2002
2:15 PM – 3:30 PM
2200 Rayburn House Office Building
Vitaly Ponomaryov, Director, Central Asia Program, Memorial Human Rights Center
Atanzar Arifov, General Secretary of Uzbekistan’s Erk party and former political prisoner
Pulat Akhunov, Director, Central Asian Association of Sweden and former political prisoner
Abdusalom Ergashev, Head, Ferghana Branch, Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan
The people of Kyrgyzstan, suppressed by their Government, signaled this week that tensions are coming to a head when protests escalated into violent clashes with police. In an unprecedented outburst of violence on March 17, six people were killed and scores wounded when police opened fire on demonstrators.
The United States is in Central Asia to make sure terrorists cannot use the region to plan attacks on us or recruit new members. But all the region’s states are led by men determined to stay in power indefinitely. This means they cannot allow society to challenge the state, which, in turn, insures that discontented, impoverished people with no other outlets could well be attracted by radical ideologies.
The un-official transcript of the briefing will be available on the Internet at http://www.csce.gov 24 hours after the briefing.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.