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Ensuring human rights and freedoms as the highest value and an important criterion of the reforms carried out in the country
On 23 February 2022 Ombudsman together with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Central Asia and OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan organized international conference on the occasion of 27th anniversary of the institution of Ombudsman on human rights entitled “Ensuring human rights and freedoms as the highest value and an important criterion of the reforms carried out in the country”.

The aim of organizing this international event is to provide effective social protection and monitoring of social and economic condition of young people, persons with disabilities, to discuss with representatives of public opinion actual issues on improvement of law-making activity of Ombudsman and the system of "monitoring visits" to detention centers and penitentiary institutions, to provide information on study of national and foreign experience in this field.

The conference was attended by members of the Senate and the Legislative Chamber, representatives of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the General Procurator's Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the National Centre for Human Rights and representatives of several State bodies, members of the Commission under the Authorized Person for Human Rights (Ombudsman), the UNDP representative in Uzbekistan, the UNICEF representative in Uzbekistan, the UNHCR Regional Office in Central Asia, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and others.

It should be noted that on 23 February 1995 Uzbekistan was one of the first CIS countries to introduce the institution of the Ombudsman. During that period the Authorized Person for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Oliy Majlis has played a commendable role in the protection of the rights and freedoms of many citizens, including those held in places of detention. Memorandums of cooperation have been signed with the national human rights institutions of several foreign countries, and the Ombudsman has become a full member of international organizations such as the International Ombudsman Institute, the European Ombudsman Institute and the Asian Ombudsman Association.

The Ombudsman Institution had also been accorded "B" status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, which aimed to assess the capacity of Ombudsman institutions worldwide.

Speakers at the international event stressed that respect for human dignity, ensuring the rights and freedoms, legitimate interests of every person has become a priority of the reforms implemented in our country. In particular, effective reforms have been implemented in the framework of the Strategy of Action. In particular, by introducing new mechanisms in the process of handling complaints, significant results have been achieved in a number of areas, such as ensuring the rule of law, addressing issues of particular concern to the population, preventing torture, ensuring openness and transparency and strengthening freedom of expression.

It is worth noting that in the past period the powers of the Authorized Person for Human Rights have been expanded, in particular the right to submit matters for consideration by the Constitutional Court in accordance with the law, to apply to the courts with applications and claims on behalf of citizens without payment of  state duty, and the right to submit proposals to the heads of State bodies and other organizations to eliminate identified violations of legislation on human rights, freedoms and the causes and conditions that allow for.

In addition, the National Preventive Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture under the Office of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman) was introduced and strengthened by the relevant legislation in 2019. According to it, the Ombudsperson will take measures to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment through regular visits to places of detention. To date, the Ombudsman and community groups have carried out 333 monitoring visits to places of detention.

The work of the international conference was divided into sections. Participants heard and discussed reports on effective social protection and monitoring of the socio-economic situation of young people, persons with disabilities and the system of "monitoring visits" by the Authorized Person for human rights with representatives of civil society institutions to remand centres and penitentiary institutions.

As a result of the international conference, local and international experts made proposals and recommendations aimed at bringing the draft law regulating the activities of the Ombudsman in line with the generally recognized principles and norms of international human rights law and at the successful implementation of these norms in our country.

Press Service of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman)