The European Union and Uzbekistan today held the ninth round of their annual Human Rights Dialogue in Tashkent, as part of the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights and related issues. The Uzbek delegation was led by Mr Muzraf Ikramov, 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 Toivo Klaar, Head of Central Asia Division at the European External Action Service.
The dialogue allowed for an open exchange of views on a range of different human rights issues, including the treatment of detainees, freedom of expression, freedom of association and women's rights.
The EU welcomed the significant progress that has been made on the elimination of the use of child labour, and encouraged Uzbekistan to continue working with the International Labour Organisation on forced labour issues.
The EU encouraged Uzbekistan to ease restrictions on the press, on civil society, and on religious groups. The EU stressed that it remains seriously concerned by reports of poor detention conditions and the mistreatment or torture of detainees, and encouraged Uzbekistan to free all imprisoned human rights defenders.
The next round of the EU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue is expected to take place in Brussels in 2016. The European Union is engaged in dedicated human rights discussions with close to 40 countries around the world.