WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday urged authorities to pursue a reputable investigation into deadly violence in Uzbekistan’s autonomous province of Karakalpakstan final week.
Eighteen folks had been killed and 243 wounded throughout protests over plans to curtail Karakalpakstan’s autonomy, Uzbek authorities mentioned on Monday – the worst bout of violence within the Central Asian nation in 17 years.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price in an announcement urged events to hunt a peaceable decision and known as on Uzbekistan’s authorities to “defend all elementary rights, together with peaceable meeting and expression.”
“We urge authorities to pursue a full, credible, and clear investigation into the violence, in keeping with worldwide norms and greatest practices,” he added.
Uzbekistan is a tightly managed former Soviet republic the place the federal government clamps down laborious on any type of dissent. It was the second outbreak of unrest in Central Asia this 12 months, after Kazakhstan crushed mass protests in January and Russia and different former Soviet republics despatched in troops to assist the authorities restore order.
The protests in Uzbekistan had been prompted by deliberate constitutional adjustments that will have stripped Karakalpakstan of its autonomous standing. In an about-turn, the president dropped these plans on Saturday.
Karakalpakstan – located on the shores of the Aral Sea, for many years an environmental catastrophe web site – is house to the Karakalpaks, an ethnic minority group whose language is distinct from Uzbek, though associated.
There are an estimated 700,000 Karakalpaks amongst Uzbekistan’s 34 million folks, most of them within the autonomous republic. Geographic and linguistic proximity has led many to hunt work and typically relocate to neighboring Kazakhstan.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; modifying by Grant McCool)