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INFORMATION

on ongoing legal reforms in the sphere of ensuring the rule of law, strengthening the legitimacy,protection of the rights and freedoms
of citizens, protected by law, the interests of society and the state.

Over the past period, the Republic of Uzbekistan has passed a truly historical path that has radically changed the previously existing relationship between the state and the individual. Ensuring human interests, rights and freedoms became the main goal of the democratic reforms implemented in Uzbekistan during the years of independence.
The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan defines human life, freedom, honor and dignity as the highest value.
Almost since gaining independence, a large package of human rights legislation has been adopted as a solid basis for reform in this area. Among the main ones are the laws “On guarantees of the rights of the child”,
"On guarantees of electoral rights of citizens ", "On countering human trafficking", "On The Authorized Person of the OliyMajlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman)" and many others.
Much attention is paid to the implementation of international standards in the field of human rights and freedoms. Uzbekistan has acceded to more than 70 international human rights instruments, including the six main UN international instruments, and thus has undertaken to create the necessary organizational and legal conditions and guarantees to support the observance and protection of human rights and freedoms.
Protection of legal rights and interests of citizens is one of the important conditions for implementing judicial and legal reforms. In this area adopted the Civil, Criminal, Civil procedural, Criminal procedural, Economic procedural codes, the Code on administrative responsibility, a number of laws, including "On courts", "On the Constitutional court of the Republic of Uzbekistan",
"On appeals of individuals and legal entities", "On appealing against actions and decisions violating the rights and freedoms of citizens", "On advocacy" and others.
Over the past period, our country has taken large-scale measures aimed at gradually strengthening the judicial power, ensuring its independence, and turning it into an independent state institution for the reliable protection of human rights and freedoms.
I.In 2017-2018, serious work was carried out in the country to identify and eliminate shortcomings in law enforcement that significantly affect the level of protection of human rights and freedoms.
The reform is based on universally recognized principles of human rights and recommendations of international organizations in this area, which are directly reflected in The development Strategy of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021.
At the same time, the main principle - "human Interests above all" - is laid down by the Head of state as the basis for all the reforms implemented in the Republic in the sphere of protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms.
The result of these reforms is the decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan UP-5268dated November 30, 2017 "On additional measures to strengthen guarantees of the rights and freedoms of citizens
in forensic investigative activities", which enshrines important provisions that ensure reliable protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms in criminal proceedings.
This decree prohibits torture, physical or psychological pressure or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against participants in criminal proceedings or their close relatives. In criminal cases, it is strictly forbidden
to use any data obtained illegally, in particular, audio-video materials and physical evidence.
This decree introduces criminal liability for falsifying evidence obtained through coercion, and grants the right to appeal the court’s decision to apply
a preventive measure in the form of detention within 72 hours from the moment the detainee is delivered to the appropriate authority.
As a result, the above-mentioned innovations have affected the effectiveness of increasing the responsibility of judges for making legal, reasonable and fair decisions.
For example, if over the past five years, only 7 citizens have been acquitted by the courts, in the past 3 years acquittals have been issued
for1,989 people, of which only in 2019 - 859 people. Also, last year,
3081 people were released from the courtroom, unreasonably filed charges against 2623 citizens were retrained or expelled.
The legislative measures taken are already producing concrete results. Mr. Diego Garcia-Sayan, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers also recognized positive changes in this area.
In addition, taking into account the role of the institution of the bar in the protection of human rights and freedoms, Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated May 12, 2018 “On measures to radically increase the effectiveness of the institution of the bar and expand the independence of lawyers” establishes important guarantees of the rights of both lawyers and their clients, according to which:
— visits by lawyers to their clients are ensured in a timely and unhindered manner in special rooms that do not have audio and video surveillance devices, as well as without the presence of unauthorized persons;
— the lawyer has the right to freely carry communication devices into the courthouse to carry out his professional activities, with the exception of closed sessions;
— requests of lawyers for obtaining certificates, specifications and other documents or their copies necessary for the provision of qualified legal assistance from state and other bodies, as well as other organizations, must be executed within a period not exceeding fifteen days;
— for untimely submission or provision of false information, guilty officials are brought to administrative responsibility on the basis of a direct appeal of
a lawyer to the court.
II. In order to implement the constitutional norms to ensure the rule of law, strengthen the legitimacy, protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, the interests of society and the state protected by law in the country over the past 3 years, a number of additional comprehensive measures have been taken.
In particular:
— The Virtual and People’s reception offices of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan have been created, which annually receive over
1 million citizens’ appeals, most of which make positive decisions;
— The Law “On the dissemination of legal information and ensuring access to it” has been adopted, which opens up more opportunities for familiarization with documents related to the rights and interests of citizens, and other materials;
— the institution of The Commissioner for Protection of Rights and Legitimate Interests of Entrepreneurs under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistanhas been established, which is called upon to ensure constitutional standards protecting the right to property;
— the powers of The Authorized Person of the OliyMajlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman) in monitoring in penitentiary institutions have been expanded;
— 9 decrees on pardoning persons who have committed crimes were adopted, more than 4 thousand people were released from places of execution of punishment;
– the procedure for payment of pensions and social insurance to persons sentenced to imprisonment has been introduced, as a result of which 709 persons of retirement age serving their sentences in open prisons receive pensions;
— special training courses "Human Rights", "Children’s Rights", "Women’s Rights" are included in the curriculum of General education schools, higher education institutions, and training centers;
— the Republican Commission on external labor migration has been established. As part of the Cabinet of Ministers,a Department for the protection of the rights and support of citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan engaged in temporary labor activities abroad was formed;
— aunified Electoral Code has been adopted, systematizing the norms of 21 election laws and expanding the rights of citizens to elect and be elected.
On the basis of this Code, the right to vote was received by persons who are in places of deprivation of liberty by a court verdict, who committed crimes that are not classified as grave and especially grave. This right was used in the last election by 1905 persons deprived of their liberty;
— In order to regulate relations in the field of ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men, as well as protecting women from all forms of oppression and violence, laws “On guarantees of equal rights and opportunities for women and men” and “On protecting women from oppression and violence”and a number of other measures have been adopted.
III.The tasks defined at the solemn meeting dedicated to the 27th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the end of the previous year are a Logical continuation of the ongoing large-scale reforms in this direction.
In this regard, the decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan PP-4551dated December 13, 2019 "On additional measures to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution and law, strengthen public control in this direction, as well as improve the legal culture in society" was adopted and the corresponding Program was approved.
The main goal of this Program is to achieve the following final results:
— ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution and the law, full compliance with the laws of decisions of state bodies and actions of officials, effective organization of the implementation of laws;
— raising to a new stage of work to improve legal awareness and legal culture in society, bringing to the masses of legal information through modern methods, creating a sense of respect for the Constitution and laws in every citizen and officials;
— providing support to independent and objective media, further development of civil society institutions;
— further improvement of the justice system, increasing the authority and ensuring the true independence of the judiciary;
— strengthening the principles of openness and publicity in state and public administration, the daily activities of state bodies, the transformation of law enforcement agencies in serving the interests of the people of the department;
— further strengthening as a supreme value of a person, his life, freedom, honor, dignity and other inalienable rights defined in the Constitution and laws, guaranteeing the inviolability of property.
In accordance with this act of the Head of the Country:
— a mandatory procedure is being introduced for videotaping actions
to detain a person, explain their procedural rights, and refuse a lawyer;
— law enforcement officers, after detaining a person, are obliged to immediately notify one of their family members of their detention and place of detention, and, in their absence, other relatives or close persons;
— the facts of the application of procedural coercive measures restricting rights, including the detention of a person, are entered into a unified system of electronic records;
— a draft law is being developed, providing for:
direct appeal to the court by interested persons of decisions of the Prosecutor, inquirer or investigator on initiation of criminal proceedings, refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, appointment of an audit, suspension of the inquiry or preliminary investigation and termination of the criminal case;
increased responsibility for facts of interference in the resolution of court cases, including any form of influence on a judge in order to prevent
a comprehensive, complete and objective investigation of a case, imposition
of an unjust sentenceor decision;
— a draft National Human Rights Strategy of the Republic
of Uzbekistan is being developed through wide discussion with the participation of international organizations, the public, specialists and experts;
— a Program of comprehensive measures is being developed and approved to ensure the openness of the activities of all state bodies and organizations, and to raise their relationship with the public to a new stage, in particular with the media.
– a draft act of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is being developed to further improve the institution of the bar and radically improve the status of lawyers.
IV. In this regard, it should be noted the special role of bodies of Prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Uzbekistan to ensure the rule of law, strengthening the legitimacy, protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens, legitimate interests of society and the state, the constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan, warning and prevention of offences in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the Prosecutor’s Office ".
The priority task of the Prosecutor’s office at the new stage is "to serve the interests of the people".
The activities of the prosecution authorities pay special attention to the prevention of crime. In this regard, the GeneralProsecutor’s Office is actively involved in the development of legal acts to ensure the rule of law, strengthen the legitimacy, protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, protected by the law.
So, in 2019, at the initiative of the GeneralProsecutor’s Office, 9 laws, 10 decrees and 6 resolutionsof the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 12 acts of the Governmentwere adopted.
In particular, in order to ensure the rights of the child, the General Prosecutor’s Office developed a draft law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Amending and Adding to Some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Connection with Further Strengthening Guarantees of the Rights of the Child”.
This Law, published on December 6, 2019, provides for further strengthening of the guarantee for the protection of the rights of a child who is a participant in the criminal process.Thus, according to the Law, the code of Criminal procedure stipulates that at the request of a minor suspect, accused, defendant or victim, one of his adult close relatives or another person whom he trusts may also participate as a legal representative in the case.
At the same time, the GeneralProsecutor’s office initiates regulations aimed at unconditional and timely execution of judicial acts and acts of other bodies, effective protection of the rights of individuals and legal entities, and prevention of red tape in enforcement proceedings.
Based on the tasks assigned to the GeneralProsecutor’s office, as well as taking into account the positive legislative experience of advanced countries, a draft law "On amendments and additions to certain legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan"has been developed, aimed at further improving the institution of execution of court decisions. This Law was adopted on July 30, 2019.
In particular, this Law pays special attention to the further expansion of the use of mediation in enforcement proceedings. Thus, the law"On mediation" contains rules that provide for the possibility of using mediation also in the process of execution of judicial acts and acts of other bodies;
Taking into account the above, the necessary legal mechanisms have been created at the legislative level to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens in this area, which indicates the need for targeted work to bring to the foreign audience and the international community relevant information about the current course of Uzbekistan in this area.

The General Prosecutor’s Office
of the Republic of Uzbekistan

UzA