Human rights defenders in Uzbekistan continue to be systematically persecuted. Torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, fabricated prosecutions, imprisonment and excessive force are used by law enforcement officials to prevent human rights defenders from carrying out their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights. The severity of the repression has contributed to a number of human rights defenders being forced to go into exile. Human rights defenders and independant journalists continue to face physical attacks, which remain unpunished. Serious obstacles to freedom of peaceful assembly persist.
One of the strategies used to silence human rights defenders is to impose upon many of them excessive prison sentences. The UN Human Rights Committee, which considered the third periodic report of Uzbekistan in March 2010, expressed its concern “about the number of representatives of independent NGOs, journalists, and human rights defenders imprisoned, assaulted, harassed or intimidated, because of the exercise of their profession and about the absence of sufficient investigations on all alleged assaults, threats, or acts of harassment of journalists and human rights defenders''.
There are grave concerns for the health conditions of several human rights defenders currently in detention. The situation in Uzbek detention facilities is in general very poor and the conditions for human rights defenders in particular are a cause for concern. According to reports by human rights activists and relatives of prisoners, prisons are overcrowded and tuberculosis and hepatitis are endemic, making even short periods of incarceration potentially life threatening. The government also practices in increasing prison terms of human rights defenders, coming up with trumped-up charges of minor violations of prison discipline.