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Uzbek Migrant Workers Barred to Go to Russia

Sunday 24 February 2013

TASHKENT (UzNews) – On 18 and 19 February Uzbek police on the Kazakh border outside Tashkent set up road blocks to bar young men heading to work in Russia. Police were deployed with portable metal fences on the road leading to the Gisht-Kuprik border post.

Tashkent-based human rights activist Vladimir Husainov reported that police only allowed women, children, the elderly and Kazakh citizens past the road block.

All young men who tried to get to Kazakhstan were denied border crossing, which resulted in the formation of a huge crowd outside the police road block. “You look young which means you are going abroad to work and this is banned now,” an officer told Husainov, who is 50.

Many experts linked the latest incident on the Kazakh border to President Islam Karimov’s recent speech at a government meeting. The president, who is known for his bias against Russian television, showed rare awareness about the fate of an Uzbek street sweeper in Moscow.

Bahrom Hurramov, 35, became a infamous in the Russian media after fighting a teasing local teenager and breaking his jaw. On Hurramov’s case, Karimov said: “What? Couldn’t this man earn as much at home as a street sweeper in Moscow?” He blamed Interior Minister Bahodyr Matlyubov for the situation.

“Perhaps, attempts to prevent migrant workers from leaving are the Interior Ministry’s answer to the President, showing the negative consequences of police involvement in market migration processes,” activists said.

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