Uzbekistan politician wants to deport all LGBT+ people: ‘We have to solve this problem’

Alisher Kadyrov Uzbekistan

A politician in Uzbekistan has said the country should strip LGBT+ people of citizenship and deport them as a solution to debates around LGBT+ rights.

Alisher Kadyrov, leader of Uzbekistan’s National Revival party, claimed in an interview with Alter Ego that withdrawing citizenship rights for queer people would force other countries to offer them refuge.

The politician acknowledged that Uzbekistan is undergoing a process of social change, but insisted that the public will never change its mind on LGBT+ rights “even after 1,000 years”.

Kadyrov went on to suggest that stripping queer people of citizenship and deporting them would be a more empathetic approach than imprisonment.

“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,” Kadyrov said, according to a translation published by EurasiaNet.

“They said that they cannot get visas from those countries that condemn Uzbekistan for its attitude towards LGBT people.

He continued: “LGBT people are targeted with violence, but I do not support that. I believe that this is a provocation.

“We have to solve this problem and my solution is international practice. There are 26 countries that practice deportation. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, they envision the death penalty.”

Kadyrov failed to offer any specifics on how his deportation programme would work – or how queer people could be identified and ordered to leave the country.

Homosexuality is still illegal in Uzbekistan

Sex between men is still illegal in Uzbekistan and is punishable with up to three years in prison.

LGBT+ people in the country face persecution and shocking levels of violence, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch in March.

The group found that queer men face arbitrary detention, prosecution and imprisonment in Uzbekistan, while others face homophobia, threats and extortion because of their sexuality.

While prosecutions are rare under the country’s gay sex ban, queer men often are often targeted by law enforcement authorities and are sometimes charged with other crimes, such as prostitution.

The country’s ban on gay sex is a hangover from when Uzbekistan was a part of the Soviet Union. It remains the only former Soviet territory – alongside Turkmenistan – that continues to criminalise sex between men.