News

Washington Ponders UN Action on Uzbekistan

The Bush administration said Thursday it may seek action at the United Nations to prod Uzbekistan's government into heeding calls for an international investigation of last month's violence in city of Andijon. Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed by security forces in the May 13 events, which the group Human Rights Watch has labeled a massacre.

The United States has been calling for an international investigation of the Andijon killings, and amid continued resistance to the idea by Uzbek authorities, U.S. officials say they may take the matter to the United Nations.

The violence has been a source of political discomfort for the Bush administration, which has forged close anti-terrorism ties with the Uzbek government and used a key air base there to support U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

This week a bipartisan group of six U.S. Senators, in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, urged the administration to reconsider its relationship with the Uzbek government of President Islam Karimov because of the Andijon events.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack acknowledged receipt of the letter and said the department basically shares the concerns of the Senators.

He said the United States wants a credible, transparent and independent investigation of what happened last month and stands ready to take part in it, along with Uzbek authorities and other international partners. He said U.S. diplomacy in pursuit of that aim now includes soundings at the United Nations.

"We are considering all of our diplomatic options, including at the U.N. We are pleased that representatives of the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights will be returning to the refugee camp in Kyrgystan to assess the situation there," he noted.  "And in the meantime, we're talking to member states of various international organizations to try to generate support for an international investigation. We've been calling for this for some time."

Mr. McCormack said the United States spurned an invitation to be party to an investigation by the Uzbek parliament because it did not see such a probe as a substitute for an international inquiry.

The spokesman also said U.S. officials are concerned Uzbek authorities may be trying to silence human rights activists and journalists looking into the Andijon events through arrests and intimidation.

A senior State Department official who spoke to reporters on terms of anonymity would not say if the administration might seek U.N. Security Council action on Uzbekistan, but said no options are being precluded.

He said the administration was putting no deadline on its call for an international investigation but also said the effort to get one is not open-ended.

Human Rights Watch, in its report earlier this week, said considerably more people were killed in Andijon than the 173 acknowledged by the Uzbek government.

It said that based on eyewitness accounts, Uzbek troops used rifle and machine gun fire to crush a mass protest that grew out of a brief revolt by armed anti-government elements who seized a prison and released the inmates.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. Senators - four Republicans and two Democrats - cautioned the administration against entering into a long-term base agreement with an Uzbek government, that in their words, brutally represses its people.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs