The head of one of Uzbekistan’s leading political parties has suggested depriving gays, lesbians and transgender people of citizenship and deporting them as a way of ending the national conversation on LGBT issues.
Alisher Kadyrov, who heads Milliy Tiklanish, or National Revival, which bills itself as a champion of tradition and family values, said in an interview published on June 7 on the Alter Ego YouTube channel that withdrawing citizenship from LGBT people would force other countries to provide them with refuge.
“When I put forward this proposal on social networks, up to 100 LGBT people got in touch with me and agreed with what I had said. They said that they cannot get visas from those countries that condemn Uzbekistan for its attitude towards LGBT people,” Kadyrov said.
That the issue is at the center of public discussions at all stems from the government’s refusal to heed calls from international rights groups to remove an article from the criminal code that penalizes same-sex relations.
When pressed on this point at a March 2020 review on Uzbekistan in the UN Human Rights Committee, Tashkent’s representative stated that any such moves would meet “strong public opposition, and not only from Muslims.” The official sought to defend Uzbekistan’s position by also stating that there were “no laws on the books restricting the employment or health care of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.”
“Although that lifestyle was not approved by Islam and was not in keeping with the Uzbek mindset, no radical measures had been taken against persons belonging to that community,” he said.
Such assertions are at odds with the findings of advocacy groups, however. In a report published in March, Human Rights Watch said that interviews with directly interested stakeholders and a review of video material attested to a campaign of physical and mental intimidation leveled at gay men.