Joint NGO statement: Stifling internet freedoms and dissent in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

As in other parts of the world, the number of internet users is quickly growing in the Central Asian countries. Between 2005 and 2011 the rate of internet users increased from 3 to 45% in Kazakhstan, from 3 to 30% in Uzbekistan and from 1 to 5% in Turkmenistan. At the same time as internet use is expanding in these countries, the authorities appear to have become increasingly fearful of the potential of the internet as a platform for open debate, scrutiny of those in power and mobilization of protests. This has led them to step up censorship, scare tactics and repression of online dissent. While taken in a generally hostile climate for free speech, these measures have further undermined freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association, with negative implications for political opponents, civil society activists and citizens at large.


Read the full statement of International Partnership for Human Rights, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan. The statement was made to the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Freedom of Assembly and Association held in Vienna on 8-9 November 2012.

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