The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in an exclusive statement sent on Thursday to the Global Times, stressed that all actions taken by the government of Uzbekistan to stabilize the situation in Karakalpakstan have been carried out within the legal framework and are primarily aimed at preventing threat to human life and health.
The statement mentioned that "some mass media and human rights organizations, with reference to unnamed sources, exaggerated various kinds of assumptions and unreliable reports about the events in the city of Nukus of the Republic of Karakalpakstan."
The Uzbek MFA provided a more detailed account of what happened in Karakalpakstan.
According to the statement, on July 1-2, 2022, an attempt was made in Nukus, the administrative center of Karakalpakstan region, to undermine the constitutional order, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Under the pretext of protesting against the proposals for constitutional amendments submitted for public discussion, a group of malefactors instigated violent acts, clashes and attempts to forcibly seize the buildings of state authorities.
"These illegal actions demonstrated obvious signs of a pre-planned sabotage aimed at fomenting separatism, destabilizing and splitting a peaceful, united, democratic country," according to the statement.
Hiding behind populist slogans, and spreading fake news through mobile communications and the internet, hostile forces tried to provoke citizens to commit unconstitutional activities.
During the mass pogroms and outrages, repeated attempts were made to storm the buildings of the Jokargy Kenes [local parliament of Karakalpakstan], Police Department of Nukus city, and the National Guard Department. Firearms and hostages from among law enforcement officers were taken, arson, damage and destruction of state, public and personal property were carried out everywhere, and significant damage was done to the infrastructure of the city.
In addition, 107 law enforcement officers were seriously injured during the attacks, and 23 of them are in serious condition. A total of 270 employees of state bodies sustained injuries of varying severity.
The brutality of the actions of the rioters was the result of the provocative actions of a group of people who manipulated people's minds, and they "cannot be regarded as peaceful demonstrations of citizens."
As a result of these illegal actions, 18 people were killed. Among the active participants in the attacks, the overwhelming majority were people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The government of Uzbekistan strongly condemns any illegal actions aimed at forcible seizure of power, propaganda of separatist ideas, incitement to hatred, or calls for mass riots and violence.
The statement said the illegal actions have been stopped.
Investigations are currently underway into the events in Karakalpakstan. As a party to international human rights treaties, Uzbekistan is committed to full compliance with the principles of transparent, independent and impartial investigation, as well as ensuring guarantees of due process and fair trial. The results of the investigation will be brought to the attention of the relevant international organizations.
All actions taken by the government of Uzbekistan to stabilize the situation in Karakalpakstan are carried out within the legal framework and are primarily aimed at preventing threats to human life and health," the statement of the Uzbek MFA stressed.
It further says that "no forces can prevent the Republic of Uzbekistan from consistently continuing the course of democratic reforms and confidently moving toward building and strengthening a humane, legal and social state that cares about the honor and dignity, well-being and interests of every citizen."
The Uzbek MFA also called on all mass media and human rights organizations to approach the events in Karakalpakstan objectively, and avoid making hasty conclusions and one-sided statements based on unreliable sources.
"The Republic of Uzbekistan remains committed to open dialogue and interaction with the international community, including in matters of protecting legitimate human interests, rights and freedoms," the statement concluded.
Currently, according to Uzbek media reports, peace and order have been fully restored in the region of Karakaplakstan. Mobile communications are fully operational, and grocery stores, markets, bakeries, banks, hospitals and other social facilities are functioning.