Uzbekistan should fully probe 2005 crackdown-UN
* Panel says no proper inquiry yet into Andizhan killings
* UN chief Ban to visit Uzbekistan next month
UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan has failed to properly investigate a bloody crackdown in which hundreds of civilians died five years ago, U.N. human rights experts said on Friday, just days before U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon visits the Central Asian state.
It was the first report on Uzbekistan by the world body's Human Rights Committee since the 2005 events in the town of Andizhan, when state troops fired on demonstrators, reportedly killing hundreds and drawing international condemnation.
In the report on the ex-Soviet nation, one of four states whose rights records it considered during a three-week session, the committee noted Tashkent's statement that it had conducted all necessary investigations and convicted several people.
But the panel voiced concern "at the absence of a comprehensive and fully independent investigation on the exact circumstances of the events during which several hundreds of civilians, including women and children, were killed by the military and security forces."
The 18-member committee also regretted that Uzbekistan had not provided requested information on rules on the use of firearms by security forces against civilians.
The committee called on Uzbekistan to review those regulations and to carry out an independent investigation into the Andizhan incidents, punish anyone found guilty of killing people and compensate relatives of victims.
The committee of unpaid experts meets three times a year to review compliance with the 1966 U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by those countries that have ratified it.
The panel's report came just two weeks after a strongly worded survey by the U.S. State Department, which said Uzbekistan jailed political opponents, tortured prisoners and committed other serious rights violations last year.
The U.N. group also expressed concern at "the continued reported occurrence of torture and ill-treatment, the limited number of convictions of those responsible, and the low sanctions generally imposed."
The nine-page report said the experts were also concerned about reports of harassment of journalists and human rights advocates. "A number of international organizations ... are not allowed into the country, even," Christer Telin of Sweden, a member of the U.N. panel, told a news conference.
The report praised Uzbekistan for abolishing the death penalty two years ago and adopting "habeas corpus" legislation giving people judicial protection against unlawful detention.
But Telin said the habeas corpus laws may not be applied. The panel "is concerned that the judges, the prosecutors and also the defense lawyers still follow old concepts," he said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban will visit Uzbekistan in the first week of April as part of a swing through five former Soviet Central Asian republics. (Reporting by Patrick Worsnip, editing by Philip Barbara)
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