House of Lords written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to protect human rights campaigners in Uzbekistan, including Elena Urlaeva and Tatiana Dovlatova.

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

We closely monitor the human rights situation in Uzbekistan and regularly raise our concerns, including on individual cases, with the authorities. We do this bilaterally, including through meetings at ministerial and senior official level, and jointly with the United Nations, European Union and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. We also highlight critical cases in our human rights report which can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website. We regularly call on the Uzbek authorities to permit human rights defenders to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of prosecution or harassment.

We have a range of human rights related projects, working where possible with local representatives of civil society and human rights defenders. Our embassy in Tashkent meets frequently with human rights defenders, including Elena Urlaeva and Tatiana Dovlatova.

The recent release of several human rights activists, including Alisher Karamatov, is positive. However, many more human rights defenders remain behind bars, including Azam Formonov, who was arrested on the same day and on the same charges as Karamatov. We continue to raise individual cases and to encourage Uzbekistan to act in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

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