Reacting to Uzbekistan’s upper house of Parliament passing legislation that criminalizes domestic violence, Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s Central Asia Researcher, said:
“Women rights activists and human rights defenders in Uzbekistan have been campaigning for years for better protection from domestic violence. Today, Uzbekistan is becoming the fifth country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to criminalize domestic violence as a separate criminal offence under the law, after Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine.”
Today, Uzbekistan is becoming the fifth country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to criminalize domestic violence as a separate criminal offence under the law, after Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine.Heather McGill, Central Asia Researcher, Amnesty International
“The government of Uzbekistan has taken a vital step towards complying with its international human rights obligation to eradicate gender-based violence, yet much remains to be done to implement the new law, prevent domestic violence, and tackle patriarchal attitudes in society.
“Amnesty International is concerned, however, that although physical violence has now been criminalized, economic and psychological violence remain unaddressed.”
On 6 April, the Senate of Oliy Majlisi of Uzbekistan unanimously adopted a package of amendments to the country’s Criminal and Administrative Codes, which criminalize domestic violence and provide women and children with additional protection mechanisms. The amendments will come into force after the President’s signing.
The amendments, for instance, establish liability for the harassment and stalking of women, make early conditional release for sexual offenders impossible, and exclude ignorance of the age of sex crime victims as a way to avoid harsher criminal punishments.
Domestic violence and violence against women remain a grave concern in Uzbekistan. From January to November 2021, almost 36,000 cases of violence towards women were reported, including more than 12,000 cases of physical violence.
Furthermore, legal protections are often undermined by a heavy emphasis on preservation of the family in domestic violence disputes, with officials aiming at reconciliation and reunification of the families rather than the protection of women. An official statement on the Parliament website hails the new law not only for preventing domestic violence against women and children, but also for “strengthening the institution of the family.”