UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk this week started a five-day visit to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, at the invitation of the Central Asian States
14 March 2023
The High Commissioner is visiting Uzbekistan from 13 to 15 March, and is scheduled to visit Kazakhstan from 16 to 17 March.
Türk also visited the Karakalpakstan regional capital of Nukus in the northwest of the Uzbekistan, where met with local authorities and civil organizations.
In Nukus, the UN Human Rights chief visited a mahalla, or neighbourhood, on the outskirts of Nukus. He spoke with community leaders and elderly residents who explained how their community tackled social issues, assisted with employment and managed water access.
Türk also spoke at an event marking the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hundreds of students joined the event, which was live streamed to universities throughout the country.
Türk visited the renowned Savitsky Museum in Nukus. The museum is a repository for thousands of works by persecuted artists, including from the former Soviet Union.
“So I'm currently in the Savitsky Museum in Karakalpakstan. What you see around me is incredible artwork from many modern art painters of the Soviet period, and even until now. What it really shows is the resilience, the creativity, and the incredible transformative energy that artists bring to their work. It's so crucial that we focus on cultural rights because many of the artists whose work here is exhibited, were oppressed, were imprisoned, couldn't get on with their lives during the Soviet period. So what it shows that cultural rights are incredibly important for the human rights movement and we really need to honour it. And that's exactly what this incredibly beautiful museum museum does. It's, as they say, the Louvre in the desert,”he said.
“In my meetings with the Uzbek authorities I have encouraged them to look to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document which marks its 75th anniversary this year to help build a path where human rights are central to their work and to everyone's lives, a life that is more free from misery and fear,” Türk said.
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