Image: UNDP Uzbekistan

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Uzbekistan officially ratified in June 2021, the concept of “inclusive employment” seeks to ensure that no person be segregated or excluded from quality employment opportunities because of their disability. The Convention seeks to prohibit all discrimination “on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions.”

To help Uzbekistan ensure compliance with the principles of the Convention, UNDP, within the UN Joint Programme on Strengthening Social Protection in Uzbekistan, implemented together with UNICEF, and the International Labour Organization (ILO), implemented and launched a specialized recruiting web portal.  This innovative and inclusive solution, which was made possible through a partnership with the Public Association of Disabled Persons in Tashkent (SHAROIT PLUS) was launched at a special ceremony in the conference hall of the national movement Yuksalish on 24 June 2021.

The portal is available at www.ishplus.uz and through a special Telegram bot. For those who may need it, there is an enhanced interface for people with visual impairments.

UNDP Resident Representative Matilda Dimovska said Uzbekistan ratified the Convention this year on 28 June, and that this portal helps it to comply with one of the agreement’s calls-to-action, which calls on all countries to “Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures.”

Matilda Dimovska said the main task of the inclusive recruiting portal is to help persons with disabilities to find the decent work, while also helping employers find qualified employees. “The portal provides a database of vacancies, internships and professional training courses for people with disabilities,” she said. “It also provides a partner counselling service to ensure that people with disabilities can adapt to their workplace once hired.”

More than 630,000 persons with disabilities are officially registered in Uzbekistan. According to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, out of this total, at least 162,2000 are “able-bodied and able to perform certain types of work.” However, only 21,100, or 13 percent of persons with various forms of disability, were officially employed as of December 2020.

According to a 2019 UN situational analysis, people with disabilities are about four times less likely to find a job than people without disabilities in Uzbekistan. At the same time, only 5.8 percent of people with disabilities are employed in rural areas, and the situation of women with disabilities is much critical than that of men - only 4.4 percent of women and 8.9 percent of men have jobs.  During the COVID-19 pandemic and strict quarantine measures, the challenge of employment of people with disabilities, especially women and youth with disabilities, has become even more urgent.

The portal is available at www.ishplus.uz and through a special Telegram bot. For those who may need it, there is an enhanced interface for people with visual impairments.

Although Uzbekistan’s Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, people with various forms of disabilities continue to report facing negative stereotypes and barriers to employment.  The portal seeks to help overcome this obstacle by encouraging employers in both private and public sectors to open available vacancies to prospective employees who may have disabilities of some sort.  It does this in part by providing advice on the benefits of employing persons with disabilities – beyond the legal requirement of meeting a three percent employment quota for persons with disabilities.

The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Art and Culture Development Foundation, an office within the Ministry of Culture are one of the lead national partners of this project.  The Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan, the CENTIL Law firm and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe all partnered in the initiative. The project is currently being piloted in Tashkent, with plans for full expansion of the service nationwide.

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For more information, contact Sherzodbek Sharipov at sherzodbek.sharipov@undp.org.

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