We should all be free to love who we love.

And to live and travel without fear.

But the United Nation’s World Travel Organization doesn’t think so.

While Uzbekistan imprisons and tortures LGBTQ+ individuals, it has also focused on boosting its tourism potential for years. Those efforts culminated in the selection of Uzbekistan to become host of the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s General Assembly, to be held in Samarkand in October this year.

Uzbekistan continues to persecute and prosecute gay and bisexual men: sex between men is illegal, and can land a man in prison for up to three years under Article 120 of the Criminal Code, which punishes “male sodomy.”

UNWTO should re-consider the consequences of endorsing Uzbekistan as the host for its upcoming General Assembly, refrain from supporting this and other repressive regimes that persecute LGBTQ+ individuals and actively engage in advocacy for decriminalization of homosexuality in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan will not qualify as a world class tourist destination until everyone can visit the country without facing the risk of being targeted by police and locked up simply because of their suspected sexual orientation. 

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