Uzbekistan: Draft Criminal Code Offers Little Meaningful Reform

Uzbekistan should ensure that its new Criminal Code does not just tinker with some problematic provisions, but reflects meaningful reform, Human Rights Watch said today. The new Criminal Code should seek in good faith to comply fully with international human rights treaties to which Tashkent is a party. While the draft law contains some moderate improvements, it also retains many provisions that violate the rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion. Others fall short of protections to which women, victims of torture, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are entitled under international law. “All eyes are on Uzbekistan following President Mirziyoyev’s pledge at the Human Rights Council to make human rights central to reforms,” said Mihra Rittmann, senior Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Now is not the time for a false start, but the time to make good on the president’s words and ensure that all abusive provisions are removed from the draft Criminal Code.”