The regime in Uzbekistan has taken only a few reforms in the direction of market economy and democracy. The social upheavals that characterize other former Soviet states are significantly less in Uzbekistan, although growing unemployment, widening income gaps, increased crime, extensive cross-border drug trafficking and more and more social problems can be noted. Check to see Uzbekistan population. Ethnic and religious contradictions have been reported in recent years from the Fergana Valley and southern Uzbekistan. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SKD and acronym for Uzbekistan.
Ecological disasters of enormous proportions have affected Uzbekistan, and the health situation is critical in many respects. In rural areas, about 20 percent of the population does not have access to running water. Attempts to limit water wastage in agriculture have had no effect. Infant mortality is increasing, as is mortality. In recent years, health care has deteriorated. Uzbekistan receives extensive assistance from, among others, the United States.
The sanctions were renewed in May 2007 as a result of the continuing serious human rights situation in the country. Tashkent declared that the decision was unfounded, served only to heighten tensions in the country and made it difficult for cooperation projects with the EU.
Karimov ran for a 3rd term as a term in the 2007 presidential election. It was in violation of the Constitution that only allowed 2 terms, but the regime did not even think how he could stand for a 3rd term. He “won” the election with 90.77% of the vote. The OSCE had 21 observers at the election, who were subsequently labeled as “indifferent” due to the lack of election campaign and candidates.
The United States continues to have close relations with Uzbekistan, which is considered strategically important to the superpower’s policy in Central Asia – especially in Russia, China, Iran and Afghanistan. In January 2012, the US embassy lifted a number of restrictions on cooperation with Uzbekistan. This happened after Pakistan had cut off US supplies for its occupation troops in Afghanistan. Weapon deliveries to the country were resumed, and the United States, in turn, was allowed to transport supplies through the country to its troops in Afghanistan. Underlining its closer relationship with the United States, Uzbekistan withdrew from the Russian-led CSTO defense alliance on June 12. The EU also maintains close relations with the regime.
Torture is widespread in Uzbekistan. Freedom of the press was severely limited and by the end of 2012, 10 of the country’s human rights activists were imprisoned. The country has since 200 not allowed UN special human rights reporters access to the country.
Around February 2014, President Karimov placed his eldest daughter Gulnara in house arrest after the two, through the previous year, had separated from each other.
In November 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council asked Uzbekistan to implement the recommendations it had given in 1999, 2005 and 2010 to stop the use of torture in the country. In 2013-14, the European Court of Human Rights issued 15 injunctions prohibiting the return of arrested Uzbeks to their country of birth. As part of the so-called “war on terror”, returning Uzbeks are routinely put in isolation where they are subjected to further torture.
Parliamentary elections were held in December 2014 and January 2015. The country’s Liberal Democrat party again became the largest with 52 seats out of the 150th parliament. The loser of the election was the former Communist Party OXDP, which declined from 32 to 27 seats. The nationalist OMTDP, in turn, went 5 mandates until 31.
In March 2015, Karimov was re-elected as president. This time with 90.4% of the vote.
Population, society and rights
With over 30 million residents, Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia and its population is still growing. In 2013, more than a third of the residents were under the age of 15. 80% of the residents are strictly Uzbek ethnic, but there are important Russian minorities (5.5% of the population), Tajik (5%), Kazakh (3%), Karakalpaka (2.5%) and Tatar (1, 5%). According to some estimates, however, the number of Tajiks could be significantly underestimated due to government policies of assimilation and repression of minorities. It is therefore probable that the Tajiks represent as much as one fifth of the entire population. The extreme ethnolinguistic fragmentation of Central Asia is well summarized by the way in which the ethnic Uzbek population is distributed in the other states of the area. 2.6 million Uzbeks live in Afghanistan (9% of the population), while 1.1 million reside in Tajikistan (16.5% of the total), 760,000 in Kyrgyzstan (14.5%) and 470,000 in Kazakhstan (2.9%).
Within the country there are strong demographic imbalances: the population is concentrated mostly in the east, in the Fergana Valley and around Toškent, the capital (regions separated by a high mountain range), while in the west it is reached a sufficient population density only along the Amu Darya river, a tributary of the Aral Sea. The rest of the country is almost desert and the rarity of rains, typical of the Central Asian region, aggravates the conditions of access to water even in the most fertile regions, such as Fergana. Almost all of the population is Muslim (96%) and most of the residents speak Uzbek, the country’s official language, of Turkish origin. Russian is also well known and widely spoken, while Tajik is the majority language in Samarkand and Bukhara. The massive immigration of Russians to Uzbekistan during the 65 years of communism has been reversed since 1970, experiencing an acceleration since 1989.
The institutional, political and social architecture of Uzbekistan is totally subject to the will of President Karimov and the circles of power connected to him. All the parties that have elected their own representatives in the Uzbek parliament now support the president, while the opposition is weak and divided, represented only by a small group of independent deputies. At the same time – and more intensely following the ‘color revolutions’ of 2003-05 – popular demonstrations of dissent have had to undergo a further tightening of the repressive system in recent years: according to the Freedom House indexes, between 2005 and 2010 Uzbekistan would have gone all the way down the slope of authoritarianism, pushing down its index of democracy.