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Court in Uzbekistan orders another U.S. NGO out - 1

RIA Novosti

July 26, 2006

A court in the capital of Uzbekistan on Wednesday banned another U.S. nongovernmental organization from operating in the post-Soviet Central Asian country for pursuing activities inconsistent with its charter.

The ruling upheld a motion from the Justice Ministry, which claimed that Arkansas-based Winrock International, registered in Uzbekistan as an organization helping farmers boost their crops, had been supporting local NGOs and working to raise the legal awareness of women.

The ministry said that instead of concentrating on agricultural projects, Winrock had launched the production of video and print materials misrepresenting the status of women in Uzbekistan and creating a "negative and distorted" image of gender relations in traditional Uzbek households.

Dozens of foreign NGOs and media outlets have been forced out of Uzbekistan since the West harshly condemned the Uzbek government's suppression of a revolt in the eastern city of Andijan last May.

In April 2006, the American Bar Association had its Tashkent office shut down for alleged abuse of the republic's laws and funding of local NGOs.

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