The undeclared war of the Uzbek regime against non-governmental organizations began with the closure of the representative office of the Soros Foundation in April 2002. This event coincided with a series of explosions carried out by suicide bombers in Tashkent and Bukhara, directed, apparently, against the police.
The decision to close the Open Society Institute was followed after foreign organizations operating in Uzbekistan were told that they had to re-register. The new registration rules contained such restrictions, as a result of which the government actually received veto power when approving the work program of international non-governmental organizations. According to the new banking restrictions, the government had to form a special committee and monitor all grant operations, which effectively prevented international organizations from paying local grant recipients. The Ministry of Justice announced a number of violations of local legislation, among which was an interesting remark: “Despite repeated appeals of the Ministry of Higher Education, the Foundation purchased and distributed educational materials on social and humanitarian disciplines, containing information that distorts the essence and content held in Uzbekistan, among educational institutions. socio-economic socio-political reforms. " In essence, the organization was recognized as a dissident and inconsistent with the requirements of the Uzbek regime.
Another significant event that is called the main reason why the Uzbek authorities decided to stop the activities of the Fund that helped develop civil society was the revolution in Georgia. Allegedly, after that, the former Georgian President Shevardnadze warned Karimov: “Be careful, stay away from Soros”. In response to the closure of the Tashkent office of George Soros, at a press conference at the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, he said: "Uzbekistan is stifling civil society, and its attitude to human rights is horrifying."
The next step in stifling civil society was the closure of the Tashkent office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). With offices throughout the Central Asian region, the Institute first began work in Uzbekistan in the spring of 2000. Despite the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan issued IWPR accreditation for one year, starting in September 2001, further attempts to extend accreditation were unsuccessful. In May 2003, the office received an official letter stating that, since the institute operates in conflict zones to which Uzbekistan does not belong, there is no need for its work in the country.
Despite harsh criticism from the West for “systematic violations of human rights”, President Islam Karimov continued to act in such a way as to deserve and strengthen the title of the worst enemy of freedom and democracy. Although, before the well-known bloody events in Andijan, he followed his image and clearly wanted to differ, for example, from Turkmenbashi. All this remains in the past, now truly “dark days” have come for the non-governmental sector of the republic. Karimov tightens domestic policies, completely abandoning the democratic course. Uzbekistan closes for the West and builds an iron curtain.
In October 2005, the BBC Corporation announced the closure of its office in Uzbekistan, explaining that the persecution of journalists by local authorities.
For example, the Tashkent offices of BBC Radio and Liberty were closed.
In March 2006, two more new victims appeared in the foreign non-governmental organization suppression company. The Tashkent City Court ruled to suspend the activities of the Freedom House office in Uzbekistan because it provided illegal access to the Internet for local human rights defenders.
The Eurasia Foundation, which was accused of violating its charter, as well as conducting seminars without the permission of official bodies, said that it voluntarily closes its representative office in Uzbekistan after 12 years of work in the country. Thus, the foundation refused to fight in court. “Observing the experience of other international organizations, we concluded that we have no chance of winning. Therefore, we decided to self-destruct and not to participate in judicial procedures, ”said Jeff Erlich, director of the Eurasia Foundation in Tashkent.
On April 27, 2006, the Tashkent City Court decided to liquidate the Uzbek office of the American Bar Association (American Bar Association - ABA / CEELI). The Uzbek government did not invent anything new. And this time, the Department of Justice sent a presentation on the termination of the activities of the Association of American Lawyers, justifying such a need by numerous violations of the law by this organization, revealed during the audit of its activities. The American Bar Association was charged with providing legal assistance to unregistered organizations, creating and supporting local NGOs, failing to submit documents confirming the use of property and funds, operating as an affiliate, and the law firm funded by the representative office provided legal services to unregistered entities.
On May 1, 2006, the Ministry of Justice submitted to the court a proposal to liquidate the representation of another foreign non-governmental organization - Counterpart International.
Ironically, the office of one of the most critical human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch, continues to operate in Uzbekistan. In April of this year, the Ministry of Justice conducted an audit of the activities of the representative office. The test results have not yet been announced.