Uzbekistan’s religious liberty violations mount

by David Roach | Baptist Press

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (BP) — Two new requirements for religious organizations seeking government recognition in Uzbekistan are said to evidence the Central Asian nation’s continued restriction of religious liberty.

Comprising five former Soviet republics, Central Asia includes Uzbekistan and two other countries on the U.S. State Department’s list of countries of particular concern (CPCs) for religious liberty violations: Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Another Central Asian nation, Kazakhstan, has been recommended for inclusion on the State Department’s religious liberty watch list by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

In Uzbekistan, Government Decree 409 was adopted May 31, requiring religious communities to obtain government approval of their religious leaders’ education. The decree also requires religious educational institutions to obtain government approval of their leaders’ religious educations, according to Forum 18, a news service that reports on religious liberty violations in Central Asia and the surrounding regions.