Uzbekistan cracks down on NGOs

Despite the recent tensions between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, both governments seem equally paranoid about Western-backed subversion within their borders. And perhaps with reason. From RFE/RL, July 12:

A Tashkent court today ordered the closure of the Urban Institute, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization.

The court ruled the Urban Institute was engaging in activities outside its stated purpose.

As one example of violations, the Justice Ministry said during a training session for a homeowner society, representatives of the Urban Institute initiated a discussion about the socioeconomic and sociopolitical situation in Uzbekistan.

The office of the international organization Human Rights Watch is also facing legal problems. Uzbek authorities say the group cannot provide evidence to support public claims it has made about rights violations in Uzbekistan.

The Hungarian NGO Ecumenical Charity Service also faces closure. Uzbekistan’s Justice Ministry charges the charity failed to open a bank account, covered all local expenses with cash and evaded taxes.

See our last posts on Uzbekistan and the Great Game for Central Asia.