Meeting of EU-Uzbekistan Subcommittee on Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights and related Issues takes place
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The European Union and the Republic of Uzbekistan held the 18th meeting of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement’s Sub-Committee on Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights and related issues. The meeting was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
According to the European External Action Service, this annual meeting covered a wide range of topics, including human rights- and democracy-related issues, counter terrorism, migration and border management, drugs policies, and the fight against corruption. The EU and Uzbekistan are intensifying their dialogue and cooperation across a broad range of activities, reflecting the EU’s 2019 Strategy on Central Asia, and Uzbekistan’s ongoing ambitious programme of reforms. This meeting was held back-to-back with the EU’s first GSP+ monitoring mission to Uzbekistan.
The Sub-Committee reviewed and discussed recent developments in Uzbekistan and the EU relating to human rights, democracy, justice and home affairs. Participants agreed on the important role of civil society in providing checks and balances and for the rule of law. The Sub-Committee reflected on how best to enable civil society organisations to fully perform their important role to foster Uzbekistan’s resilience and prosperity.
The EU welcomed the International Labour Organisation’s recent finding that Uzbekistan successfully eliminated systemic child and forced labour during the 2021 cotton harvest, and called on Uzbekistan to maintain its vigilance in this regard. In line with Uzbekistan’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council, the EU welcomed the country’s openness to UN scrutiny and called the country to continue to strengthen its involvement with UN Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures, as well as to implement decisions of UN working groups.
Uzbekistan presented its priorities and measures to modernise its legal system and improve the business climate, as well as fight corruption. Domestic violence, gender equality and freedom of religion or belief were also discussed. The EU reiterated its commitment to support Uzbekistan in the pursuit of its reform agenda.
The two sides also exchanged views on issues including violent extremism and radicalisation, counter-terrorism, migration and border management, and the fight against illicit drugs. The EU’s cooperation and dialogue programmes such as BOMCA (Border Management in Central Asia), CADAP (Central Asia Drug Action Programme), and LEICA (Law Enforcement in Central Asia) provide an important platform for cooperation and support in these policy areas.
During its preparation for this Sub-Committee meeting, the EU met representatives of local and international NGOs, EU Member States, as well as other international partners.
The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Dietmar Krissler, Head of Division for Central Asia in the European External Action Service, and by Mr. Muzraf Ikramov, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan.