Interaction and cooperation in the field of reliable protection of human rights and freedom

On February 23 this year, an international conference was held on the topic “Interaction and cooperation in the field of reliable protection of human rights and freedom” in connection with the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the institution of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman) at the Congress Center of the “Silk Road Samarkand” complex in the city of Samarkand.

The main purpose of the event dedicated to the 28th anniversary of the Ombudsman is to exchange experience with the Ombudsmen of foreign countries, national institutions, competent state bodies and international organizations in ensuring human rights and freedoms, strengthening cooperation in protecting the interests of our compatriots working in foreign countries.

The conference was organized by the Authorized Person for Human Rights of the Oliy Majlis (Ombudsman) in collaboration with OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, USAID Legal Reform Program. The conference was attended by representatives of national human rights institutions, international associations and the diplomatic corps of about 20 foreign countries, including the ombudsmen of Portugal, Serbia, Hungary, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia, Thailand, the Kingdom of Morocco, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan. The event was also attended by members of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis and deputies of the Legislative Chamber, representatives of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights and a number of state organizations, members of the commission under the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (ombudsman), representatives of civil society institutions, as well as the media.

The word ombudsman is understood all over the world as a “defender of human rights”. The main task of the ombudsmen is to inform the government about the problems that exist in society in the field of human rights, based on the analysis of citizens’ appeals. The relevant organizations, following the recommendations of the Ombudsman, increase the efficiency of their activities by eliminating shortcomings in the system. At present, ombudsman institutions have been introduced in almost 180 countries of the world.

On February 23, 1995, the Ombudsman institution was introduced in Uzbekistan as one of the first among the CIS countries. Over the past period, the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (ombudsman) has taken a worthy place in protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, including those held in closed institutions with limited freedom of movement. More than 20 memorandums of cooperation have been signed with national human rights institutions in a number of foreign countries. The Ombudsman has become a member of such international associations as the International Ombudsman Institute, the European Ombudsman Institute, the Asian Ombudsman Association, the Association of Turkic Speaking Countries and National Human Rights Institutions, and the Eurasian Ombudsman Alliance.

In addition, since 2022, in accordance with the relevant Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, regional representatives of the Ombudsman have begun their activities on an ongoing basis. This made it possible to quickly ensure the protection of citizens, save time and costs for their arrival at the center, promptly study applications on the spot, and increase the number of monitoring visits.

The international conference was divided into sessions. Topical aspects of protecting the rights of women and youth, persons with disabilities and persons held in penitentiary institutions, as well as issues of mutual cooperation of the Ombudsman with state bodies and representatives of civil society were discussed.

In the first session, the participants of the international event got acquainted with the best practices for respecting the rights of women, youth and ensuring their interests.

It was noted that ensuring equal opportunities in the exercise of human rights and freedoms, creating sufficient conditions for persons with disabilities is one of the topical issues. In the course of its activities, the Ombudsman pays special attention to the appeals of persons with disabilities. Based on the analysis of appeals, in 2022, at the initiative of the Authorized Person monitoring studies of the conditions created for persons with disabilities in public places and ensuring the rights of prisoners (convicts) who cannot move freely due to their disability were studied, parliament and relevant state authorities were provided with information on the identified shortcomings.

In 2022, the Ombudsman and public groups made 381 (in 2020 – 76, in 2021 – 177) monitoring visits to places of detention of persons with limited freedom of movement. They conducted collective and individual interviews with more than 6,000 convicts (prisoners) and 1,657 convicts (prisoners), respectively. Representatives of the public and the media participated in these monitoring visits as well.

As part of the event, memorandums on bilateral cooperation were signed between the Ombudsmen of Hungary, Serbia and the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (ombudsman).

As a result of the international conference, the Samarkand resolution was adopted.

Press Service of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman)