15:48 / 07.06.2023

Death cases at department of internal affairs: Why do the Ombudsman and the National Center stay silent?

The death of two consecutive citizens under investigation by the internal affairs bodies is the cause of great discussion on social networks and is widely covered by the mass media. However, two organizations that claim to protect human rights in Uzbekistan – the Ombudsman and the National Center for Human Rights, which receive billions of dollars from the budget – have remained silent.

Collage: Kun.uz

On May 29, a 21-year-old man, who allegedly threw himself from the 4th floor of the Chilanzar district DIA building, died. On June 4, it became known that operatives of Buka district DIA tortured and killed a 36-year-old man. While the authorities blame the young man who died in the Chilanzar district DIA, it was admitted that operatives were involved in the tragedy in Buka district.

These two incidents have caused great discussions in the Uzbek-speaking segment of the social network in recent days, and are widely covered by the mass media. However, two large organizations that consider themselves to be “defenders” of human rights in Uzbekistan are not saying anything against the background of such tragedies.

The first of these is the Human Rights representative of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan – the Ombudsman. Feruza Eshmatova has been working in this position since 2021. In fact, the mission of the organization, whose essence and philosophy is to ensure human rights and prevent torture, is defined in the law.

That is, the Ombudsman, even if no one complains to him “when there is information about the violation of human rights, freedoms and legal interests ... has the right to conduct fact-checking on his own initiative”.

In addition, the Ombudsman has the right to enter places where journalists are not “friends” and officials without queue, to check facts. It is surprising that Feruza Eshmatova did not react to such tragedies, which caused a great resonance in society. It is just a tragedy that the Ombudsman did not hear about these two tragedies.

Another organization that is almost unknown in society is the National Center for Human Rights. At the same time, Akmal Saidov, the first deputy speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis, is the director of this organization, whose head is equivalent to a minister.

The main tasks of the center include the effective implementation of the state policy in the field of human rights, assistance to state bodies in the fulfillment of the international obligations of Uzbekistan in this field, and the study and analysis of the state of observance of human rights and freedoms.

In addition, the center has the authority to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of international and regional structures for the protection of human rights.

In an interview with Kun.uz reporter, the head of the press service of the Ombudsman, Fatima Madrahimova, informed that the organization will respond to this issue. The press service of the National Center for Human Rights did not respond to our calls.

For information, 16.4 billion soums were allocated from the state budget to the representative of Oliy Majlis on Human Rights – the Ombudsman in 2023, and 13.4 billion soums to the National Center.

In addition, the deputy directors of the national center are at the level of assistant ministers, and the organization also has its own service vehicles.