Welcome word by Ambassador of Uzbekistan Otabek Akbarov
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to welcome you at the Embassy today and open the round table entitled “Uzbekistan’s Experience in Strengthening the Role of Public Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations in Developing of Strong Civil Society”.
As you know, a delegation from Uzbekistan consisting of the members of the Oliy Majlis and representatives of the Institute of Studies of Civil Society, has arrived to London to take part in this round table, as well as conduct bilateral meetings in the British Parliament, University of Cambridge and number of local NGOs.
The main purpose of this visit is to exchange knowledge and experience in the field of civil society and environmental issues between two countries, as well as to establish contacts for future dialogue and cooperation. In my view, it represents one more indicator of new dynamics in the Uzbek-British relations which has been steadily developing in the course of last years.
As an introduction to the main subject of our today’s meeting, I would like to make a brief excursus to the milestones of Uzbekistan’s political reforms and improvement of the system of governance.
• The period of building of national statehood in Uzbekistan since gaining Independence in 1991 consisted of two transitional stages. During the first stage (1991-2000) the very foundations of statehood were created, including the bodies of legal, executive and judicial branches of power. The second stage started in 2001 with the main goal of consecutively and gradually transition from a strong state to a strong society. I know that Mr Abdukarimov in his presentation will elaborate this point in more details.
• In 2005, the creation of a bicameral parliament in Uzbekistan was a logical step towards further division of authorities and upgrading the role of the legislative branch making the Legislative Chamber professional. In other words, it consists of deputies whose main job is to draft and consider laws. Previously, laws had been drafted mainly by the government and then sent to the Parliament for consideration.
• The formation of the Senate, among other goals, was also supposed to contribute into the balance and harmonization of national and regional interests. The Senate became a chamber of territorial representation. It represents local Kengashes (Councils) and their constituencies and acts on behalf of them while considering new laws and executing parliamentary control over government institutions.
• It was an act of exclusive importance to abolish the death penalty in Uzbekistan from January 2008 and introduction instead of it of the punishment in the form of life and long-term imprisonment. In such countries as Germany and Poland the life imprisonment can be enforced for 5 types of crimes, in Belgium and Russia – for 6, Sweden – for 13, France – for 18, the Netherlands – for 19. In Uzbekistan the life imprisonment is an exceptional punitive measure and is enforced only for two crimes – for premeditated murder in aggravating circumstances and terrorism. In our country this type of punishment cannot be applied to women, persons who commit crimes at the age under 18 and the males elder than 60.
• The introduction of “habeas corpus” became another step forward, i.e. in 2008 the prosecutor’s office delegated to court the right to issue the arrest warrant as a measure of restraint. Since enforcement of this institution in January 2008 the courts more than 700 times denied the investigation bodies to apply this measure of restraint.
Based on these and other achievements, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov presented “The Concept of the further deepening of the democratic reforms and the formation of the civil society in the country” at the joint session of two chambers of the Oliy Majlis on 12 November 2010.
In his speech the head of our state outlined updated priorities for further development of Uzbekistan in coming years and laid the ground for a number of advanced reforms on the way of strengthening democracy and market economy in the country.
In particular, the Concept covers such areas as reforming the state power and electoral system; reforming the judicial system; reforming the information sphere and ensuring freedom of speech; developing the civil society institutions; deepening market reforms and liberalization of economy.
We have prepared for you 5 separate press-releases dedicated to these priorities which I believe will be useful for better understanding the path of development of our country in coming years. The full text is also available in printed version or can be obtained from the Embassy’s website.
As you see, the subject of our today’s round table reflects one of priorities outlined by the President. In my view, this gives us an opportunity to contribute into comprehension and advancement of benefits of a strong civil society in Uzbekistan, as well as promotion bridges with the civil society in the United Kingdom for the sake of shared interest and values.
At this point I would like to welcome you once again and invite you to a friendly and forward looking discussion.
Thank you. ⇐ Back to section