About us

The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights

The Uzbek–German Forum for Human Rights (UGF) is a German-based NGO dedicated to improving the human rights situation in Uzbekistan and strengthening and promoting civil society. UGF was established and registered in Berlin in July 2009 as a joint venture between Uzbeks and Germans with the purpose of strengthening human rights advocacy through engagement with European institutions.

The goal of the organization is to put an end to human rights abuses in Uzbekistan by building the capacity of local human rights groups, conducting advocacy with the EU and international institutions and by mobilizing public opinion in Europe. Our advocacy efforts are particularly focused on Germany because of its strong ties with Uzbekistan and throughout the region and because of its influential role in EU foreign policy.

UGF plans to partner with other human rights organizations concerned with Uzbekistan and to address key issues such as forced and child labor in the country’s cotton sector; strengthen the rule of law and establish an independent legal system; help to establish more human rights organizations and to stand up for freedom and freedom of expression.

Umida Niyazova – Director UGF

After serving four months in a Tashkent prison, I arrived in Berlin in September 2008 for a one-year fellowship at Human Rights Watch. Following the incoming news from Uzbekistan, I became aware of the renewed arrests of my colleagues, the ongoing deaths in custody and the persecution of independent journalists. Uzbekistan has developed into a country where the peaceful activities of human rights defenders and independent journalists are considered a crime. I faced the choice of either continuing my human rights work in exile or returning home to Uzbekistan and remaining silent. I decided to stay in Berlin.

In the summer of 2008 the Uzbek-German Forum was founded with the support of my German friends. On this website you will find archived material of all the work we have done on the human rights situation in Uzbekistan. We work in close cooperation with colleagues from inside the country and our work would not be possible without them. For their own protection, we have to withhold their names but we are deeply indebted to them, that despite the dangers they face, they continue to expose egregious human rights abuses.