New laws fuelling ‘increasing hostility’ and anti-LGBTQ violence in Uzbekistan

Campaigners say that widespread homophobia in the conservative Islamic country is being inflamed by changes to the criminal code

Uzbekistan’s LGBTQ+ community says it is facing increasing threats and repression after anti-LGBTQ+ protests turned violent and new laws were passed this week banning the publication of content deemed to show disrespect for society and the state.

The legislation, passed on Tuesday, makes it illegal for the media or online commentators to publish content arguing for the decriminalisation of sexual conduct between men, which is currently illegal and punishable by up to three years in jail. Uzbekistan – along with Turkmenistan – are the only post-Soviet states that prohibit sexual relations between men.

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