National System of Safeguarding Solid Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in Uzbekistan: Achievements in the Years of Independence
Speech of Mr. Stefan Priesner, UN Resident Coordinator, in Uzbekistan at the above-mentioned International Conference.
Distinguished panelists, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!
Today, we are celebrating two auspicious occasions at global and national levels:
One is about the 50 years anniversary of the adoption of two international treaties that have fundamentally shaped international human rights: The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are known as the International Bill of Human Rights.
We all know that the Bill of Human Rights defined the universal values of human dignity, of all people as bearers of rights that comprise virtually every aspect of human activity.
Reversely, they also put the central responsibility for protecting human rights on Governments. Hence if we talk about the national system of protection of human rights (the title of the conference) it is the responsibility of the Government at large.
However, because of the sensitive (usually unbalanced) relationship of individual rights and duties of the authorities to protect, respect and promote human rights, the system needs safeguards and mediators of core protection. This is the indispensable role of the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).
In this context it is very important to highlight the second anniversary that we are celebrating - 20 years of establishment of national human rights institutions in Uzbekistan.
This conference could not come at a more opportune time with its purpose of sharing all aspects of the national system and exchanging best practices on institutional arrangements regarding implementation of the normative framework in practice.
I mentioned the sensitive and challenging role that NHRIs fulfill. Hence the status NHRIs needs to be strengthened by ensuring their institutional and financial independence, by providing them with adequate staff capacity and resources, and creating more enabling environment where NHRIs can work freely, openly and impartially with all parties concerned. These principles are reflected in the Paris Principles, adopted by Resolution of UN General Assembly in 1993.
This would contribute to one of the fundamental goals of Uzbekistan’s development, outlined by the First President of Uzbekistan, that “a person, his interests, his rights and freedoms are the highest value not in words, but in practice”.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As UN Country Team in Uzbekistan, we support the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan in many dimensions of human rights, including economic, social, cultural, and civil rights and build the link between international normative framework and development cooperation to ensure human rights-based approach.
Our cooperation on human rights is well reflected in UNDAF 2016-2020 and agreed with all national counterparts.
In this context, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a very significant step forward today. Among others it foresees a technical assistance project to support the implementation of National Action Plans on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Treaty Bodies recommendations. This is especially important given the third cycle of UPR reporting process starts in one and a half year time.
Yesterday (October 19), we had a session to review progress against the UPR. While the Government of Uzbekistan has made significant and visible efforts to implement the National Action Plan on UPR, there are still many opportunities to explore along with all concerned partners, including international donors, and many challenges to overcome in the course of dynamic, constructive and progressive realization of human rights and freedoms.
The MoU follows a long-standing tradition of supporting national human rights institutions – this has been a priority for OHCHR and UNDP in particular for more than a decade. In 2011, a Strategic Tripartite Partnership was established between OHCHR, UNDP and Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions to support NHRIs at the global level.
To illustrate this let me mention that there are several upcoming regional cooperation opportunities, including regional consultations of national human rights institutions in Central Asia as well as a workshop on the role of NHRIs in SDGs, and a training on investigations, fact-finding and monitoring of human rights for NHRIs. National human rights institutions of Uzbekistan along with their partners from CIS region will be invited.
At the local level we are looking forward to embark on a new chapter of cooperation with the MoU. We congratulate our partners for the organization of this conference and look forward to collaborating in taking forward the noble endeavor of protection of human rights in the country.