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Trust, Support and Recognition of the International Community

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This is exact attitude that manifested towards Uzbekistan after its membership of the UN Human Rights Council.

Uzbekistan was elected for the first time in the history of its national statehood to the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year term (2021-2023 on October 13, 2020. 169 countries out of 193 UN member states voted for our country.

The correspondent of the newspaper “Pravda Vostoka” met with the director of the National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights Akmal SAIDOV to talk about the significance of this event and the obligations imposed on our country.

As President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted, Uzbekistan’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council is first recognition of the results of the democratic reforms of the new Uzbekistan as part of the implementation of the Action Strategy for the five priority areas of Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, – says Akmal Saidov. – This is a vivid proof that the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights, adopted on the initiative of the head of state, serves to implement human rights policy, form a respectful attitude to human rights and freedoms, ensure the rule of law, and further strengthen the authority of the republic in the international stage.

The election of Uzbekistan to the Council is a great expression of the high recognition of the international community, support for the implementation of the country’s new foreign policy, including in the field of further comprehensive development of cooperation with international organizations and foreign countries.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in his speech at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly noted: “As a result of the large-scale measures taken for political, social and economic modernization, the formation of a new Uzbekistan continues in a successful way. Today, democratic transformations have become irreversible in our”.

The political activity of the population and parties, the role of the institutions of civil society, and the influence of the mass media have been growing in recent years. The policy of gender equality has become one of the priority issues for us. The human rights situation has completely changed. Child and forced labor have been eradicated. The National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights has been adopted.

In response to the UN call to reduce the number of stateless persons, this year have been granted citizenship for 50 thousand compatriots of Uzbekistan. The situation related to religious freedom has improved dramatically. Interethnic harmony and religious tolerance are being strengthened.

Large-scale reforms aimed at ensuring the true freedom and independence of the courts and the rule of law are being consistently implemented. The uncompromising fight against corruption has risen to a new level.

The absolute results have achieved in Uzbekistan in recent years and they are consistent and consonant with the main tasks of the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN Human Rights Council, monitoring the situation in this area off the world and makes recommendations to heads of state. Every state that is a member of this international body should be an example in the observance of human rights and freedoms. Uzbekistan has been recognized and joined the UN Human Rights Council and it is serious about sincerely fulfilling the necessary obligations.

  • What preparatory work has been carried out in this regard?

The issue of Uzbekistan’s candidacy for election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2021-2023 was raised by the country’s leader in the State Program for the implementation of the Action Strategy for the five Priority Areas of Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 in the “Year of Active Investment and Social Development”. This is a comprehensive action plan has been developed and implemented over the past period. In particular, according to the current rules, a candidate was registered in the list of the UN General Assembly and diplomatic work began in this field.

In accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution No. 60/251, the UN document “Voluntary commitments and promises made to the Human Rights Council in 2021-2023” was presented in October 2019. Two more documents have also been prepared and these promises briefly analyzing. They are widely distributed among the Member States in the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, as well as through the diplomatic missions of Uzbekistan.

The “Voluntary commitments and promises” presented by Uzbekistan, along with the country’s achievements in the field of human rights and ongoing reforms, also reflect the planned activities. Uzbekistan’s future commitments and plans in the international, regional and national arenas are also reflected.

It is determined that these commitments should be implemented in close relationship with the Agenda for Sustainable Development for the period up to 2030. It is worth noting that the work is already underway.

– Could you please give more information about this?

Therefore, it should be noted separately that the “Voluntary commitments and promises” presented by Uzbekistan included a number of important tasks at the international, regional and national levels. Let’s focus on the tasks of an international scale.

Uzbekistan, as a full member of the UN and actively cooperates with this prestigious organization in solving issues of international and regional scale. In order to implement joint projects and initiatives, further develop cooperation with the UN in this area, a roadmap has been developed and is being actively implemented.

Our country fully supported the initiative and put forward by the UN Secretary-General to hold a Cycle of global discussions “The 75th anniversary of the UN: a look into the future”. Within the framework of this initiative, this year were organized three global online discussions with national and international partners this year, in which the UN and its structures took part such as the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, UNDP, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNFPA, UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, as well as high-ranking representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Moreover, a videoconference forum “Uzbekistan and the UN: Cooperation towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals” was held on June 26, 2020. The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the National Center for Human Rights and the Permanent Mission of the United Nations in our country.

As President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted in his address to the forum participants, Uzbekistan is committed to the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties, and strictly fulfills its obligations. This is one of the main directions of the national Action Strategy implemented in the country.

The UN member States adopted five years ago, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. And at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, special attention was paid to these issues in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, today the world is face to face with a global threat, a crisis of historical scale that has not been observed in the last 50 years.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are aimed at protecting humanity and improving its well-being, and kindly call for a unanimous aspiration to a better future.

The priorities of the Action Strategy implemented in the country fully correspond to the Sustainable Development Goals: in 2018, the Government approved 16 national Sustainable Development Goals and 127 related tasks for the period up to 2030 in this direction. Domestic acts (including the adoption of the “road map”) act as instruments for the implementation of international ones. A Coordinating Council has been established under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister.

National Sustainable Development Goals are being successfully implemented in Uzbekistan. Our country submitted its first Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of national Goals and Objectives in the Field of sustainable development to the UN Economic and Social Council after a wide public discussion,.

It is also worth noting that international experts have a positive attitude to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Uzbekistan. Therefore, attention is drawn to the fact that our country’s view on the implementation of the SDGs after the pandemic, the role and contribution of cultural heritage to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the need to create working conditions suitable for all categories of the population in order to ensure social development are highly appreciated.

Uzbekistan contributes to the development of multilateral cooperation within the framework of the UN Human Rights Council, based on the principles of mutual respect and dialogue, free from politicization, double standards and biased choice. In particular, it is worth noting that the country’s delegation took part in the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2019.

How do the regional and national measures implement in Uzbekistan’s according to “Voluntary Commitments and Promises” within the framework of membership in the UN Human Rights Council.

The Samarkand Web Forum on Human Rights held this year on August 12-13 and dedicated to topical issues of promoting the rights of youth, and it is under the great importance with an emphasis on essence importance of global cooperation in order to improve the lives of the younger generation not only of the country and the region, but also of the entire planet.

As a result of the forum, the Samarkand resolution “Youth 2020: Global solidarity, sustainable development and human rights” was adopted. The document notes that boys and girls should not be infringed in the exercise of their rights only because they have not yet reached a certain age category.

The Samarkand resolution is presented as an official document of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. It has also been distributed as an official document of the OSCE Permanent Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. And this is not surprising, because the Samarkand resolution serves as a comprehensive confirmation of the need for wider involvement of young people in all processes related to the development of modern states.

It should be noted that within the framework of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the UN in the field of human rights, very significant results have been achieved in the last four years alone, which have not been achieved in the past 75 years.

Thus, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on June 25, 1993 and each State is recommended to develop a National Action Plan in the field of human rights.

The Decree of the head of our state dated June 22, 2020 approved the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights for the first time in the history of the country after 27 years,. This information has been published in six UN languages and distributed as an official document of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

Information on the adoption of the National Strategy is also available in the UN Official Documentation System. As a result, the international community has a favorable opportunity to get acquainted with the text of the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights in Arabic, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French.

The National Strategy provides for the adoption of 53 regulatory legal acts, the development and implementation of a set of 37 measures, as well as the ratification of 8 international treaties. Based on this, consistent work on 98 documents has been determined.

The results of monitoring on the implementation of the tasks reflected in the roadmap of the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights showed: in total, according to the deadlines, work was completed on 17 out of 78 items, 7 were completed on time, and two items were completed ahead of schedule.

In recent years, the Oliy Majlis has adopted more than 30 laws in the social sphere. Among them are the laws “On the protection of reproductive health of citizens”, “On science and scientific activity”, “On trade unions”, “On preschool education and upbringing”.

Our Parliament has ratified more than 10 international treaties, including four conventions of the International Labour Organization.

Special attention is paid to such important areas as poverty eradication, improving public health, combating violence against women, solving environmental problems, and ensuring gender equality. In particular, the Commission on Gender Equality and the National Anti-Corruption Council has been established, in which members of Parliament are involved.

In addition, the other areas give practical and positive results especially in the judicial and legal system. Intensive reforms are being carried out in this direction, strengthening the compatriots’ faith in justice and confidence in the future.

The positive results achieved in the judicial and legal sphere and they are also recognized internationally.  Recently, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the US State Department, in their reports expressed a positive attitude to the intensive changes taking place in Uzbekistan, including reforms aimed at ensuring the independence of the courts, supporting religious freedom and eradicating human trafficking.

It should be noted that at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayan, presented his report on the visit to Uzbekistan and spoke about the achievements in this area. The report notes the positive results that achieved in the judicial and legal system of Uzbekistan in recent years.

Assessing the current reform of the justice system initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Special Rapporteur welcomed the progress made by Uzbekistan to date in strengthening the independence of the judiciary and the professional activities of lawyers.

Please tell us about the activities of the UN Human Rights Council and how are the elections for its membership held?

The UN Human Rights Council is the integral part of the UN General Assembly and was established in 2006. Meetings take place three times a year. One of these sessions is considered as the main one, its work lasts ten weeks. On the basis of the requirements of one third of the Council members, special emergency sessions may also be convened, including for the purpose of studying the human rights situation in individual countries.

Meetings of the Human Rights Council are held in Geneva. According to paragraph 7 of General Assembly resolution 60/251, the Council consists of 47 Member States, each of which is elected by a majority of the members of the General Assembly by direct secret ballot for a term of three years.

Countries from five regional groups are elected for membership in the UN Human Rights Council. Thus, the Asia-Pacific region (including Central Asia) — 13 members, Africa – 13, Eastern Europe – 6, Latin America and the Caribbean – 8, Western Europe and other regions (including the United States of America, Canada and Israel) – 7.

On October 13, delegates of the UN General Assembly session elected 15 Member States to the UN Human Rights Council. These include Uzbekistan, Great Britain, Bolivia, China, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Malawi, France, Pakistan, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Senegal and Ukraine.

Instead of 15 vacant seats in the current elections, four members from the Asia-Pacific region, Africa — 4, Eastern Europe — 2, Latin America and the Caribbean — 3, as well as 2 members from Western Europe were elected.

It should be noted that within the framework of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, a majority of 193 UN member states voted for Uzbekistan – 169. Pakistan also received 169 votes, Nepal — 150, China — 139, Saudi Arabia — 90. The powers of the new members elected to the Council will come into force on January 1, 2021.

In conclusion, I would like to note that Uzbekistan’s mission to the UN Human Rights Council is noble and impartial. We are supporters of the rule of law and the rule of law not only in our country, but also in the whole world, adherents of comprehensive protection, promotion of human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.