On 26 August 2022, the National Centre of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (NHRC), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, held a workshop in Tashkent to present a legal analysis of the legislation and practice of Uzbekistan in the context of the prospects of acceding to the 1951 Refugees Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
The results of the legal study were presented to workshop participants, including representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the State Security Service, the Ombudsman’s Institute, the National Centre for Human Rights, other State agencies and ministries of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Commissioned as part of the second joint annual workplan between the NHRC and UNHCR, the study analyses the legislation and practice of the Republic of Uzbekistan related to refugee protection and compares it with international standards and the country’s legal obligations. The report highlights best practices and gaps, and provides recommendations and follow-up measures to guide future legislative changes and further development of the national protection framework.
First Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Director of the National Centre for Human Rights, Akmal Saidov, delivered opening remarks alongside Dumitru Lipcanu, UNHCR Deputy Representative for Central Asia.
In particular, Mr. Saidov noted that the number of people forced to flee their home countries due to global geopolitical crises or emergency situations, or to seek political asylum, is unfortunately constantly increasing. According to him, in such difficult and dangerous situations, world community, international organizations, and citizens around the globe are stepping up efforts to protect people who need asylum.
The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, increasingly relevant in the 21st century, are key instruments that form the international legal foundation to protect and preserve the rights of millions of people forced to flee their homes because of persecution and violence. These two treaties represent the most detailed and widely accepted codification of the international rights of refugees.
“Therefore, more than ever it is important to implement the requirements of both international legal instruments in the national legislation of states. I hope that the results of this study will serve to improve the legislation of our country, and further strengthen democratic principles and legal guarantees of human rights and freedoms,” said Akmal Saidov.
Dumitru Lipcanu, Deputy Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for Central Asia, noted that the issue of implementing interim measures based on existing legislation to effectively protect asylum seekers already on the territory of Uzbekistan is of great importance, and expressed hope that this study would serve as a valuable source of information.
“UNHCR remains ready to support Uzbekistan to join other UN member States by acceding to and implemented the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol,” said Dumitru Lipcanu.
The study finds that the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, its main legislative codifications, and subordinate legislation contains several provisions relating to international protection. A key recommendation from the analysis is to bring national legislation in line with the provisions of the 1951 Convention and other relevant international standards.
During the 30th Session of the Universal Period Review (UPR) in 2018 the Republic of Uzbekistan supported the recommendations to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. NHRC and UNHCR have been working together since 2020 to support Uzbekistan’s capacity to implement UPR recommendations related to the reduction and prevention of statelessness and the protection of refugees.