Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following report:
Uzbekistan Country Update – This report documents ongoing violations of freedom of religion or belief in Uzbekistan, which the U.S. Department of State removed from its Special Watch List in late 2020 after determining that the country no longer engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” Uzbekistan has made important progress in recent years—such as ending raids on religious minority communities, granting official registration to a handful of religious groups, and releasing some prisoners incarcerated for their religious activities—but it has yet to fundamentally change its position regarding the state’s role in controlling religious affairs. This report highlights several practices that continue to pose obstacles to the protection and promotion of religious freedom, including the imprisonment of Muslims for their religious activities or affiliations, prosecution for possession or distribution of religious literature and related materials, and other bureaucratic and legislative barriers to the exercise of this right.
In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State place Uzbekistan back on its Special Watch List for engaging in severe violations of religious freedom. USCIRF commissioners and staff visited the country in April 2022 and discussed findings from that trip in a June episode of USCIRF Spotlight Podcast. In October 2021, USCIRF released a report on “Uzbekistan's Religious and Political Prisoners.”