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19 Brown J. World Aff. 45 (2012-2013)
Security and Human Rights in Central Asia

handle is hein.journals/brownjwa19 and id is 45 raw text is: Security and Human Rights in
Central Asia
American Security Project
IN SEPTEMBER 2011, THE UNITED States government reached a new agreement
with the government of Uzbekistan: the United States would reverse a 2003
restriction on foreign aid to the abusive regime in Tashkent in exchange for con-
cessions allowing increased transport of U.S. equipment and personnel through
the country along the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) supply route
into Afghanistan) Despite concern about the growing challenge of corruption
in Central Asia, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a waiver
that had previously restricted equipment sales to Tashkent, clearing the way for
deeper collaboration. The decision to reengage with the government of Uzbeki-  45
stan proved deeply controversial in the human rights community.
A coalition of 20 human rights groups penned an open letter to Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to oppose the passage of the waiver and
to publicly condemn Uzbekistan's human rights record.' According to Human
Rights Watch, in Uzbekistan torture remains endemic ... [a]uthorities continue
to target civil society activists, opposition members, and journalists, and to per-
secute religious believers who worship outside strict state controls. Freedom of
expression remains severely limited. Government-sponsored forced child labor
during the cotton harvest continues.' The U.S. State Department offered a simi-
lar assessment; both political and nonpolitical prisoners are routinely mistreated
in prison, some severely; arbitrary arrest and detention is frequent; detainees are
often denied fair trials; and the practice of child conscription into the cotton
fields each year constitutes a grievous breach of international labor laws.'
The U.S. government, however, has a different view. Since the fall of the
Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. policy toward Central Asia has generally been
needs based and transactional-that is, offering concessions in exchange for
JOSHUA FousT is Fellow for Asymmetric Operations at the American Security Project, correspondent for
The Alantic, columnist for PBSNeed to Know, and editor of the Central Asia blog Regisrtn.
Copyright @ 2012 by the Brownfjournal of WorldAffairs


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