Uzbek officials are still ordering women to be forcibly sterilized, but Tashkent has christened 2012 the “Year of the Family,” pledging to help young couples marry and families stay together. Getting into the spirit, First Daughter Gulnara Karimova and her charitable foundations are promising parties in a campaign dubbed “1,000 weddings, 1,000 circumcisions.”
Karimova’s charity-cum-PR agency Fund Forum presented the idea at UN Plaza in New York earlier this month with representatives from both her country’s Permanent Mission to the UN and Consulate General in New York in attendance.
In Uzbekistan, the celebrations have already begun. At the end of March, 123 weddings and 200 sunnat-toys (circumcisions) were held in the Navoi and Kashkadarya regions with Fund Forum sponsorship. According to the UzDaily, a pro-government news portal, these ceremonies help orphans and couples from needy families get married, and for the male children of needy families to be circumcised free of charge. The new couples received gifts of furniture, televisions, and refrigerators, while the boys were given bikes, toys, and books. Fund Forum is tight-lipped on how the project is financed.
Though she could not make the party in person, Karimova sent her blessings to the new couples, as well as weddings dresses from her own designer fashion line, Guli. Guli was in the news last fall when human rights activists protested Karimova’s planned appearance at New York Fashion Week, prompting organizers to cancel her show.