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European Union and Uzbekistan Hold 20th Annual Sub-Committee Meeting in Tashkent

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European Union And Uzbekistan Hold 20th Annual Sub Committee Meeting In Tashkent

The twentieth annual Sub-Committee on Justice, Home Affairs, Human Rights and Related Issues between the European Union and Uzbekistan took place in Tashkent. Both sides assessed progress in political and legislative reforms, focusing on responses to UN Human Rights Council recommendations and Uzbekistan’s efforts to implement these changes.

With Uzbekistan’s parliamentary elections approaching, the EU urged compliance with OSCE-ODIHR recommendations following previous electoral observations. Emphasis was placed on the Rule of Law Programme in Central Asia, a project funded by the EU and executed by the Council of Europe.

Concern arose over Uzbekistan’s decline in the World Press Freedom Index, reflecting challenges for independent journalism. Discussions encompassed UPR suggestions concerning imprisoned journalists and activists, highlighting issues of defamation and censorship.

The dialogue also addressed the role of civil society in reform and anti-corruption endeavors. The EU advocated for streamlined NGO registration processes and financing transparency for non-governmental organizations operating in Uzbekistan.

Human rights topics included advancements in gender equality, women’s and children’s rights, non-discrimination, and labour rights. Progress in criminalizing gender-based violence and supporting victims was acknowledged, alongside efforts towards ratifying the UN’s Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

Justice and Home Affairs discussions revolved around counter-terrorism, border management, drug control, and judicial system reforms. Concerns were raised over forced evictions and demolitions in culturally significant areas.

The Sub-Committee meeting was chaired by Mr. Muzraf Ikramov from Uzbekistan and Mr. Dietmar Krissler from the EU, with input from local and international NGOs, EU Member States, and other partners.

Rachel Adams

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