Uzbekistan: Woman Human Rights Defender Umida Ahmedova Facing Charges

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Uzbekistan. The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment faced by Ms. Umida Ahmedova, a women human rights defender, photographer and film-maker from Uzbekistan.  According to the information received, on December 16, 2009, Ms. Umida Ahmedova was informed by the Mirobod Department of Internal Affairs that she was facing charges of “slander” and “insult” (respectively Articles 139 and 140 of the Uzbek Criminal Code) of the Uzbek people.

Those charges were brought by the Tashkent Prosecutor's Office, in relation to her book of photographs entitled Women and Men: From Dawn to Dusk, which was published in 2007 and contains 110 photographs reflecting the life and traditions of Uzbek people, as well as to her documentary films Women and Men in Customs and Rituals and Virginity Code. She is facing up to six months’ imprisonment or from two to three years of “correctional work”.
These charges follow an investigation carried out in November 2009 by the Uzbek Agency of Media and Information into several books and films on gender issues that were produced in collaboration with the Gender Programme of the Swiss Embassy in Tashkent.
The Observatory condemns the proceedings faced by Ms. Umida Ahmedova, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning her human rights activities.
The Observatory recalls that as a participating State of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Uzbekistan recognises “the need for particular attention, support and protection for human rights defenders by the OSCE, its Institutions and field operations, as well as by participating States”.
The Observatory further urges the European Commission Delegation as well as European Union (EU) Member-States embassies in the Uzbekistan to call upon the Uzbek authorities to comply with the relevant international norms and standards, in particular the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and take action on the above-mentioned elements, in line with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.
Actions required:
Please write to the Uzbek authorities urging them to:
i.                     Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Umida Ahmedova;
ii.                   Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Umida Ahmedova as well as against all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan and ensure in all circumstances that they be able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances;
iii.                  Conform with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” and its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
iv.                 Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.
Addresses :

  • President of Uzbekistan, Mr. Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov, ul. Uzbekistanskaya 43, Rezidentsia prezidenta, 700163 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, E-mail:
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vladimir Imamovich Norov, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700029 g. Tashkent; pl. Mustakillik, 5; Ministerstvo inostrannykh del RU, S.S., Uzbekistan, Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17, E-Mail:
  • Head of the Directorate of Execution of Sentences, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mr. Abdukarim Shodiev, Ferganskoe shosse, 25, 700005 g. Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 1916835. Email: mvd@mvd,uz /
  • Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Sayora Rashidova, ul. Xalqlar Dostligi 1, 700035 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, Fax: +998 71 139 85 55
  • Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Buritosh Mustafaev, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700183 g. Tashkent; ul. Abdulla Kodiri, 1; Verkhovny Sud Respubliki Uzbekistan, Fax: + 998 71 144-62-93
  • General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Rashidjon Hamidovich Kodirov, ul. Gulyamova 66, 700047 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, Fax: +998 71 133 39 17 / 133 73 68
  • National Centre for Human Rights, Senator Akmal Saidov, Natsionalny tsentr po pravam cheloveka, 5/3, Mustakillik Maidoni, g. 700029 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 139 13 56 / 45 16
  • Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United Nations in Geneva, PO Box 1853, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland, Fax: +4122 799 43 02, E-mail:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in your respective countries.
Geneva-Paris, December 22, 2009
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply. The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
·         Email :
·         Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
·         Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80