In the years since September 2016, when Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed power, initial efforts to improve the country’s abysmal human rights record led to the release of dozens of political prisoners, a marked reduction in forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields, and the registration of a handful of nongovernmental organizations. Yet grave rights violations, including impunity for torture and abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people, persist. Human rights groups face significant obstacles trying to register their organizations, journalists and bloggers are harassed and arbitrarily prosecuted, forced labor has not been fully eradicated. Other legislative reforms efforts appear to have stalled. It remains to be seen if Uzbekistan’s still authoritarian government will deliver on pledges of institutional change and human rights improvements.

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