UN HRC experts compiled list of questions on gender equality and SOGI to Uzbek authorities

During its 126th session, the UN Human Rights Committee (UN HRC) formulated a list of questions  to assess the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by Uzbekistan. Members of the UN HRC requested to report on measures to ensure legislative protection against direct, indirect and multiple discrimination in all spheres and on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), as well as effective remedies against discrimination. In this respect, a question was posed about Uzbekistan’s plans to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.

The UN HRC has asked the Uzbek authorities to implement the Committee’s long-standing recommendation to decriminalize sexual contact by mutual consent between adult men. Earlier, Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” had raised the issue of prosecution of GBT persons in Uzbekistan. Although there were not many cases of criminal prosecution, representatives of the GBT community are constantly at a real risk of violence, extortion, threats from law enforcement officials; they do not feel safe even in their families, fearing beating, deprivation of housing and boycott from relatives. The high level of homophobia is also reflected in the position of LBT women in Uzbekistan. UN experts asked Uzbek government officials to comment on reports concerning the social stigma, harassment, violence and discrimination against LGBT people, including blackmail, arbitrary arrests and detentions.

UN HRC has also requested to clarify the situation with legal recognition of gender change and explain the need for a one-month placement of persons changing their gender into psychiatric hospitals.

Assessing the level of gender equality, members of the UN HRC inquired about the progress in adopting the law on equal rights and opportunities for women and men; on steps to effectively solve the problem of forced and early marriages, and of de facto polygamy, which prevail despite contradicting legislation, especially in rural areas; on adopted measures and actual achievements in increasing the representation of women in political and public life, including judicial, legislative and executive bodies, paying particular attention to high-level leadership positions. ADC “Memorial” attracted the Committee’s attention to the restriction of women’s labor rights due to the discriminatory list of 477 professions prohibited for women (this list was recently annulled, but the situation still requires monitoring).

UN HRC experts inquired about the progress in eliminating violence against women, including the status of the draft of a law on the prevention of domestic violence, the creation of psychological, rehabilitative and legal services in legal and social support centers for women and their families, as well as measures adopted to better inform about the cases of violence, their effective registration and investigation by law enforcement agencies.