The Uzbek government considers the ‘social and political situation in Karakalpakstan stabilised‘, according to a communiqué sent to The Diplomat from its embassy in Madrid, in which assures that the ‘social and economic well-being of the population of the region as a whole has been and remains under the personal control of the President of Uzbekistan’, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who travelled to Nukus on 2 and 3 July.
The statement adds that “on the basis of Article 32 of the Constitutional Law on states of emergency and in order to ensure the security of citizens, protect their rights and freedoms and restore law and order, the president signed a decree introducing a state of emergency in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan from 3 July 2022 to 2 August 2022″.
The Uzbek authorities state that the riots on 1 and 2 July in Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan, “were aimed at destabilising the situation not only in Uzbekistan, but in Central Asia as a whole, in order to hinder the process of regional cooperation initiated by the head of Uzbekistan”. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, 18 people were killed in the clashes, 5 of them National Guard representatives, and 243 were injured, including 38 law enforcement officers, 94 of whom are still in hospital.
In addition, 516 people were arrested and are under investigation. Some have received administrative sanctions and have been released. Criminal proceedings have also “been initiated in connection with the mass riots in Nukus”, the statement said, adding that “a transparent investigation is being conducted in accordance with Uzbek law, with strict observance of the rights of those under investigation”.
The riots, according to the Uzbek government, were caused by “a misinterpretation of the constitutional reforms being carried out in Uzbekistan“, in particular those concerning the status of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. In this regard, the note assures that “the position of the country’s leadership on the situation in Karakalpakstan is unequivocal: a consistent course of reforms in the republic will be maintained”.
“Over the past five years,” the statement concludes, “11 trillion soums (Uzbekistan’s national currency) have been allocated to the local budget of the region. By 2020, the total per capita income in Karakalpakstan has tripled. Modern infrastructure is being built throughout Karakalpakstan. Dozens of new industrial enterprises, modern agricultural clusters and joint ventures have been established. Thousands of facilities have been built, including kindergartens, schools, universities, health, science, culture and sports facilities.