21 november 2019

Central Asia news

Uzbek Defender Missing

03.04.2003 00:00 msk

New York


New York, April 3, 2003 —A human rights defender from Uzbekistan who

was to speak at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva has

gone missing, Human Rights Watch said today.

Ozoda Rafikova, a physician and mother of four, was to speak at a joint

briefing on Friday, April 4 with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture

to discuss his recent report about torture in Uzbekistan. She was last

seen on April 2 going through passport control at Sheremetevo I airport

in Moscow, where she was to subsequently transfer for a flight to

Geneva. She never arrived in Geneva and all efforts to locate her in

Moscow have been unsuccessful.

“We urge all relevant authorities to do everything in their power to

find Dr. Ozoda and ensure her safety,” said Elizabeth Andersen,

executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia

division.

Human Rights Watch has worked with Dr. Ozoda for more than a year on

torture-related issues, and is also participating in the briefing.

Dr. Ozoda was to give first-hand testimony about torture in Uzbekistan.

She is the mother of a torture victim currently in Jaslyk Prison,

Uzbekistan’s notorious facility for those arrested on charges of

“religious extremism.”

“All governments have a duty to take all possible measures to cooperate

with and protect witnesses who are prepared to testify with U.N. special

rapporteurs and other U.N. human rights mechanisms,” said Andersen. “We

ask that all relevant authorities do so as a matter of urgent priority.”

For further information, please contact:

In New York, Rachel Denber: 1-212-216-1266