UN experts: Andijan events a massacre

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GENEVA, July 12 (RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Andrianova) - UN human rights experts have termed the uprising in Andijan, Uzbekistan, a massacre, concluding their trip to Kyrgyzstan on June 13-21 where they met with witnesses to the May events.

The reliable testimony of the eyewitnesses shows that the Uzbek military and security forces seriously violated human rights, mainly the right to life, the experts wrote in the mission's final report published in Geneva Tuesday.

In the early hours of May 13, gunmen attacked the building of the local police department, a prison, two military units, the office of the National Security Council and the regional administration of Andijan, taking 70 people hostage.

Government forces suppressed the unrest.

According to official statistics, the Andijan events left 187 dead, including 57 bystanders.

UN experts asked Uzbek authorities to independently investigate the Andijan events and insisted on stopping the deportation of Uzbek witnesses from Kyrgyzstan back to Uzbekistan.

They are asking that all Uzbek witnesses with refugee status be immediately relocated to third countries.

The experts are also asking for a special mechanism to be set up within the UN Commission on Human Rights for following human rights in Uzbekistan.

After the Andijan uprising, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Luise Arbour called for an international inquiry into the events. Because her request went unaddressed by Uzbek authorities, Arbour decided to send a mission to neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Having studied the expert report, Arbour sent a letter to Uzbek President Islam Karimov, urging him to carry out an independent investigation, but has not yet received an answer from the Uzbek government.

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