New York Fashion Week Cancels Show by Dictator’s Daughter

Sunday, September 11, 2011
Gulnara Karimova and Bill Clinton
Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan’s notorious dictator, won’t enjoy New York’s Fashion Week after all.
IMG, which puts on the celebrated fashion event, decided to cancel Karimova’s fashion show following media stories about her father, Islam Karimov, and his ruthless tactics. Gulnara herself was described in a 2005 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks as “the single most hated person in the country.”
Uzbekistan’s leader has been accused of imprisoning and killing political dissidents, and forcing schoolchildren into slave labor, among other human rights abuses.
“Enslaving children and torturing dissidents is never chic,” said Steve Swerdlow, Uzbekistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “We’re glad Fashion Week will not showcase a designer who represents such a repressive government. They’re sending the message that abusers shouldn’t be allowed to launder their image at the expense of human rights.”
Prior to the news out of Fashion Week, Human Rights Watch implored Congress to reject the Obama administration’s plan to lift restrictions, first implemented in 2004, on assistance to the Uzbek government that are linked its poor human rights record. Under the proposal, the secretary of state would have the power to waive human rights-based restrictions on U.S. aid, including military support, to Uzbekistan, which has assisted the American war effort in Afghanistan.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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