UNDP and national partners to foster cooperation on human rights in UzbekistanNov 11, 2016
Uzbekistan is state-party to more than 70 international human rights instruments, including 6 (ICERD, ICCPR, ICESCR, CEDAW, CAT, CRC) out of the 9 core UN human rights conventions as well as 4 optional protocols. After ratification of these conventions, Uzbekistan had taken a number of legislative and institutional measures taking into account the recommendations of the UN Treaty Bodies on human rights and Universal Periodic Review (UPR). In particular, the Parliament of Uzbekistan has adopted many legislative acts regulating fundamental human rights and freedoms.
Recent Decrees of the Government of Uzbekistan have outlined the systemic policy priorities on better protection of rights through an improvement of justice system and enhancing the rule of law. These measures include judicial independence, legal enforcement and forthcoming establishment of new Parliamentary Ombudsperson on protection of rights of entrepreneurs and strengthening streamlined administrative procedures and new institutions of fair trial, due process and transparency mechanisms to provide citizens with effective access to legal remedies. These anticipated reform measures demonstrate the paramount importance for the country in translating its international legal commitments for the progressive realization of human rights into practice and harmonize the national legislation in compliance with international law.
In 2013, the Government of Uzbekistan demonstrated its commitment and adherence to international human rights law by accepting 115 out of 203 recommendations during the second cycle of UPR. Facilitated by the National Human Rights Center (NHRC) of Uzbekistan and the United Nations, the National Action Plan (NAP) was prepared through a transparent and participatory process, involving some 40 national institutions as well as key international partners. The NAP provides a large set of follow up actions for engagement and calls on the UN system and the international community for support. The NAP as a follow-up to UPR and Treaty Bodies recommendations was signed on 14 November 2014 by the Minister of Justice of Uzbekistan followed by the request of the Government of Uzbekistan to further assistance from UN UN in joint implementation and monitoring of National Action Plan. On 27 November 2015 and 19 October 2016, the joint monitoring workshops were held to review the progress on implementation of NAP on UPR and Treaty Bodies with participation of members of Scientific and Coordination Council under National Human Rights Center, OHCHR experts and international community and elaborated a number of follow-up recommendations.
The cooperation between the Government of Uzbekistan and UN Agencies has been agreed within UNDAF 2016-2020, whereas its Outcome 8 is aimed at supporting the national partners on legal and judicial reforms to further ensure strong protection of rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens. This support includes technical assistance on implementation of the country’s obligations under international conventions and UN Treaty Bodies. According to UNDAF, the UN system will work with partners on enhancing the system for harmonization of national legislation and law enforcement practice in line with ratified UN conventions.
Following up on UNDAF UNDP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Human Rights Centre of Uzbekistan in Tashkent on 20 October 2016 during the international conference titled “National System for Safeguarding Solid Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in Uzbekistan: Achievements in the Years of Independence” and dedicated to the 20th anniversary of establishment of national human rights institutions in Uzbekistan. The event was co-organized by National Human Rights Centre of Uzbekistan, Ombudsperson of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, General Prosecutor Office of Uzbekistan, UN Office in Uzbekistan, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan, and Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The representatives of both Chambers of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, executive and judicial bodies, CSO, academia, universities, mass media, international organizations and diplomatic community participated in this conference along with experts from OHCHR, International Standing Commission of OIC, Venice Commission of CoE, and foreign experts from UK and Germany, Ombudspersons from Russia, Latvia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The MoU between UNDP and NHRC envisages cooperation in the following areas:
- Facilitating a monitoring mechanism that ensures periodic review of progress and gaps in the implementation of the National Action Plan and discussing remedial actions;
- Formulating a programme to provide coordinated technical support for key national institutions that are responsible to take recommendations forward;
- Commissioning targeted research to identify possible solutions for recommendations, including based on experiences from other countries as well as supporting capacity-building activities in priority areas for key national institutions responsible for implementation of the recommendations.
UNDP is extensively engaged in the support to National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Ombuds-offices throughout the ECIS region and globally. This is in line with the UNDP Strategic Plan and Sustainable Development Goals.
At the global level, UNDP enjoys a tripartite partnership with the Global Alliance of NHRIs, which is a body that represents all NHRIs at the global level, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
At the regional, level similarly good engagement exists with the European Network of NHRIs and the Asia-Pacific Forum of NHRIs. In this context, in late November-early December 2016, the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub and OHCHR will host regional consultations, workshop and training for representatives from NHRIs in Central Asia in Istanbul. One of these events will be devoted to the role of NHRIs regarding the implementation of SDGs.
At the country level, UNDP Uzbekistan is currently developing a joint project with NHRIs on technical assistance to the implementation of the National Action Plan on implementation of recommendations of UPR and Treaty Bodies with involvement of international expertise.