Aide Memoire Uzbekistan’s Candidature for the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2021-2023
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1. In the spirit of contributing further to the global promotion and protection of human rights The Republic of Uzbekistan presents its candidature to the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2021–2023, the elections for which will to be held during the 75th Session of United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2020.
2. Uzbekistan is firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and strictly accomplishes its international obligations on human rights in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, which encompass the values and principles of democracy and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights.
3. Uzbekistan steadfastly holds the view that advancing the cause of human rights worldwide should be pursued by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation aimed at strengthening the capacity of States to comply with their human rights obligations for the benefit of all human beings.
4. Uzbekistan believes in inclusive, democratic rights and recognizes the interests and aspirations of all segments of society with respect to equitable and just development. Uzbekistan consistently asserts that global promotion and protection of human rights should always be carried out through constructive dialogue and international cooperation, which is aimed at strengthening the capacity of States to comply with their human rights obligations.
5. Uzbekistan remains fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, and has adopted a wide range of legislative, institutional, policy and administrative measures to fulfill its national and international obligations on human rights. Uzbekistan’s candidature to the Human Rights Council is the fact the Government of Uzbekistan has been prioritizing its contribution to human rights promotion and protection regionally and globally.
6. Deeply committed to the promotion of human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Uzbekistan hopes for further support and trust from the international community in its efforts to promote the promotion and protection of human rights both at the regional and international levels, including in the context of the Human Rights Council.
7. In consonance with its internal democratic process, the Republic of Uzbekistan is prepared to take up important responsibilities in the United Nations human rights bodies.
PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
8. Uzbekistan remains fully committed to the human rights promotion and protection and has adopted the ambitious and reform-oriented “Action strategies in the five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017–2021”, which defined a common vision of the country’s development on the implementation of the principle “People should not serve the Government, but the Government should serve the people”.
9. In order to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Government adopted National sustainable development goals and objectives for the period until 2030, which enlisted 16 national goals and 127 national targets for the sustainable Development Goals and 206 indicators on the available data sources.
10. In 2018 Uzbekistan celebrated the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on human rights. Uzbekistan has made a voluntary contribution to the budget of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the amount of $100,000.
11. As part of the implementation in Uzbekistan of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, a human rights education system has been established.
12. Uzbekistan makes a significant contribution to the realization of human rights in the framework of all its measures in the international arena. During the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, at the initiative of Uzbekistan, the resolution entitled “Enlightenment and religious tolerance” was adopted. The resolution underlines the importance of promoting education, peace, human rights, tolerance and friendship, and also recognizes the importance of inclusion, mutual respect, respect for human rights, tolerance and understanding, in order to build a more secure and peaceful world.
13. Uzbekistan also continues to actively promote genuine dialogue to advance human rights causes, including on religious freedom and tolerance, and to broaden understanding among civilizations, cultures and religions through various bilateral, regional and interregional initiates. In November 2018, the Asian Forum on Human Rights, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was held in Samarkand. It was aimed at improving existing and establishing new human rights protection mechanisms and the development of practical recommendations to ensure the cooperation of national human rights institutions in the region. During the Forum, the Samarkand Declaration on human rights was adopted, which was approved as a document of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. In the document it is emphasized once again that there are no civilizations and States, where the ideas of freedom, equality and the protection of human rights would not be of primary importance.
Gender equality and Empowerment of women
14. Uzbekistan has achieved impressive progress towards the gender empowerment related Sustainable Development Goals. Uzbekistan is firmly committed to ensuring gender equality and, in this respect, has adopted a rights-based approach to the social, economic and political empowerment of women
15. Implementation of the gender policy has resulted in an impressive record in the empowerment of women rarely seen in the contemporary world. It is established the Commission on Gender Equality, whose main task is to ensure gender parity in all spheres of society and to increase the proportion of women in the decision-making process. In order to increase the role and status of women in society, for the first time in Uzbekistan, a woman was elected as the chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, Committee on Women and Gender Equality has been created in the Senate of the Oliy Majlis.
16. Uzbekistan intends to make tremendous progress in ensuring gender equality. In September 2019, in accordance with the UN treaty bodies’ recommendations the Parliament of Uzbekistan adopted laws on guarantees of equal rights and opportunities for men and women and the protection of women from harassment and violence. Uzbekistan takes immense pride in these
achievements and intends to continue to make tremendous progress in ensuring gender equality and to create a “zone free from discrimination” in the country.
17. Uzbekistan has been implementing the Beijing Platform for Action and its national action plan on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. As a State party, Uzbekistan has been submitting periodic reports on its implementation of the Convention. Through a concerted effort launched by the Government to safeguard the civil and political rights as well as the economic, social and cultural rights of women by investing in their well-being, impressive results have been achieved in reducing maternal and child mortality rates. Significant progress has been made with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals related to overall health. The Government is committed to making further efforts to achieve the Goals.
Rights of the child
18. Uzbekistan has made noticeable progress in promoting the rights of the child. In 2019, the State has taken additional measures to further strengthen the guarantees of the rights of the child, including to ensure the best interests of orphans and children left without parental care, to ensure that children are guaranteed the right to appeal to State bodies and to ensure that the right of children under the age of 14 to independently file claims for the maintenance of alimony from their parents has been cemented in the legislation.
19. The 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is widely celebrated by the international community in 2019, is another challenge that Uzbekistan faces. To this end, the government is implementing a program of events dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and additional measures have been taken to further strengthen guarantees of the rights of the child, including ensuring the best interests of orphans and children left without parental care.
20. In accordance with the recommendations of the UN treaty bodies, the legislative minimum age for marriage for men and women is 18 years.
21. Young people constitute approximately 40 per cent (12.2 million people) of the population of Uzbekistan. State is making efforts to strengthen existing international mechanisms and explore new ways to solve the problems faced by young generation.
22. Uzbekistan is the developer of the United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Youth, initiated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the seventy-second session of the General Assembly and intends to promote its adoption on the international stage.
Elimination of child and forced labour
23. Uzbekistan is proud of the achievements in the field of the eradication of child and forced labour. The country managed to completely eradicate child labour and significantly advance protection against forced labour. Uzbekistan’s implementation of its international commitments under the International Labour Organization conventions, including the recommendations they submitted following the monitoring of the cotton harvesting campaign, and the Decent Work Country Programme in Uzbekistan for 2017–2020, resulted in positive assessments from international partners.
Implementation of international obligations and agreements at the national level
24.Uzbekistan’s commitment to human rights is manifest by the number of international human rights instruments it has subscribed to so far. Uzbekistan is a State party to 70 international human rights related conventions/protocols, including 6 of the 9 core international Human Rights instruments and 4 optional protocols thereto.
25. Uzbekistan has ratified 17 ILO conventions and 1 Protocol including all of the 8 fundamental conventions. Out of them 14 conventions are in force, no Convention has been denounced; 4 have been ratified in the past 12 months.
26. Uzbekistan remains fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and has adopted a range of legislative, institutional and administrative measures to fulfil international obligations in the field of human rights.
27. Uzbekistan has good record of meeting reporting obligations under international human rights treaties. Uzbekistan fulfils its obligations to submit periodic reports to various treaty bodies in a timely fashion. Uzbekistan submitted 38 national reports to the statutory and treaty bodies of the United Nations on the fulfilment of its international obligations in the field of human rights.
28. During 2018–2019, Uzbekistan prepared and submitted five national reports on human rights and freedoms the Third national report of Uzbekistan under the universal periodic review, the Fifth national report of Uzbekistan on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Fifth national report of Uzbekistan on the implementation of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Ninth to twelfth national reports of Uzbekistan on the implementation of the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Third national report on the Implementation of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
29. A national system of monitoring the observance of constitutional human rights and freedoms and the fulfilment of international human rights obligations has been formed.
30. Uzbekistan supports Human Rights Council resolution 35/29 and notes that the country’s parliament plays an important role in translating international commitments into national strategies and laws, including by supporting the implementation of recommendations made by international human rights mechanisms, especially the recommendations submitted under the universal periodic review. Since 2016, the practice of approval by the parliament of Uzbekistan of National action plans to implement the recommendations of the Charter of the United Nations and treaty bodies has been introduced.
National Reporting and Follow-up Mechanism
31. In order to implement the recommendations provided by the UN mechanisms in the field of human rights, in December 2018, in order to coordinate the cooperation of state bodies in the implementation of international human rights obligations, as well as broad interaction with international and regional human rights mechanisms, including with human rights treaty bodies and special procedures mandate holders Uzbekistan has created the National Reporting and Follow-up Mechanism by strengthening the status of the National Human Rights Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
32. Uzbekistan supports Human Rights Council resolution 17/4 regarding the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy”
Framework. The country is developing a National action plan on the issue of business in the aspect of human rights in order to implement in Uzbekistan the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the Human Rights Council in 2011.
33. In 2017, a new extrajudicial mechanism for the protection of the rights of entrepreneurs was introduced – the Business Ombudsman.
Fulfilment of universal periodic review commitments
34. The Republic of Uzbekistan strongly supports the Universal periodic review process due to its universal and transparent nature, which allows each State to inform the international community of measures taken to improve the situation in the field of observance and protection of human rights and the progress achieved in this area. The State remains committed to participating in this mechanism and in efforts to promote and protect human rights in the country and around the world.
35. The State successfully conducted its first Universal periodic review on 11 December 2008, the second universal periodic review on 24 April 2013, and its third universal periodic review on 9 May 2018.
36. Uzbekistan welcomes the results of its universal periodic review conducted in the framework of the third cycle. According to the results of the consideration of its third report, Uzbekistan received 212 recommendations from States Members of the United Nations; from these, 198 recommendations were supported; 93 per cent of all recommendations made to it were addressed, and 14 recommendations were noted.
37. Uzbekistan has taken necessary initiatives with a view to implement those Universal periodic review recommendations as well as the observations made by the UN Treaty Bodies while considering Uzbekistan’s periodic reports. The Government has prepared National action plans for the implementation of all recommendations of the Human Rights Council, treaty bodies and other human rights instruments.
National human rights institutions
38. To further strengthen its capacity on the promotion and protection of human rights, Uzbekistan has also empowered various mechanisms, including national human rights institutions.
39. The Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, established as an independent statutory body in 1995, has now been elevated to a powerful constitutional body with a commensurate mandate, competence and independence. The Ombudsman is fully compliant with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles) and is taking steps to include the Ombudsman in the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.
40. The Ombudsman is mandated to ensure the respect, promotion and protection of human rights, is competent to launch inquiries and investigations into alleged human rights violations, and can recommend to take measures to repeal unlawful acts and to restore violated rights. It monitors the overall human rights situation in the country and can recommend remedial measures if so required. The Ombudsman Act fully conforms to the Paris Principles and provides a legal foundation for the Ombudsman to function as a powerful protector of human rights
41. Another significant human rights event was the establishment in 2019 of the Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child. A draft law on the Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child is currently being developed. Uzbekistan emphasizes that the creation of a Children’s Ombudsman is an important step that will further promote and protect the rights of children in Uzbekistan.
42. In accordance with the recommendations in the Charter of the United Nations and treaty bodies, an effective national preventive mechanism for the prevention of torture, based on the “Ombudsman Plus” model, has been created.
Cooperation with international and regional human rights mechanisms
43. Uzbekistan seeks to further contribute to the development of cooperation with international and regional human rights mechanisms through active interaction with the Human Rights Council and its mechanism, processes and initiatives, as well as with members of the international community, United Nations agencies and civil society representatives.
44. The Republic of Uzbekistan has strengthened cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council. In this regard, in May 2017, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein visited Uzbekistan; in October 2017, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion o belief, Ahmed Shaheed, in September 2019 Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Diego García Sayán visited the country.
45. The Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan welcomed the recommendations made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the special procedures and used them as a guide to strengthen the relevant systems. The country’s parliament adopted the “road maps” for the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Uzbekistan is committed to continuing the implementation of the recommendations and carrying out subsequent related activities.
46. The interest of implementing a common strategy for the protection and promotion of human rights, the post of National Programme Coordinator of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was established at the United Nations Office in Tashkent.
47. In 2018, the country became a full member of the International Organization for Migration.
48. Uzbekistan has also contributed to the endeavours to promote and protect human rights within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, including through the Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights. In 2017, a representative of Uzbekistan was elected to the membership of the OIC-IPHRC from the Asian Group. In December 2018, the representative of Uzbekistan was elected Chair of the Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights for 2019.
Intended Voluntary pledges and commitments
49. Republic of Uzbekistan is fully aware of the responsibilities that will be assigned to it as a member of the Human Rights Council. In order to further consolidate the progress achieved in recent years and solve existing problems during its membership in the Human Rights Council and at the end of this period, Uzbekistan strongly intends to make a constructive contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights:
50. At the international level, it intends to:
- (a) Promote the role of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and its mechanisms, as well as the role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as mediators for international cooperation in the field of human rights, strengthening national capacities and sharing experiences and best practices;
- (b) Continue constructive cooperation and collaboration with the HRC in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/251 in order to facilitate the full implementation of its mandate, as well as support initiatives to strengthen the capacity of the Council and the implementation of its resolutions and decisions at the national level;
- (c) Encourage a spirit of cooperation within the framework of the HRC, based on the principles of mutual respect and dialogue, free from politicization and double standards;
- (d) Promote the cooperation of the HRC with national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and civil society, parliaments, the private sector and other international organizations;
- (e) Strengthen interregional dialogue and interregional cooperation within the framework of the HRC in order to resolve the situations of concern within the framework of the HRC;
- (f) Uphold the principles of dialogue and cooperation between all interested parties in order to promote and protect human rights for all peoples, with due regard to the historical, cultural and religious values of the Member States and their specific socioeconomic conditions;
- (g) Maintain the universal nature of the UPR and take part in the review process through constructive cooperation through an interactive dialogue;
- (h) Strengthen cooperation and collaboration with the OHCHR and special procedures and mechanisms of the HRC, and also send an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to visit Uzbekistan at a mutually acceptable time;
- (i) Promote constructive engagement, dialogue and cooperation with concerned States in addressing “situations of concern” in the HRC;
- (j) Continue to support all efforts aimed at ensuring an effective response by the international community to global human rights violations, by taking measures to prevent and early response;
- (k) Improve platforms for dialogue with civil society in the context of preparing and confirming reports to treaty bodies, as well as mechanisms designed to take into account comments made by treaty bodies and to follow up on them;
- (l) Promote the inclusion of aspects of the protection and promotion of human rights as a guiding principle in the processes being promoted within the UN system;
- (m) Participate actively in global initiatives and discussions on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
- (n) Intensify the process of developing and approving guidelines for the operation of national reporting mechanisms and follow-up to determine the status of these mechanisms at the national level;
- (o) Assist in ensuring that gender issues are fully integrated in all areas of activity of the HRC and other UN mechanisms, focusing on the following issues: the role of women in sustainable development; women and peace and security; women’s human rights, including reproductive health and rights; ending all forms of violence against women and girls; as well as gender equality in trade and the economic empowerment of women;
- (p) Contribute at the international level to the promotion of women’s rights, the rights of children, the rights of persons with disabilities and the human rights aspects of migration, health and education, and share best practices, experiences and achievements in these areas with interested partners;
- (q) Make efforts to implement the General Assembly resolution on enlightenment and religious tolerance in order to promote tolerance, peaceful coexistence and interreligious dialogue as ways to combat hate speech, radicalization and extremism;
- (r) Cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world, in particular through dialogue, the exchange of special experiences, technical cooperation and advice, assuming that all human rights, including the right to development, are indivisible and interrelated;
- (s) Contribute to international initiatives for the protection of human rights through the provision of appropriate financial resources. 51. At the regional level, it intends to:
- (a) Continue to work at the regional level with its partners in the framework of OIC, in particular with IPHRC, in promoting human rights in the region;
- (b) Continue to promote the establishment of a regional human rights mechanism in the Asian region and promote its role and objectives in the respective Member States;
- (c) Create incentives to include human rights among the priority issues discussed in regional forums and ensure their full inclusion in regional forums, programmes, activities and priority activities
- (d) Support bilateral and multilateral programmes that advocate the promotion and protection of human rights in the countries of the region;
- (e) Continue to play a constructive role and act as an impartial and bona fide participant in the legal and humanitarian settlement of regional crises, in particular through mediation, in order to protect human rights and eliminate the threat of violation of these rights. 52. At the national level, it intends to:
- (a) Adhere to the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and ensure that human rights are fully integrated in various areas of government activity at the national and international levels;
- (b) Strengthen cooperation and collaboration with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and special procedures;
- (c) Continuously interact with all interested parties to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the UPR mechanism, and also interact with this mechanism by providing action-oriented and useful recommendations to other Member States;
- (d) Cooperate with the UN treaty bodies and ensure timely submission of national periodic reports in accordance with international treaties of the Republic of Uzbekistan on human rights;
- (e) Continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of national human rights institutions through the use of international best practices and the exchange of experiences;
- (f) Consider the accession to international human rights instruments to which Uzbekistan is not yet a party;
- (g) Strengthen the capacity of Uzbekistan to fulfil its obligations under international human rights treaties to which it is a party, effectively implementing the relevant national action plans on human rights and adoption of the National Human Rights Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, directed for the implementation of the consistently pursued state policy of Uzbekistan to ensure human rights and freedoms;
- (h) Develop its national mechanism for reporting and follow-up activities so that it serves the practical implementation of international and regional human rights standards and practices directly at the national level;
- (i) Implement measures aimed at ensuring the right to equal and effective participation of all citizens in political and public life and strengthening the democratic rule of law;
- (j) Give priority to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, making it a major component of its national and international public policy, and in cooperation with other countries to promote the reforms necessary for its effective implementation;
- (k) Adopt and ensure the implementation of the national action plan on business issues in the aspect of human rights and implementation, the practical measures stipulated in it in order to implement all the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;
- (l) Support public policies aimed at promoting the human rights of various social groups, women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and migrant workers;
- (m) Strengthen gender mainstreaming in all areas of public policy in line with the gender equality concept and with particular attention to measures aimed at eliminating violence against women and eliminating all forms of discrimination;
- (n) Take measures to fully implement the human rights of persons with disabilities to ensure inclusion and participation, and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006;
- (o) Continue to promote the genuine participation of civil society and human rights defenders in activities to promote and protect human rights and their real involvement in this activity;
- (p) Strengthen a human rights culture by raising awareness of human rights issues through media campaigns, seminars and workshops, and through the incorporation of human rights education into academic and educational programmes;
- (q) Implement at a practical level the Samarkand Declaration on the principles of dialogue and cooperation among all interested parties in assisting the promotion and protection of human rights for all peoples. 53. As a democratic and progressive State, Uzbekistan is determined to protect, promote and support universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. This is manifest in the high-level political commitment and the policies and programmes of the Government on human rights, as well as a constant desire and commitment of Uzbekistan to work with the international community in order to strengthen multilateral cooperation and arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights. Uzbekistan considers the opportunity of its membership in the Human Rights Council as a means to achieve its goals and would deeply appreciate the confidence and support of Member States.