Increasing legal culture and awareness are fundamental principles of a fair and prosperous society. In Uzbekistan, the promotion of legal culture and the development of the legal awareness of the population have become important tasks in recent years. The realm of this is seen and proven solely by the arsenal of legal acts adopted over the past years, as well as the colossal reforms carried out by the country’s leadership.
A clear indication of the fact, that this issue is under the attention of the head of state himself, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, is his words about the necessity to continue work to improve legal awareness and legal culture in society, educating children in this spirit from a very early age, which were said with special care on December 7, 2019, in the palace of international forums “Uzbekistan” at a ceremonial meeting in honor of the 27th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
A reflection of full-scale work in the field of legislative regulation of issues of increasing the legal culture and legal awareness of the population in Uzbekistan is the adoption in recent years of more than 10 normative legal acts of strategic importance, among which are the Laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Prevention of Crimes”, “On the Provision of Legal Assistance for state account” and “On the dissemination of legal information and ensuring access to it”, Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On radical improvement of the system of increasing legal awareness and legal culture in society”, Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On approval of the Regulations on monitoring and evaluation of measures to increase legal culture in society”, “On approval of the Program of measures to improve legal culture in society for 2022-2023” and “On approval of the regulations on the procedure for discussing the causes of crimes and the conditions that allowed them to be committed.”
It should be especially noted that the constitutional and legal consolidation of issues of increasing legal awareness and legal culture in the country is article 56 of the new people’s Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted by referendum on April 30 and came into force on April 1 of this year, which establishes that national human rights institutions complement existing forms and means of protecting human rights and freedoms, promote the development of civil society and enhance the culture of human rights. In addition, the duty of citizens to comply with the Constitution and laws, and respect the rights, freedoms, honor, and dignity of other people is reflected in the norm of article 60 of the primary law of the country.
A particularly significant and large legal basis for accelerating work in this direction was also the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated January 9, 2019, № DP-5618 “On radical improvement of the system for increasing legal awareness and legal culture in society,” based on which the main tasks of increasing legal awareness and culture in society were identified. In particular, by this legal document of the country’s leadership, conceptual ideas have been developed and implemented to establish in society the spirit of respect for laws – the key to building a democratic rule of law state and a high legal culture – a guarantee of the country’s development, as well as the establishment of a mechanism for increasing legal awareness and legal culture in society on the basis systemic and interconnected way and according to the principle of individual – family – mahalla – educational institution – organization – society.
In addition, this decree of the head of state set the task of ensuring the development, creation, and launch of the national informational and legal system of the Republic of Uzbekistan the “Advice.uz” till July 1, 2019, which was supposed to include a portal of free consultations to the population. Subsequently, this national information and legal system is currently fully functioning and it provides daily comprehensive legal answers to most questions of citizens not only of our country but also for foreign ones.
Another legal regulation of the issues of increasing legal awareness and legal culture of the population and the indispensable implementation of the tasks set by the head of state was the creation, at the initiative of the government of the country, and further state registration of the non-governmental non-profit institution of “Madad” on September 12, 2019, by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The institution, being a civil society one, currently operates as free legal assistance to the population by providing them with online consultations and clarifications on legal issues.
One of the significant political and legal steps in this direction was also the adoption and approval by the government of the country – the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan of a program of measures to improve the legal culture in society for 2022-2023. By the approved program, tasks have been set for the implementation of training courses on “Human Rights”, “Women’s Rights”, and “Child’s Rights” in higher educational institutions and centers for retraining and advanced training of personnel.
Positive innovations in legislation include the concept of improving the legal culture in society, which was first developed and approved by decree and on the initiative of the head of state, and is the only one of its kind in the entire history of independent Uzbekistan. In turn, this legal act approved the main directions of work to improve the legal culture of the population in the interaction of the individual, the state, and society. In particular, as an initial foundation, it was established that active work in this area should be carried out primarily in the family, which is the unit of society. In other words, legal education in the family and increasing the legal culture of minors by explaining to them the basic rules of behavior in society are established as the goal of the state in this area.
It is important to note that among all other areas, strengthening the role of such institutions of civil society as the mahalla in increasing the legal culture and awareness of the population, as well as intensifying works on the same issues in educational institutions, are identified as tasks of strategic importance. Subsequently, as practical measures to implement these tasks, work has been done in the form of launching a weekly day of legal information, organizing mobile court hearings and open dialogue and official meetings with prominent legal scholars of the country both in educational institutions and in an institution of civil society – mahalla. A positive addition to these was also the approval of the procedure for improving the legal culture of state civil servants permanently, which is ultimately aimed at increasing the legal awareness of all members of the population to build an exclusively legal state with a strong civil society.
A particularly noticeable and socio-legal change in the field of improving the legal literacy of citizens was certainly the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the provision of legal assistance at the expense of the state”, based on which citizens of the country were granted the right to receive legal assistance at the expense of the state in the presence of certain circumstances. It must be emphasized that for the first time at the legislative level the concepts of “legal assistance at the expense of the state”, “low-income person”, “information system “legal assistance””, “register of lawyers providing legal assistance at the expense of the state”, are disclosed. Consequently, according to the changes made into legislation, from now on legal assistance at the expense of the state should be understood as qualified legal assistance provided in whole or in part at the expense of the state by the procedures and conditions established by law, aimed at protecting the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of individuals.
Also, large-scale work in the field of improving the legal literacy and culture of citizens’ rights is carried out by the prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Let alone the provisions of article 4 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Prosecutor’s Office”, based on which participation in lawmaking and works of improving the legal culture in society is defined as the main areas of activity of the prosecutor’s office. However, one cannot fail to mention the fact that state policy in this area is aimed at involving all segments of the population, including government bodies and institutions, civil society institutions, and citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
To summarize, we can say that the leadership of the Republic of Uzbekistan is taking positive social and legal measures to form a system of consistent delivery to the population of the essence and significance of the socio-economic reforms being carried out in the country, meanings of adopted legislative acts and government programs, strengthening the life idea of high legal awareness and culture in the minds of citizens. From the point of view of the science of law, it should be noted that improving the legal literacy and awareness of the population is everyone’s task, as well as intensifying further scientific research in this area is a guarantee of the advancement in this area of state activity.
head of the department
of the Law Enforcement Academy
of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
Senior Lecturer at the Law Enforcement Academy
of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
teacher at the Law Enforcement Academy of the Republic of Uzbekistan.