OSCE co-hosts Samarkand roundtable on constitution as cornerstone of human rights protection


the Priority of Human Rights” is title of the International Roundtable co-hosted today by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan, in co-operation with the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis (National Parliament) of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsperson), in Samarkand and via video-teleconference. The event had special significance in view of the 30 April nationwide referendum to adopt a new version of the Constitution.

The roundtable was opened by the Ombudsperson Ms. Feruza Eshmatova, followed by high-level speakers including Mr. Rustam Khalmuradov, member of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis and part of the National Commission for Constitutional Reforms, as well as Mr. Hans-Ullrich Ihm, Acting OSCE Project Co-ordinator.

Participants stressed how the absolute primacy of the Constitution is the crucial safeguard for the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms, and that not only has the new version of the Constitution the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens at its core, but also provides the legal basis to ensure the independence of the courts in upholding such rights. The roundtable also provided a platform to discuss, among others, the protection of children’s rights and environmental rights of citizens in the new version of the Constitution, as well as the new constitutional framework for the development of civil society and its active participation in the society.

Government officials of Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent State Law University, Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Internal Affairs delivered their remarks.

Overall, 120 participants (40 women and 80 men) from various institutions and NGOs took part in the event.

Hans-Ullrich Ihm, the Acting OSCE Project Co-ordinator, noted that “the decision to conduct constitutional amendments through a national referendum is the right one, as it reflects the will of the people of Uzbekistan.” Should such amendments be approved by the 30 April referendum, the fundamental law of the country will be updated by 65 percent, with significant progress in the fulfillment of OSCE commitments across all three dimensions. Mr. Ihm assured that the OSCE is ready to provide all necessary support in this respect.

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