We previously reported that the European Commission has allocated a grant of 3.7 Euro to a charitable organization controlled by the daughter of the Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov (see that press release in a separate file).
In the letter signed by Europa House in Uzbekistan and dated of 20 April 2011, it is stated that the European Union is cooperating with the Republican Center for Social Adaptation of Children (RCSAC), which has been headed by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva since its very founding. The letter also reveals that in 2008, the Center was already awarded a grant from the EU’s Institution Building and Partnership Programme (IBPP). It is interesting to note that the mandate of this program is to support civil society initiatives. However, in consideration of whether RCSAC is indeed a civil society institution, it was actually created by government resolution, according to which RCSAC is to report directly to the Cabinet of Ministers.
It is also worth to note that the IBPP programme in Uzbekistan has a budget for 2011-2012 of only one million Euros, and that the size of individual grants should be within the range of 100,000-200,000 Euro. However, the organization controlled by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva was awarded as much as 3.7 million Euros – that is, over three times than the entire IBPP budget for the whole country. RCSAC was evidently given rather exceptional treatment in comparison to other NGOs, as the size of the funding it received was 13 times higher than the maximum allowable grant provided to individual NGOs.
Apparently, such grants limited to 200 thousand Euros were not satisfactory enough for Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva. And therefore, the European Commission had to seek additional funds, this time under the so called Action Program 2010, clearly planned specifically to meet the needs of the president’s daughter. According to this Program, 4.2 million Euros were allocated for assistance to Uzbekistan, the lion’s share (3.7 Euros) of which was clearly intended for the organization controlled by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva. The remaining scraps went to financing the “strengthening of the two-chamber parliament in Uzbekistan.” Moreover, the 3.7 million Euro grant to the organization controlled by Karimova-Tillyaeva, again was categorized under the program “assistance to civil society in Uzbekistan”.
As we noted earlier, when most of the initiative NGOs in Uzbekistan were shuttered from 2004- 2010, through a campaign to stifle civil society associations, RCSAC, like other pseudo-NGOs created by the government, have become a monopoly in their sector, and thus the only organizations eligible and able to obtain grants from the European Commission and other international donors.
According to a study conducted by the Eurasia Foundation, from 2004 to 2007, 313 NGOs had to close down under the pressure from the state authorities (the full list is attached in Russian). Among them were NGOs specializing in working with children and disabled persons (in total, 14 such NGOs were closed), youth (8 NGOs closed), women (34), and medicine (7) - they are listed at the end of this press release. None of these NGOs have a chance anymore to receive grants from the European Commission, nor can they even exist or work as associations of citizens. Even were they able to maintain their registration status, they would nonetheless not be able to receive foreign grants, as from 2004 there has been put into implementation a draconian licensing mechanism for transferring grant funds to the bank accounts of NGOs. Such a license can only be issued by a special commission at the Central Bank, which is virtually controlled by the National Security Service.
Needless to say, the organizations patronized by the daughters of the Uzbek dictator do not know about such issues faced by ordinary civil society organizations. Moreover, these exclusive GONGOs seem to receive exclusive gifts from the European Union.
We are not opposed to the European Union’s generous allocation of assistance to Uzbek children. However, we urge the European Commission to recognize this for what it is. In other words, it should not qualify such grants, allocated to the representatives of corrupt regime that stifles civic freedoms in Uzbekistan, as assistance to civil society.
It would be more honest to call this program by another name – a program to support the PR of the daughters of Islam Karimov, as we doubt that these funds won’t be further used by Karimov family for self-promotion and generous gifts to European movie and pop stars.
Some categories of NGOs, liquidated in Uzbekistan during 2004- 2007, as part of campaign to suppress civil society (the full list is in a separate attachment):
Children and disabled NGOs:
- Andizhan Club of Invalids’ parents “KRIDI”
- Bukhara Regional for Supporting Children of Invalids “Orzu”
- Centre of Women and Children - Invalids (Dzhizak)
- Children's Centre “Semourg “, Kokand
- Tashkent Centre of Women and Children “Sabot” (Tashkent region)
- Fund of Children-Invalids (Karakalpakstan)
- Rehabilitation Centre of Children-Invalids (Karakalpakstan)
- Fund of Assistance to Children- Invalids (Samarkand region)
- Centre of Support of Women and Children-Invalids (Syr-Darya region)
- Association of Sportsmen-Invalids (Tashkent region)
- NGO “Aridi” (Karakalpakstan)
- NGO “KRIDI” (Karakalpakstan)
- Centre “Nekuz “ (Kashkadarya)
- Invalids Rehabilitation Centre “Umid” (Samarkand region)
- Youth Centre “Iqbol” (Tashkent region)
- Youth Centre “Maksad” (Khorezm region)
- Centre “Yoshlar kanoti” (Surkhandarya region)
- Centre “Barkamol avlod” (Surkhandarya region)
- Centre of youth initiatives “Jaslar” (Karakalpakstan)
- Youth Centre “Oltyn Kabutlar” (Samarkand region)
- College of Youth Problems (Surkhandarya region)
- Crisis Centre “Source” (Samarkand region)
- Consulting Centre of Women-Lawyers “Family and Law” (Samarkand region)
- Centre of Confidence “Аёл ва Замон” (Andizhan region)
- Centre of Support of Women “Марварид” (Andizhan region)
- Cntre of Business Women and Craftswomen “El-Ayol “ (Andizhan region)
- Women Resource Centre (Bukhara region)
- NGO “School of housewives” (Karakalpakstan)
- NGO “Women and Aral children” (Karakalpakstan)
- NGO “Woman and health” (Karakalpakstan)
- Women Resource Centre (Kashkadarya region)
- NGO “Women In progress” (Kashkadarinskai region)
- Centre of Support of Women “Azizs” (Khorezm region)
- Women Centre “Yangi Khayot” (Khorezm region)
- Women Centre “Ikhlos” (Khorezm region)
- Women Centre “Marjon” (Khorezm region)
- Women Society “Orom” (Khorezm region)
- Women Centre “Mansura” (Khorezm region)
- Civic Centre of Women Initiatives (Khorezm region)
- Women Centre “Najot” (Khorezm region)
- Women Centre “Umida “ (Namangan region)
- Women Centre “Sharq Guzali” (Namangan region)
- Union of women-leaders “Сардор” (Navoi)
- Women Centre “Zebuniso” (Navoi)
- Women Centre “Umida” (Navoi)
- Women Centre “Мавтуна” (Navoi)
- Centre of social adaptation of women Navoi region
- Centre “Oila “ (Navoi)
- Centre of Women-Leaders “Sardor” (Navoi)
- Samarkand Region Union of Women NGOs(Samarkand region)
- Centre for Protection of Rights and Interests of Women (Samarkand region)
- Tashkent Centre of Women-Leaders (Tashkent region)
- Centre “Gender - Innovations and progress” (Tashkent region)
- Women Centre “Mekhri” (Tashkent region)
- NGO “Mehnatkash Ayol” (Tashkent region)
- Club of Women-Invalids “Intilish” (Tashkent region)
- Association of Young Physicians (Bukhara region)
- Centre “Avicena” (Fergana region)
- Association of Doctors-Volunteers “Revival” (Navoi)
- Association of Medical Students (Samarkand region)
- “Lainus Poling” Centre of Medical Information (Samarkand Region)
- Centre for Psychological and Legal Assistance “ Mehr Yogdusi” (Tashkent region)
- Centre for Social Adaptation and Reproductive Health (Tashkent region)