Carlos Uriarte Sánchez
Professor of Constitutional Law of the Rey Juan Carlos University
In these twenty-five years, Uzbekistan has turned into an independent and sovereign State, which is part, in a responsible way, of the international community. The country is immersed in a process of reforms started by the deceased President Islom Karimov that has been continued by his successor, Shavrat Mirziyoyev.
In his speech, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Uzbek Constitution, Mirziyoyev emphasized what had been achieved and “the huge tasks ahead for a complete implementation of our Constitution”.
In order to improve the citizens’ life standards and to guarantee human rights, Uzbekistan has adopted an Action Strategy with five priority areas. In words of Mirziyoyev, “these works have turned into another step in the implementation of the basic principles of our Constitution”.
Uzbekistan has introduced reforms aimed at democratizing the executive branch by controlling the tasks and by strengthening the accountability before the parliament. This way, the idea included in Article 7 of the Constitution takes effect: “The people are the only source of power of the State”.
Uzbekistan has taken measures to affirm the right to freedom, personal inviolability and presumption of innocence. To guarantee judicial uniformity, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Economic Court have been combined. Furthermore, a more transparent system to select judges has been created with the Supreme Council of Judges (similar to the General Council of the Judiciary).
In this line, a presidential decree on “Additional measures to strengthen the rights and freedoms of the citizens in legal and research activities” has been passed. In words of President Mirziyoyev: “hereafter, torture, psychological, physical pressure, as well as other types of violent and cruel treatments will not be tolerated at all”. Information obtained illegally has been forbidden and a separate penal responsibility will be imposed for the forgery of evidence.
Moreover, the new Law on “Dissemination and use of legal information” increases the possibilities to study materials relating to the citizens’ rights and interests.
Miziryoyev also focused on article 37 of the Constitution, which prohibits forced labour. Especially, following the recommendations for the eradication of child labour of the International Labour Organization, getting very positive results (child labour in cotton harvesting was deeply rooted in the Uzbek idiosyncrasy).
The basic principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were reflected on the Constitution, with the approval of a Special State Programme to promote the essence of the Declaration.
The slogan of 2018 will be “A great future starts today” and, in this sense, President Mirziyoyev marked a series of priorities in his speech of 8 December:
1) Human rights and freedoms must be guaranteed in the daily activity of the State bodies: “State bodies should be the ones serving the people and not the people the one serving State bodies”. A State Fast Services Agency will be created.
2) Implementing regulations relating to the population’s health.
3) Principle of social justice. In words of the Uzbek President: “if the law is fair, if it protects the human rights in practice, then the people are respected and obey the law”.
4) Freedom of thinking, expression and belief to build a developed democratic state and a strong civil society. A fast development of the parties and the media is important.
5) Implementing the principle of mutual responsibility, rights and obligations between citizens, State and society.
6) Freedom of entrepreneurship and inviolability of the private property.
To sum up, the observance of the Uzbek Constitution, the respect for the rule of law, are values that must be adopted as fundamental criteria, both by the State and by the people as a whole. The Uzbek Constitution must be seen implementing all its effects and maybe this 25th anniversary is a good opportunity for a new reform and update.
12/01/2018. © All rights reserved.