On 2nd April 2020, the Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations to Uzbekistan, which was reviewed by the Сommittee for the fifth time.

ECOM has submitted its shadow report on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Uzbekistan. And on March 2nd, with support of ILGA World, the report has been presented in Geneva to the Committee.

As a result of advocacy efforts made by ECOM and other human rights defenders working on different range of human rights issues in Uzbekistan, the Committee raised the problems that LGBT people face in Uzbekistan, and highlighted them it in a separate paragraph for the State of Uzbekistan:

Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity

  1. The Committee remains concerned at continuing reports of discrimination, harassment and violence against LGBT persons by state officials and private individuals, including extortion, arbitrary arrest, torture and sexual abuse, including in places of deprivation of liberty, and mandatory disclosure of private medical information. It is further concerned by the high level of impunity for these crimes, manifested in the lack of investigations into acts of violence against LGBT persons. It also remains concerned that consensual same-sex relations between adult males continue to be criminalized under article 120 of the Criminal Code, which renders LGBT persons unable to report violence and discrimination against them for fear of prosecution. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of clarity in the procedure for legal recognition of gender reassignment and at reports that such recognition requires in practice a minimum of one-month hospitalization in a psychiatric clinic (arts. 2, 7, 17, 23 and 26).

  2. The State party should:

(a) Take effective measures to combat any form of social stigmatization, harassment, hate speech, discrimination or violence against persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity by, inter alia, providing training for law enforcement personnel, prosecutors and the judiciary, and conducting awareness raising campaigns promoting sensitivity and respect for diversity among the general public;

(b) Ensure that cases of discrimination and violence against persons belonging to these groups committed by individuals or State agents are systematically investigated, that perpetrators are punished with appropriate penalties and that victims receive full reparation;

 (c) Repeal article 120 of the Criminal Code;

 (d) Eliminate unwarranted requirements for legal recognition of gender reassignment, including mandatory psychiatric hospitalization, as well as provide and implement effectively a quick, transparent and access.

ECOM will continue its efforts to support civil society in Uzbekistan to decriminalize the homosexuality and ensure that gay men and trans* people have equal access to medical services, related to HIV.

NOTE: Previously, in May 2019 ECOM has submitted its alternative report in preparation for the List of Issues at the 126th session of the Human Rights Committee, which referred to the documented cases of violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Uzbekistan. This report gave an overview of the main concerns regarding key areas of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in Uzbekistan. It discusses Uzbekistan’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

As a result of ECOM advocacy work, the committee asked Uzbekistan:

  1. With reference to the information in paragraph 69 of the State party’s report, please report on the measures taken: (b) to implement the Committee’s long-standing recommendation to decriminalize consensual sexual activities between adult males. Please respond to reports of social stigmatization, harassment, violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals by both State officials and private individuals, including extortion and arbitrary arrest and detention by law enforcement officials. Please clarify the procedure for legal recognition of gender reassignment and comment on reports that it requires a minimum of one month’s hospitalization in a psychiatric clinic.

In its reply to the list of Issues Uzbekistan replied on December 30th, 2019:

Paragraph 5 (b)

  1. The question of exceptions to article 120 of the Criminal Code and the decriminalization of sexual acts between men is under discussion in expert groups as part of the process of drafting the new version of the Criminal Code. In view of the country’s religious, ethical and cultural traditions and the underpinnings of Uzbek society, these issues must be widely discussed among the population before any final decision is reached.