Religious Freedom

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th February 2012.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of religious freedom in Uzbekistan.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

We remain concerned about significant restrictions on religious freedom in Uzbekistan, in particular, the use of criminal law to penalise the peaceful exercise of religious freedom. Although Uzbekistan's constitution provides for freedom of religion, a 1998 law restricts many rights to registered religious groups only and limits which groups can register. There are reportedly 16 religious denominations registered in Uzbekistan. A large number of individuals have been charged, detained and sentenced in relation to their religious beliefs in recent years.

Our embassy in Tashkent closely monitors freedom of religion and the treatment of worshippers, including through regular contacts with civil society. We regularly raise our concerns with the Uzbek authorities, both bilaterally and with our European Union partners, as well as in international fora such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

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