Senator John McCain: United States and Uzbekistan -- Four Years after Andijan | Freedom House

Senator John McCain: United States and Uzbekistan -- Four Years after Andijan

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Capitol Visitors Center, SVC 203/202

Entrance on 1st street NE and East Capitol Street

Please arrive early to allow sufficient time for registration

May 13, 2005, Andijan, Uzbekistan – After armed men freed a group of prisoners awaiting trial in the remote and impoverished Uzbek city of Andijan, a massive, non-violent anti-government demonstration began spontaneously.  Ministry of the Interior troops opened fire into a crowd of protesters several hours later without warning.  Estimates of those killed on May 13 range from 187, the official count of the government, to 1,000 people, with most outside reports estimating several hundred dead.  While the government claims that most of those slain were either terrorists or victims of the terrorists, Uzbek rights activists, backed by a subsequent OSCE investigation, say that most were civilians felled by indiscriminate fire from the authorities. The Uzbek government has repeatedly denied calls from Western governments for an independent investigation of the violence, and continued to crack down on its civil society.

Following the Andijan events, the Uzbek government expelled U.S. military forces from a base they had been using to support operations in Afghanistan.  The U.S. has managed to increase its commitment in Afghanistan without needing to regain is Uzbek base.  Nevertheless, tensions continue to exist between the U.S. interest in promoting reform in Uzbekistan and other geopolitical and military concerns.

Freedom House rates Uzbekistan Not Free and one of the world’s most repressive countries.

Speakers:

The Honorable Senator John S. McCain (R-AZ)
Senator McCain travelled to Uzbekistan in the wake of the Andijan massacre, and has sponsored legislation to impose targeted sanctions against Uzbek officials who played a direct role.

Lutfullo Shamsutdinov
An Uzbek human rights activist who published first-hand accounts of the Andijan massacre and fled Uzbekistan to avoid persecution. He now lives in Atlanta and is wanted by Uzbek authorities.

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