”When I remember the things that happened to me my heart stops beating.” — A former prisoner recalls his time in detention.
The NGOs jointly issuing this statement urge the Uzbekistani authorities to live up to their international human rights obligations by decriminalizing homosexuality. Article 120 of the current Criminal Code punishes consensual sexual relations between adult men by up to three years’ imprisonment. Uzbekistan is currently drafting a new Criminal Code and should take this opportunity to improve its human rights record and remove legislation that punishes individuals for the peaceful exercise of their fundamental human rights.
We call on the Uzbekistani government to repeal legislation that punishes consensual sexual relations between adult men and that is used to repress individuals‘ freedom, personal security and privacy and persecute them for peaceful exercise of human rights including the right to life. The authorities should also combat existing stigma and discrimination of LGBTI persons by actively increasing public awareness about human rights.
As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Uzbekistan has committed itself to ensure that everybody can exercise their rights without distinction of any kind, “such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.“ In their concluding observations issued in January and May 2020, both the United Nations (UN) Committee against Torture and the UN Human Rights Committee called on Uzbekistan to repeal Article 120.