Civic leaders from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
attend 10th annual session of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

ILHR, 2 August 2001

From July 6 to July 10, Nurbulat Masanov, one of Kazakhstan's leading and best-known independent political analysists, Sergei Duvanov, an independent journalist from Almaty and Iskandar Khudaiberganov, chairman of Democratic Initiatives Center, a human rights NGO from Uzbekistan, attended the 10th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly at the invitation of the International League for Human Rights.

The main purpose of their visit was to meet with parliamentarians and brief them on the difficult political and social situation in their countries and Central Asia as a whole. The formal briefing took place on July 10 at the Hotel Lutetia and was attended by several parliamentarians from countries of East and West Europe and Asia, as well as NGO and media representatives The Central Asian activists also had an opportunity to have brief meetings with Freimut Duve, OSCE's Representative on Freedom of Media, and Gert Weisskirchen, Chairman of OSCE's General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.

Masanov and Duvanov described to the audience the worsening human rights situation in Kazakhstan, which has recently witnessed the closure of several of the remaining independent media outlets. President Nazarbaev and his family are tightening their grip on all levels of power in the country, including mass media and the vast oil sector.

Khudaiberganov spoke about the wholesale attack on human rights in Uzbekistan under the oppressive government of President Karimov. The human rights situation in Uzbekistan has worsened significantly in the recent years, as Karimov's regime has exaggerated the threat of Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism as an excuse to jail thousands of Muslim believers and crack down on civil and political rights.

While in Paris, the activists also gave a press-conference at Radio France; had meetings at the Foreign Ministry, the Senate; attended a reception at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador where they spoke with Senator Campbell and Congressmen Hoyer and Smith; and gave an interview to a journalist from Le Monde.

The International League for Human Rights is a non-governmental human rights group devoted to defending defenders of human rights around the world and strengthening mechanisms in international institutions to protect human rights.

For more information contact Peter Zalmayev of ILHR, 212-661-0480, ext. 100; [email protected]

ILHR, 2 August 2001