The European Union and Uzbekistan held the eighth round of their Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels on 18 November 2014, as part of the 11th meeting of the Subcommittee on Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights and related issues. The Uzbek delegation was led by Mr Nigmatilla Yuldashev, Minister for Justice, who was accompanied by Mr Akmal Saidov, Director of the National Centre for Human Rights, and other senior officials. The EU delegation was led by Mr Silvio Gonzato, Director for Human Rights and Democracy at the European External Action Service.
The dialogue allowed for an open exchange of views on recent developments and on a range of different human rights issues, including the treatment of detainees, freedom of expression, women's rights and freedom of association.
The EU acknowledged the significant efforts that have been made towards the elimination of the use of child labour, and encouraged Uzbekistan to continue its cooperation with the International Labour Organisation on forced labour issues. The EU urged Uzbekistan to move forward with the adoption of a National Action Plan on Human Rights, and to consider issuing invitations to UN special procedures.
The EU encouraged Uzbekistan to take steps towards easing restrictions on the press, to facilitate the establishment and activities of independent civil society organisations, to ensure that human rights defenders are free to work and express their views, and to ensure better protection for the right to freedom of religion or belief. The EU underlined its serious concerns regarding continuing reports of the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, and encouraged Uzbekistan to make the widest possible use of the next prison amnesty.
The next round of the EU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue is expected to take place in Uzbekistan in 2015. The European Union is engaged in dedicated human rights discussions with close to 40 countries around the world.
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