Uzbek democrats met OSCE delegation chairman in Swedish parliament

Yesterday, Uzbekistan democratic opposition leaders’ delegation met with Swedish parliament delegation chairman in OSCE Mrs. Walburga Habsburg Douglas. Mrs. Douglas met highly respectful guests in the conference room of the Swedish parliament. Upon the discussion the sides exchanged their interested thoughts.

Mrs. Douglas had an interest in freedom of speech, level of democratic abutment, trustworthiness of the democratic opposition parties in front of Uzbek people, and the relationship of the existing government with the democratic opposition parties in Uzbekistan. Mrs. Douglas let the delegation know of the interest of OSCE to Central Asia after Kyrgyzstan’s events and that the chairmanship of OSCE is in Kazakhstan now.

Uzbek democratic oppositionists shared their thoughts as their turn came.

Daynov Tashanov, Vice-chairman of «Birlik» Party, chairman of Kashkadarya regional organization of the party:

In 2003, according to the law, we submitted all the necessary documents to the Ministry of Justice in order to get the official «Birlik» Party’s status approved. The Ministry of Justice mentioned several times the marginal mistakes and returned the paperwork. All requested corrections were made, but, now, 7 years later, and the Ministry still unresponsive.

Based on my practice, the registration of the opposition party would bring benefits not only to people, but also to the present government. This would be a step forward in implementing one of the main requirements to members of the OSCE. By this step, Uzbek government will gain more respect in the international arena, and would appear to be a favorable environment to stop growing corruption.

Hamdam Sulaymonov, Vice-chairman of «Birlik» Party, coordinator of the party in Fergana Valley:

In my opinion, it is a great mistake of Uzbek government not letting «Birlik» Party to get an official status. It is not a secret that the current government counts itself as a government based on democratic principles. In order to assure the world in its democracy, the government must do something in this way. Is there any democracy without democracy? How may the government be democratic without official opposition? One of the criteria of the democratic government is to have freely operating opposition. Absence of the legal opposition is deficiency of the Uzbek government.

Isroil Rizaev, Chairman of Syrgarya regional organization of «Birlik» Party:

Now, Uzbekistan government is trying to accelerate its deep reforms. But none of these reforms show ed positive results, and Uzbekistan is still passing through 20 yearly «transitional» term.

Paralysis is caused by the laws, which are not being executed purposefully. Even if the reforms are humane and well constructed, they won’t work together with defective law execution.

There has to be a powerful oppositional force relative to the government, in order to get the laws working. The «Birlik» Party is to offer this force to Uzbek people and the government. We would like OSCE and other this kind of international organizations to have this factor in their central attention when dealing with Uzbekistan.

Samad Murod, Chairman of «Erk» Party:

«Erk» is the one of the officially registered parties at the very first days of independence, it participated in the parliament and even in president elections, and was able to prove that it had own place within the Uzbek people. But in 1998 the letter of the court decision dated November 1993, which stated of temporarily cancellation of «Erk» Party’s official status was handed to the Secretary of party’s Central Council.

Twelve years have past ever since. But, before submitting requested paperwork to the Ministry of Justice, in order to get the legal status of the party, we must cancel that decision, the decision made by the court in 1998.

It is necessary to underline that there are two totally different minded groups performing under the «Erk» name.

1-The first group, which is practically mixed up with international extremist forces, whose aim is governmental turnover through riot, at this time basically work from abroad.

2-The second group, which has numerous electorates within the country, seeks for democratic management, wants to form society that is based on free market economy and secured human rights, chose the democratic way of fight.

As long as this misunderstanding exists, we will not be able to reinstate the political status of the party.

We would like the parliament of OSCE to evaluate the formed situation fairly and call each by his name.

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The one who organized Uzbek democrats’ trip to Europe and who is forced to live in Sweden is «Birlik» Party’s Vice-chairman on external affairs Pulat Akhun. He was not only an interpreter, but also shared with his thoughts about Uzbek government’s no democratic nature and underlined that to fight for «Birlik» Party’s legalization is also duty of the international organizations like OSCE.

At the end of the meeting Mrs. Douglas thanked the respectful guests for meaningful conversation and promised to inform the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly which will take a place in July this year in Oslo about real oppositional democratic parties like «Birlik» and «Erk» having trouble of getting registered up to these days. She also promised to try to reflect these facts on the final documentations of the Assembly.

At the leave — taking time Mrs. Douglas wishes to the guests good luck in their brave activity in Uzbekistan and ask them constantly keep in touch with her upon arrival to Uzbekistan.