A virtual event hosted by the Central Asia Program at George Washington University on April 13, 2022.
The Central Asia Program (CAP) hosted a timely discussion with leading officials and experts on the state of religious freedom in Uzbekistan and the publication in the Uzbek language of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF’s) seminal report, “Uzbekistan’s Religious and Political Prisoners.” Six months following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and several years into an opening up of the space for the free exercise of religious belief under President Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan continues to experience dynamic changes in the sphere of religious freedom. The USCIRF report, authored by Steve Swerdlow, is based on more than a year-long investigation and presents research findings regarding the government’s continued imprisonment of peaceful religious believers and recommends further reform of Uzbekistan’s laws on extremism. In a hopeful sign, since the initial publication, several religious prisoners whose cases are highlighted in the report have been released. This roundtable discussion will also take place following a visit to Uzbekistan by USCIRF Commissioners and staff.
Nadine Maenza, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, President of Patriot Voices, Board of Directors for the Institute for Global Engagement, the Sinjar Academy, and the Freedom Research Foundation
Steve Swerdlow, Esq., Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California
Professor Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States and Canada
Dr. Elizabeth Clark, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University
Moderator: Sebastien Peyrouse, PhD, Research Professor at the Central Asia Program in the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University