Dilorom Iskhakova, member of the Council Board of the Birdamlik People’s Democratic Party, arrived in Warsaw with a group of civil society representatives from Uzbekistan to attend the OSCE annual conference in Warsaw, which has been held since September 16, 2019. She was scheduled to speak at the OSCE Conference on September 23, an event dedicated to political and social activities. However, a few of them were closed down, saying that because of the protracted negotiations, the rest of the participants could not make a word for the negotiations. Ms. Iskhakova wants to bring the summit’s attention and the OSCE’s attention to the fact that, even after the death of the dictator Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, opposition parties still have no room for state registration and functioning in Uzbekistan. In particular, the Birdamlik People’s Democratic Party’s planned congress in Shymkent in October 2018 was openly hampered not only by the government of Uzbekistan, but also by the Kazakhstan government, and by the pressure on the participants of the congress, even by the Kazakhstan state television, Birdamlik People’s Democratic Party’s leader Bakhodir Khan Turkiston (Bokhodir Choriyev) did not allow to enter Kazakhstan, she was about to explain the situation. However, there were so many who wished to speak at the first meeting that they did not turn to Iskhakova and a few others. However, in order to draw the attention of the conference participants to this pressing issue, the English version of the negotiated version of the problem was distributed as a handout and included in the mailboxes of the OSCE participating States. Below we present to you a discussion speech by Dilorom Iskhakova for the OSCE Summit.
Press-service of “Birdamlik” PDP
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Dear participants of the Summit, I would not like to draw your attention today to the reforms carried out by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan in various fields on building a democratic society. I would like to point out one of the concerns of civil society that needs attention from the Government:
In particular, according to Article 6 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Political Parties, the party has to gather 20,000 members for official registration. Now imagine how an opposition party, which does not have a press office in the country , how to make 20,000 members? How to make Political Parties program known to public?
After all, a political party can only gather its supporters, that is, potential members, by publicly communicating its programs and goals. This circumstance, as prescribed by law, not only deprives opposition forces of official status, but also exposes them to non-participation in elections, inadequate access to office, and other difficulties. When the Law on Political Parties was adopted in the Republic, the number of signatures required for registration was set at three thousand, which was later extended to 5,000. Then it was set at 20,000. The number of signatures required for official registration increased. The activities of parties and organizations, which threaten the rights and freedoms of citizens, the state security, and the occupation of power, ie the constitutional system, are also banned.
Since its inception, parties that have been advocating only nonviolent struggle and who have shown that their only goal is to build a democratic and legal state are also banned. As an example I would like to cite the Birdamlik People’s Democratic Party. In October 2018 (formerly the “Birdamlik” People’s Democratic Movement), we applied for permission to hold a congress. But we received neither permission nor refusal. Then we decided to hold the congress in the city of Shymkent, neighboring Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, we were persecuted there. Our members, who arrived in Kazakhstan, were deported without explanation. The founder and leader of the movement Bakhodir Khan Turkiston (Bokhodir Choriyev) was not allowed in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The chairman of the party addressed the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in connection with these events. The appeal was asked to comment on the reaction of the congress, which was organized in full compliance with the conditions of the meeting in the country, and the deportation of the party leader. However, we have not received an official response from Astana. This is just one example. It is not guaranteed that this will not happen again and that other opposition parties will not be in the same position. We believe it is necessary to amend paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On political parties” in order to prevent these situations from happening again, to liberate the opposition forces, to enjoy full political and constitutional rights established by the Constitution.
Birdamlik People’s Democratic Party
Member of the Council Board