Tashkent [Uzbekistan], July 7 (ANI): The Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry has rejected media reports and claims by human rights groups which stated that illegal use of force was employed for the dispersal of a "peaceful rally" in the city of Nukus in Karakalpakstan.
"Some mass media and human rights organizations, with reference to unnamed sources, exaggerate various kinds of assumptions and unreliable reports about the events in the city of Nukus of the Republic of Karakalpakstan," the Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Unfounded statements are being made about the allegedly illegal use of force to 'disperse a peaceful rally,' 'silencing independent voices and blocking information,' including by declaring a state of emergency," the statement added.
Clarifying the events in Karakalpakstan, the government said, "On July 1-2, 2022, an attempt was made in Nukus to undermine the constitutional order, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Under the pretext of protesting against the proposals for constitutional amendments submitted for public discussion, a group of malefactors organized violent actions, clashes and attempts to forcibly seize buildings of state authorities."The ministry said these illegal actions bore obvious signs of pre-planned sabotage aimed at destabilizing and splitting a peaceful, united, democratic country. "The brutality of the actions of the rioters was the result of the provocative actions of a group of people who manipulated people's minds, and cannot be qualified as peaceful demonstrations of citizens.""As a result of these illegal actions, 18 people were killed, as previously stated. It should be noted that among the active participants in the attacks, the overwhelming majority were people who were in a state of drug and alcohol intoxication," the foreign ministry said.
The Uzbek government informed that an investigation is underway on the events in Karakalpakstan. "As a party to international human rights treaties, Uzbekistan is committed to full compliance with the principles of transparent, independent and impartial investigation, as well as ensuring guarantees of due process and fair trial. The results of the investigation will be brought to the attention of the relevant international organizations."UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called for a prompt, independent and transparent investigation into the deaths of at least 18 people during clashes at protests in the Uzbek region of Karakalpakstan last Friday.
Thousands protested around the autonomous region against planned constitutional changes that would have stripped the Republic of Karakalpakstan of its constitutional right to secede on the basis of a national-wide referendum held by the people of Karakalpakstan. The President said on Saturday those plans would be dropped.
After the violence, media reported a heavy military presence in the city, and the government has imposed emergency rule, including a curfew, and blocked the internet. The city was reportedly quiet over the weekend and on Monday. (ANI)