Geneva (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The United Nations Human Rights Council has decided to drop its examination of human rights violations in Iran and Uzbekistan. The step followed a recommendation by most of the five states overseeing the special procedure against Iran and Uzbekistan, which are suspected of violating the human rights of their respective populations.
Council president Luis Alfonso de Alba said the 47-member council has decided "not to continue the examination of the situation" in the two countries, but gave no further details.
Diplomats said the recommendation to drop the probe was headed by Azerbaijan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, whilst Argentina and France wanted to pursue it.
Following the announcement of the decision, US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) last week urged the UN's top rights assembly to continue the probes in public, particularly on Uzbekistan.
In an open letter, the group said that “some at the Human Rights Council assert that the situation in Uzbekistan is improving;” however, the Uzbek Government continues “an unprecedented crackdown against political opponents.”
For example, no one has been held accountable for the killing of an unknown number of protesters in the city of Andijan in May 2005.
In the Central Asian Republic, the situation of religious minorities is especially difficult. The government persecutes all religious groups, except for Islam and Orthodox Christianity. Last March for instance, a Protestant clergyman was sentenced to four years of internal exile “for religious activities.” Police raids against churches are frequent and Christians are arrested arbitrarily.
Ultimately, “discontinuing consideration would reward the Uzbek Government for its non-cooperation and the worsening human rights situation and would encourage further abuses,” HRW warned.