September 18, 2020 Tashkent - A workshop on ‘The role of the judiciary in ensuring gender equality’ was held within the framework of the ‘Rule of Law Partnership of Uzbekistan’ project implemented by USAID, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNDP. The event familiarized representatives of Uzbekistan’s national judiciary on issues related to achieving gender balance and forming a roadmap for gender mainstreaming within the national judicial system.
During the workshop judges and other participants reviewed international standards and practices used to integrate gender components into justice systems. Matters discussed at the event included the need to ensure gender equality in the administration of justice as a guarantee of accessibility, judge roles in ensuring gender equality and overcoming gender-based discrimination, Uzbekistan’s particular experience in ensuring women’s access to justice, and women’s representation within Uzbekistan’s judiciary.
The workshop also overviewed gender indicators for the justice system, as developed within the Rule of Law project’s framework. It also included the presentation of results of a gender-legal expertise of Uzbekistan’s Ethical Code of Judges, and of new laws on gender equality and domestic violence issues.
During the seminar a number of analytical notes which include relevant recommendations on mainstreaming gender equality in the judiciary and improve access to justice for women in general were presented. These notes included ‘Increasing the accessibility of justice for women: Best international experience and national practice’, ‘Review of foreign experience in increasing the representation of women in the judiciary’ and ‘Development and implementation of gender indicators to assess the effectiveness of the activities of the judiciary in the field of ensuring and protecting women’s rights’.
Through discussions the workshop participants noted that guaranteeing the right to go to court is important for ensuring that the provisions of law, particularly those supporting the rights of women, are complied with in practice. Judges can apply constitutional provisions which guarantee protection against discrimination, with such decisions potentially helping to overcome persistent discriminatory attitudes and practices. Participants confirmed their commitment to ensuring Uzbekistan’s judiciary will better protect women’s rights and ensure true gender equality nationwide.
In recent years Uzbekistan has worked intensively to protect and preserve women’s rights, a key aspect of the Action Strategy adopted in 2017. This strategy required the Government of Uzbekistan to adopt measures fulfilling its obligations in line with international conventions and treaties, along with the recommendations of UN human rights treaty bodies. Uzbekistan remains committed to achieving the SDGs, including SDG 5 which seeks to create gender equality and empower women and girls, and SDG 16 which looks to establish peaceful and inclusive institutions at all levels.
In 2019 the laws ‘On guarantees of equal rights and opportunities for women and men’ and ‘On the protection of women from oppression and violence’ were established in Uzbekistan, both offering women the right to take legal action in cases of discrimination or violence.
Representatives from the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Judicial Council and Tashkent State University of Law participated in the seminar, while international guests also took part over digital connections.