ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- This week an international
development agency with major programs in Central Asia begins closing its
offices in Uzbekistan after a court in Tashkent ruled in favour of Justice
Ministry charges of unauthorized activities.
"We have no option but to abide by the ruling of the court and begin
dissolving relevant programs in Uzbekistan," Lelei LeLaulu, the president
of Counterpart International, told reporters on his way to Central Asia to
see what could be salvaged of the international humanitarian and
development organization's work.
He added, "It has been a privilege to work with the Uzbek people for a
decade, and we look forward to the next stage of cooperation with
Since its operations there began in 1995, Counterpart has delivered
over US$100 million worth of assistance to Uzbekistan in support of the
government's development agenda, and its progress on the Millennium
Working with the Uzbek government and its agencies, Counterpart has
managed a portfolio of development programs totaling $18.1 million to
ensure the nation's citizens continuing access to improved health care,
safe drinking water, hospitals, clinics, roads and other community
services, with funding provided by USAID, the World Bank, the United
Nations, private sector donors and DFID, the British aid agency.
During the past decade Counterpart has also delivered more than $90
million in humanitarian assistance, providing various Uzbek government
ministries with medical equipment, school supplies, food and rehabilitation
services for their citizens.
LeLaulu paid tribute to the Uzbek Cabinet of Ministers' Working Group
on Humanitarian Aid for skillfully guiding assistance to the neediest
citizens, "with compassion and efficiency."
Two thirds of the $90 million in aid that Counterpart administered went
to beneficiaries through Uzbek partner organizations such as the Ministry
of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of
Emergency Management, the Children's Fund of Uzbekistan and the Red
Crescent Society of Uzbekistan.
"It has been our privilege to have worked on programs which touched
millions of Uzbek citizens, and Counterpart looks forward to continuing a
dialogue with the Uzbekistan Government to see how we might continue to
help them serve their people," added LeLaulu.
LeLaulu gave the example of how Counterpart, working alongside the
Ministry of Health, has significantly increased the health of children in
18 mahallas in the remote and arid western region of Uzbekistan. "Our child
survival programs have enabled thousands of children and their mothers in
Karakalpakstan to lead healthier lives and we hope to find a way to
continue to provide such services."
In other parts of Uzbekistan, Counterpart's Healthy Communities
programs mobilize communities around vital health issues, LeLaulu added,
benefiting about 90,000 residents in over 40 communities through the
provision of improved drinking water and sports facilities as well as
improving hygiene, sanitation and nutrition education.
Counterpart has also bolstered the work of civil society organizations
through technical assistance, training, and grants to support projects
which enable ordinary citizens and local government to work more
effectively together to promote the country's social and economic
development, and to constructively engage with government for mutual
On the Tashkent court's ruling on the charges brought by the Ministry
of Justice, LeLaulu said, "We adequately responded to each technicality
raised by the officials with proof that we had, in fact, followed both
Uzbek law and our own charter, but the court has made its ruling so we must
obey the judgment, while looking forward to see how we can continue our
partnership with the people and Government of Uzbekistan."
Counterpart International has development programs in the other four
Central Asian nations as well as in neighboring Afghanistan, the Caucasus
and Caspian regions.
Since its' founding in 1965, Counterpart International has become
particularly renowned for its work in constructive partnerships with
governments, businesses, communities and non-government organizations in
developing infrastructure, small enterprises, and for providing effective
service delivery, especially to the most vulnerable.
For further information, visit http://www.counterpart.org.
Contact: Bevan Springer
+ 1 202-296-9676
SOURCE Counterpart International