An alternative report on Uzbekistan, submitted by ECOM to the UN Committee Against Torture, was published on the UN’s website and will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Committee.

The report examines key areas of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in Uzbekistan.

The report was prepared by ECOM in cooperation with Central Asian groups and organizations working in the field of human rights, health, and the well-being of LGBT people, one of the most vulnerable groups in the country according to information obtained directly from representatives of the LGBT community of Uzbekistan.

The report focuses on systematic human rights violations against LGBT people in connection with existing discriminatory legislation. The report describes documented cases and reports of violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and also provides information from publicly available materials and official documents.

In Uzbekistan, voluntary sexual intercourse between men is a criminal offense and is punishable by probation from one to three years or by imprisonment of up to three years (Art. 120 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan).

“From 2013-2016, our partners working in Uzbekistan collected information on 100 cases of human rights violations and crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Collecting information about violations of the rights of gay people is difficult, because victims are afraid to report such cases due to the article in the Criminal Code (40 registered cases among gay men, versus 58 cases among women, and 2 among trans people). Gay men and other MSM are most vulnerable to the actions of internal affairs officers”, noted Yuri Yoursky, ECOM Human Rights and Legal Issues Officer.

Due to provisions in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, representatives of the LGBT community are harassed by law enforcement agencies. The report describes documented cases of threats, blackmail, harassment, torture, arrest, and prison sentences, all of which are used against LGBT people in the country.

Currently, at least 76 countries around the world have discriminatory laws that criminalize voluntary same-sex sexual relations, putting millions of people at risk of arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and even death. In the EECA region, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan retain such laws. In at least five countries (Brunei, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen), homosexual relations are punishable by death.

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This alternative report was submitted to the list of questions for the Committee Against Torture. ECOM hopes that the question of abolishing Article 120 will be officially submitted to Uzbekistan before the country is reviewed during the 68th session of the Committee in November 2019.

ECOM helps organizations and initiative groups in the EECA region to engage with UN treaty bodies and to effectively use this tool to advocate for improving the access of gay men, other MSM and trans people to HIV services, and for ensuring the right to health.

In 2018, with the support of ECOM, reports were submitted on Belarus to the Human Rights Committee, and on North Macedonia to the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.