06/16/2021, 12.04
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Gay Uzbeks risk being expelled from their country

by Vladimir Rozanskij

A proposal to this effect was presented by the parliamentarian Ališer Kadyrov: "Deportation is better than the use of force". Intimate relationships between people of the same sex are a crime in Uzbekistan. Many flee to avoid detention.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - A member of the Uzbek parliament, Ališer Kadyrov, made a proposal on June 14 to deprive gays of citizenship and expel them from the country. In his opinion, "Uzbekistan will not change its beliefs regarding the representatives of the LGBTQ + community even in 1,000 years", as reported by the online news agency Eurasianet.

Kadyrov is the leader of the "National Rebirth" party, which occupies the second place among the groups represented in the lower house of the Parliament of Tashkent. Already on June 7, in an interview with the YouTube channel Alter Ego, the politician declared that the deprivation of citizenship for gays would oblige other countries to provide them with asylum.

As Kadyrov said, “When I posted this proposal on social networks, several members of the LGBTQ + community wrote to me to thank me, because they cannot receive visas in many states that condemn Uzbekistan for its positions towards representatives of non-traditional orientations ". According to the Uzbek parliamentarian, deportation is better than the use of force, as happens in Iran or Saudi Arabia, where gays can receive corporal punishment, including death sentences.

In Uzbekistan, unique among the ex-Soviet countries, intimate relationships between people of the same sex are considered a crime by law, punishable by fines and sentences of up to 3 years in prison. The arrest for "homosexual activities" also includes a medical check with anal inspection, to confirm suspicions of illicit relationships.

In March 2020, Tashkent's representative to the UN human rights committee declared that "Uzbekistan is not ready to change this article of the law". Several international organizations made an appeal to this effect to the Uzbek government in December 2020, but it was completely ignored.

Uzbek authorities have repeatedly stated that homosexual relationships contradict the precepts of Islam, the country’s traditional values ​​and cultural norms, and that society is not ready to give up the criminal punishment of gays. Neighbouring countries with a greater Islamic tradition, such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkey, do not foresee such state persecutions against the LGBTQ + community.

The issue of homosexuality is considered a taboo not to be discussed in the local media and in any social sphere. For example, due to the "insistent request" of the security services of Uzbekistan, in July 2013 a clip entitled Azal Čoj (Honey tea), in which the singer performed in female clothes, was removed from all Uzbek music portals, singing about his love for another man. The then long-term President Islam Karimov, who passed away in 2016, said at the time that "homosexual relations are disgusting for Uzbeks, and Western democracy that admits them offends the moral purity of the national culture". In 2013, about 500 people were imprisoned for homosexuality, and the average has also remained in subsequent years.

In January 2018, 26-year-old Karina told the press about her as a transgender woman who fled Uzbekistan to Belarus to avoid detention. At home she was often stopped and beaten by the police, who tried to get the names of other people in her community from her. The Minsk court is expected to decide within days on granting refugee permission for Karina, who she says she "can at least sleep without terror".

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