December, 14 is a significant date for the Republic of Karakalpakstan. On this day in 1990, the Supreme Council of the Karakalpak ASSR adopted and signed the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, and in 1992, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Karakalpakstan adopted its national flag.
In the summer of 2022, an attempt was made to deprive Karakalpakstan of its sovereign status within the Republic of Uzbekistan. The population of Karakalpakstan responded to the proposed respective amendments of the Constitution of Uzbekistan with mass peaceful protests, which were brutally suppressed. Since then, the persecution of activists in Karakalpakstan has not stopped. ADC Memorial has repeatedly written about the political motivation and injustice of the sentences of the participants in the Nukus events of 2022.
This situation is causing concern and criticism from the international community. Thus, in October 2023, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, in a report on Uzbekistan, condemned the repression and violence against the Karakalpak people and urged the Uzbekistan authorities to refrain from using disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators and conduct a truly independent, impartial and effective investigation of the Nukus events, to give a legal assessment of the actions of the security forces and their use of weapons, which led to numerous casualties and injuries. The Committee stressed the need for the independence of judicial processes and their openness to the public and the media, and called for the release of political prisoners. The Committee welcomed the commitment of the Uzbek authorities to preserve the current constitutional status of Karakalpakstan.
On November 9, 2023, the UN Special Rapporteurs issued a statement demanding an end to the ill-treatment of human rights defender Dauletmurat Tazhimuratov, who was sentenced to 16 years for participating in protests. In August 2023, the experts sent an official letter to the government of Uzbekistan on this matter, which remained without response.
“States have an obligation to refrain from arbitrary arrest or detention, guarantee freedom of expression and association, and ensure the dignity of detainees as human beings without discrimination,” the experts said.
Meanwhile, Karakalpak activists do not find refuge in neighboring countries and are forced to emigrate to third countries. Thus, in November 2023, Kazakhstan denied asylum to activist Tleubike Yuldasheva, although she is threatened with persecution in Uzbekistan.