The UN calls on Uzbekistan to address a long list of women’s rights violations

Press release
en ru
Uriel Sinai / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE / Getty Images/AFP

Paris-Geneva – The United Nations has taken an important stand for women’s rights in Uzbekistan, consider FIDH and its member organisation "Fiery Hearts Club". The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) called on the Uzbekistan’s government to put an end to such harmful practices as early and forced marriage, forced sterilization, polygamy and violence against women. In its “concluding observations” issued after its review of Uzbekistan’s women’s rights record, the CEDAW raised a number of issues echoing the report submitted to the Committee by the Uzbek Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (UBHRRL) with the support of FIDH.

Importantly, the Committee put forward protection from violence and abuse of detained female human rights defenders, reiterating the message sent by another UN body, the UN Human Rights Committee, in its decision concerning the case of human rights defender Mutabar Tadjibayeva, who was forcibly sterilized while in arbitrary detention in Uzbekistan. [1]

"Uzbekistan must not only compensate and rehabilitate Ms. Tadjibayeva but also ensure that such egregious abuses as forced sterilization do not happen against any woman again. In essence, the CEDAW Committee’s observations reiterate this crucial message”.

Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

During its review of Uzbekistan’s women’s rights record, the CEDAW Committee expressed concern over a wide range of issues. It confirmed that widespread gender-based stereotypes on the role and responsibilities of women and men were among the major concerns, as they are the root causes of harmful practices such as early and forced marriage, polygamy and domestic violence. These stereotypes also condition the underrepresentation of women in public and political life as well as in education and employment, emphasized the UBHRRL report.

“The Uzbek authorities should consider the CEDAW Committee’s observations as a road map for women’s rights reform, starting with the priorities identified by the Committee”.

Mutabar Tadjibaeva, head of the FIDH member organisation "Fiery Hearts Club".

It is also significant that the Committee highlighted the absence of statistical data on the the situation of women and a national machinery to advance women’s rights as concerning. Furthermore, the Committee highlighted its concern about the lack of knowledge of the rights of women among the different branches of the government, as well as among women themselves, especially in rural areas.

We can only regret that several issues of concern were not included in the Committee’s concluding observations. In particular, we draw attention to the restrictions put in place to limit women’s right to freedom of movement, including travel abroad, the rights of migrant women and the harassment of independent NGOs addressing the issues of women’s rights - and human rights in general - to the point where provision of such services as independent monitoring, legal aid and advocacy have become nearly impossible.

Background information
Uzbekistan, as a state party to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Convention), must periodically report to the CEDAW Committee on the implemantation of the provisions of the Convention. Non-governmental organizations can submit reports to inform the Committee about the women’s rights record of the countries under review. The Uzbek Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (UBHRRL), with the support of FIDH, submitted 38 specific recommendations to the Uzbek authorities to improve the situation of women’s rights in the country.

Read more