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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Human Rights Watch Cites Uzbek Violations

BRUSSELS -- Despite a public relations campaign that has improved its relations with the West, Uzbekistan continues to violate fundamental human rights, a human rights group said in a statement to be released Monday.

"The well publicized arrests, detentions and beatings of political dissidents that once earned Uzbekistan international contempt have decreased markedly," Human Rights Watch said, summarizing a report by its Helsinki branch.

"At the same time, however, fundamental civil liberties remain suspended: heavy censorship and harassing surveillance help maintain the domestic 'stability' so prized by this nation that borders turbulent Afghanistan and Tajikistan."

The government censors all media and punishes peaceful protests or perceived disloyalty through arbitrary arrests, "disappearances," dismissals from work and surveillance of homes and telephones, the group said.

But Uzbekistan, in search of investment and development assistance from the West, has in the last 18 months been much more open about discussing human rights with outsiders, it said.