Hu­man Rights: Chal­lenges of Time and the Re­al­i­ties

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On 22-23 Novem­ber, Sa­markand hosted the Asian Fo­rum on Hu­man Rights.

This ma­jor event ini­ti­ated by Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziyoyev was or­ga­nized jointly with the re­gional bureau of the Of­fice of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights in Cen­tral Asia, the UN Per­ma­nent Mis­sion in Uzbek­istan, the UNDP Re­gional Cen­ter in Is­tan­bul, the UNDP Uzbek­istan, the OSCE Project Co­or­di­na­tor in our coun­try, the OSCE Of­fice for Demo­cratic In­sti­tu­tions and Hu­man Rights, OSCE Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly.

The fo­rum en­ti­tled “The Ef­fects of the 70th An­niver­sary of the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights: Chal­lenges of Time and the Re­al­i­ties” was at­tended by Uzbek ex­perts and their col­leagues from abroad, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of par­lia­men­tary and ju­di­cial sys­tems, law en­force­ment agen­cies, gov­ern­ment co­or­di­nat­ing bod­ies on re­port­ing and fol­lowup re­view, na­tional hu­man rights in­sti­tu­tions, civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­ter­na­tional and re­gional bod­ies. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Rus­sia, China, In­dia, Iran, the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries, Ar­me­nia, Ge­or­gia, Azer­bai­jan, Mon­go­lia, Afghanistan and a num­ber of other states ar­rived to at­tend the event.

The greet­ing mes­sage from the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the fo­rum par­tic­i­pants was read out by the Chair­man of the Se­nate of the Oliy Ma­jlis Nig­matilla Yul­do­shev. The UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­tónio Guter­res sent a video mes­sage to the con­fer­ence con­trib­u­tors.

In our dif­fi­cult times, the key prin­ci­ple of hu­man rights – their uni­ver­sal­ity – re­mains on the agenda of po­lit­i­cal pro­cesses and in­ter­na­tional le­gal prac­tice. At the UN Sum­mit on Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment, in September 2015 in New York, the lead­ers of 179 states ap­proved the agenda in this area for the pe­riod up to 2030.

The tasks for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals in the next 15 years were de­fined. Un­for­tu­nately, in some re­gions of the world, it is not easy for states to en­sure univer­sal rights for ev­ery­one.

“The econ­omy of the Asian con­ti­nent, which oc­cu­pies over 30% of the to­tal land, ac­counts for about 32% of global eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity,” said Ak­mal Saidov, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cen­ter for Hu­man Rights of Uzbek­istan. “In Asia, the econ­omy is de­vel­op­ing rapidly, and in­comes of the pop­u­la­tion have been ris­ing. At the same time, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in it­self does not mean the achieve­ment of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals and more ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights. This fo­rum, held in our con­ti­nent for the first time since the adop­tion of the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights, seeks to work out prac­ti­cal rec­om­men­da­tions for im­prov­ing ex­ist­ing and es­tab­lish­ing new mech­a­nisms for the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights.”

The Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights is the first in­ter­na­tional le­gal doc­u­ment to which our coun­try ac­ceded af­ter gain­ing in­de­pen­dence. The main prin­ci­ples of this dec­la­ra­tion are re­flected in the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan.

De­vel­oped at the ini­tia­tive of the Pres­i­dent of our coun­try, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Ac­tion Strat­egy along Five Pri­or­ity Tracks of De­vel­op­ment of Uzbek­istan in 2017-2021 marked the dawn of a new stage in the im­prove­ment of the sys­tem for en­sur­ing hu­man rights, free­doms and le­git­i­mate in­ter­ests. The Strat­egy has be­come the “roadmap” of Uzbek­istan for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of UN Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals. With its adop­tion, is­sues of sup­port, pro­tec­tion and ob­ser­vance of hu­man rights have be­come pri­or­ity ar­eas of gov­ern­ment pol­icy and co­op­er­a­tion with in­ter­na­tional part­ners.

The Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights is a le­gal doc­u­ment aimed at pro­tect­ing and guar­an­tee­ing per­sonal, eco­nomic, so­cial, po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural rights and hu­man free­doms, said United Na­tions Un­der-Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the UN Of­fice in Geneva, Michael Møller. No other doc­u­ment, ac­cord­ing to him, com­pares with the Dec­la­ra­tion in the num­ber of trans­la­tions into the lan­guages of the peo­ples of the world, laws and other le­gal acts de­vel­oped on its ba­sis, of the ac­ced­ing states. For it de­fines that every per­son on our planet has equal rights and free­doms re­gard­less of place of birth and res­i­dence, eth­nic or lan­guage af­fil­i­a­tion, re­li­gious be­liefs. The Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, along with other UN mem­bers, pays spe­cial at­ten­tion to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the norms of the Dec­la­ra­tion. In the pol­icy of large-scale re­forms pur­sued by Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the ba­sis of the Ac­tion Strat­egy, the fo­cus is on the goal of en­sur­ing the rights, free­doms and in­ter­ests of the in­di­vid­ual.

Natalia Ger­man, Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral, Head of the Re­gional Cen­ter for Pre­ven­tive Diplo­macy for Cen­tral Asia, not­ing that the Asian Fo­rum on Hu­man Rights is a log­i­cal con­tin­u­a­tion of the in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence “Cen­tral Asia: One Past and a Com­mon Fu­ture, Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment and Mu­tual Pros­per­ity”, held in Sa­markand in Novem­ber 2017, stressed the sig­nif­i­cance of this event not only for the peo­ples of the re­gion, but also for the whole of Asia.

“The ac­tive re­gional pol­icy of Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziyoyev, along with the de­vel­op­ment of eco­nomic ties, brings the his­tor­i­cally friendly and fra­ter­nal peo­ples closer to­gether,” said Natalia Ger­man. “Sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of the mode of en­try and exit at the border of Uzbek­istan with neigh­bor­ing states, the en­hance­ment of co­op­er­a­tion in the trans­port and lo­gis­tics sphere pri­mar­ily serve the in­ter­ests of or­di­nary ci­ti­zens. In ad­di­tion, we wel­come the ini­tia­tives put for­ward to se­cure peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the sit­u­a­tion in Afghanistan and pro­tect the rights and in­ter­ests of the pop­u­la­tion, women and chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar. From this point of view, the cur­rent fo­rum in Sa­markand is of his­toric sig­nif­i­cance.”

Di­rec­tor of the OSCE Of­fice for Demo­cratic In­sti­tu­tions and Hu­man Rights, In­gib­jörg Sól­rún Gís­ladót­tir, the Chair­man of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee – Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the CIS Sergey Lebe­dev, Chair­man of the OSCE Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly Ge­orge Tsereteli, Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights Adam Ab­del­mula and oth­ers spoke at the fo­rum about the in­ter­na­tional scope of work and the up­com­ing chal­lenges in the field of hu­man rights pro­tec­tion, the im­por­tance of the fo­rum.

Par­tic­i­pants heard a mes­sage from the In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Union Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Martin Chun­gong.

Within the frame­work of the Asian Fo­rum, a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing was signed be­tween the Oliy Ma­jlis of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, the OSCE Of­fice for Demo­cratic In­sti­tu­tions and Hu­man Rights and the OSCE Project Co­or­di­na­tor in Uzbek­istan. On the first day of the fo­rum,

the par­tic­i­pants ex­changed views dur­ing break-up ses­sions such as “Legacy of the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights: uni­ver­sal­ity and hu­man rights”, “Hu­man rights as the ba­sis for achiev­ing the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals”, “Hu­man rights ed­u­ca­tion: in­no­va­tions and new ap­peals”.

The ses­sion or­ga­nized on the sec­ond day was de­voted to the theme “Co­op­er­a­tion of na­tional hu­man rights in­sti­tu­tions with state bod­ies and civil so­ci­ety in­sti­tu­tions in en­sur­ing re­spect, pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights and their ob­ser­vance”. The par­tic­i­pants were pre­sented with re­ports by the High Com­mis­sioner of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion of Mon­go­lia on Hu­man Rights Jam­sran Byam­badorj, the Om­buds­man of Kyr­gyzs­tan Tokon Mamy­tov, Chair­man of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights of In­done­sia Ah­mad Da­manik, mem­ber of the Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee of the Sul­tanate of Oman Iskhaq bin Jumma alHarusi.

Build­ing on these re­ports on the topic and on the opin­ions and judg­ments, par­tic­i­pants de­vel­oped pro­pos­als and rec­om­men­da­tions for the ses­sion.

Fol­low­ing that, there was a fi­nal meet­ing ded­i­cated to the re­sults of the fo­rum. Di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cen­ter for Hu­man Rights of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan Ak­mal Saidov an­nounced that the Asian Fo­rum has suc­ceeded.

“Dur­ing these two days, many re­ports were heard at the fo­rum ses­sions,” Saidov said. “In ad­di­tion, small work­ing groups ex­changed views on re­ports on top­ics. Dur­ing these meet­ings, over fifty par­tic­i­pants con­veyed their pro­pos­als and rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, gov­ern­ment bod­ies, par­lia­ments, ju­di­cial bod­ies, civil so­ci­ety in­sti­tu­tions. The or­ga­niz­ers of the event took these views into ac­count when draft­ing the fi­nal doc­u­ment of the fo­rum – the Sa­markand Dec­la­ra­tion on Hu­man Rights, and re­flected them in this doc­u­ment. Par­tic­i­pants noted the timely or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Asian Fo­rum and the dis­cus­sion dur­ing it of press­ing is­sues re­gard­ing the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights.

The Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights, Adam Ab­del­mula, un­der­scored that the fo­rum oc­ca­sioned to the 70th an­niver­sary of the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights has been im­por­tant in de­liv­er­ing mu­tual ex­change of views and ex­pe­ri­ences among na­tional in­sti­tu­tions and in­ter­na­tional ex­perts, in iden­ti­fy­ing tasks in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals 2030. There­fore, he sug­gested that the fo­rum be held reg­u­larly.

Di­rec­tor of the OSCE Of­fice for Demo­cratic In­sti­tu­tions and Hu­man Rights, In­gib­jörg Sól­rún Gís­ladót­tir, UN Res­i­dent Co­or­di­na­tor and UNDP Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Uzbek­istan He­lena Fraser also noted that the fo­rum proved suc­cess­ful, and the views ex­pressed therein were im­por­tant be­cause they iden­ti­fied ur­gent is­sues in the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights in Asian coun­tries.

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