Human Rights in Uzbekistan: History, Theory, Practice

Human rights

The core values ​​on which the concept of human rights is based include human dignity and equality. Human rights can be seen as the basic norms necessary to achieve self-esteem. Their universality arises from their applicability to all people, regardless of their differences. Therefore, human rights receive widespread support from governments, world cultures and religions.

It is universally accepted that the powers of the state cannot be unlimited or arbitrary, but must be limited by the need to provide at least the minimum conditions for all citizens to live with a sense of dignity.

These core values ​​become the starting point for other values ​​that flow from them, which more precisely define the ways in which individuals and society coexist. Freedom, respect for others, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and responsibility are all rooted in the core concept of human rights and are important aspects to implement.

Since ancient times, human rights and interests have always been of decisive importance in the works of scientists. Thus, one of the largest representatives of medieval Islamic philosophy, Abu Nasr al-Farabi, refused to accept an unjust society. He emphasized that justice includes the fair distribution of public goods (available to all members of society, as well as their preservation). Benefits include well-being, wealth, status in society and others associated with people’s lives. Each person should receive his share of benefits in accordance with how much he contributed. The scientist called for an ideal city-state, where law, wisdom and justice prevail, and the highest moral principle is man, his happiness and future.

Alisher Navoi overcame a difficult path based on his inexhaustible struggle for the happiness and well-being of mankind. Constantly striving for the development of culture and education, he managed not only to achieve success, but also to endure deep suffering. And when faced with obstacles, realize the inconsistency of life. According to Navoi, the strength of the political power of the state and society, their economic and cultural development, and the well-being of the people mainly depend on the ruler, on his ability to listen and hear his subjects, and heed public opinion.

One of the main ideas in the works of Alisher Navoi is to establish freedom of belief and tolerance of confessions in society. At the same time, wage a tough fight against nationalism and racism. Navoi calls for achieving harmony and equality based on respect for the rights and freedoms of every person. The principles described in his works remain relevant today, providing a valuable guide to creating a just society.

The history of democratic movements has always been associated with the ideals of freedom, equality and justice. Two important eras that carry with them these principles are the French Revolution and the Jadid movement in Central Asia. Both periods brought significant changes in the political and social spheres, reflecting people’s desire for liberation, equality and justice.

In 1789, the French Revolution led to the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. The slogan “Freedom, equality, brotherhood” became a symbol of this period and expressed the main values ​​of the revolution. Freedom meant political freedom, human rights and freedom of speech. Equality required equal rights before the law for all citizens regardless of social status or origin. Brotherhood implied the unity and mutual assistance of the entire people. These ideals became the basis for the development of the Constitution, which guaranteed civil liberties and equal rights under the law. They also influenced the development of democratic principles, progress and human rights in France and other countries of the world.

The Jadids (a movement of enlightened reformists in Central Asia in the late 19th and 20th centuries) also advanced their ideals based on freedom, equality and justice. They sought educational modernization, social justice, and political change. Key aspects of the Jadid movement were manifested in the slogan “Freedom, equality and justice.” Freedom was perceived by them as the right of every person to free thought, expression and choice. Equality meant the absence of privilege and discrimination, as well as equal educational opportunities. And, of course, the desire for social justice and respect for the rights of each individual.

Both movements opened a new era in the struggle for human rights and freedoms. Their ideals continue to inspire people today. The inherited ideas of freedom, equality and justice remain important issues that require continued struggle for their implementation.

During the Soviet period, Uzbekistan had a difficult situation regarding human rights. All spheres of life were controlled by the state. The authorities sought to suppress political opposition and independent voices, including human rights violations.

However, even then efforts were made to guarantee certain social, economic and educational rights of the population. The social system has actively developed, providing access to education for all citizens, including representatives of all nationalities, who were previously deprived of the opportunity to receive education in their native language.

In 1991, Uzbekistan became an independent state and was faced with the need to create its own system of rights and laws.

On September 30, 1991, at the extraordinary VII session of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified. This is the first international document to which sovereign Uzbekistan has acceded. In this way, our country has demonstrated its commitment to the ideals and values ​​of human rights in its public policy.

The second section of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan “Fundamental rights, freedoms and duties of man and citizen” fully reflects the provisions of the Declaration. This section stipulates that all citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan have the same rights and freedoms and are equal before the law without distinction of gender, race, nationality, language, religion, social origin, beliefs, personal and social status.

It should be noted that the reforms carried out in this area have received well-deserved recognition at the international level. Thus, in October 2020, Uzbekistan became a member of the UN Human Rights Council, an authoritative intergovernmental body of the UN system designed to ensure the protection of human rights around the world. 169 out of 193 UN member states voted for Uzbekistan’s candidacy. This event took place for the first time in the history of national statehood of our country.

The structure of national human rights institutions of Uzbekistan includes the Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman), the Children’s Ombudsman of Uzbekistan, the Commissioner under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of business entities and the National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights. Their work is organized and constantly improved on the basis of international human rights standards and best international practices.

On June 22, 2020, the President signed the Decree “On approval of the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights.” The goal is to determine the main tasks and directions of the state policy consistently pursued in the country in the field of ensuring human rights and freedoms.

In February 2021, the head of state took part in the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, noting in his speech that “ensuring fundamental human rights and freedoms will continue to be central to the reform of Uzbekistan.”

The 78th session of the UN General Assembly was held at the headquarters of the United Nations (September 20, 2023), at which President Shavkat Mirziyoyev spoke.

“We will resolutely continue the policy of building a New Uzbekistan as a legal, secular, democratic and social state. Based on the idea “In the name of the honor and dignity of man,” our country is confidently moving along the path of fundamental reforms aimed at strengthening the principles of democracy and justice… The Basic Law confirms commitment to the principles of human rights, freedom of speech and conscience, equality of all citizens, regardless of their nationality, language and religion. The Development Strategy “Uzbekistan – 2030”, adopted on this legal basis, is in tune with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations,” the head of state emphasized.

The celebration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2023 represents a unique opportunity to take stock of the achievements and challenges we face today. Conflicts around the world have led to an escalation in gross human rights violations, especially against vulnerable groups such as women and people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. There is an increasing number of victims and displaced people who are deprived of basic rights, including the right to life and security. Moreover, we are faced with the challenge of retreat from the values ​​of civil society and restrictions on civil liberties in many countries. The formation of authoritarian regimes and democratic reversals are warning signs that strike at the foundations of human rights.

Uzbekistan is actively working to improve the human rights situation in the republic and in the international arena. However, much work remains to ensure that citizens’ rights are fully protected.

It is necessary to continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law, develop and implement laws and cooperate with relevant organizations. Further activities in this direction, partnerships at the national and international levels will contribute to continued progress in the field of human rights.