From July 10 to 19, the High-level Political Forum was held in New York, where Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan spoke about how they solve environmental, economic and social barriers. In their reports, the countries did not mention the LGBT community, nor did they do so during the presentation.
However, UN countries and interest groups had the opportunity to ask a question or make a recommendation.
A representative of the civil society of Tajikistan elaborated on the measures the state is taking to reduce discrimination against the most vulnerable groups and recommended expanding the protected characteristics in the anti-discrimination law to include gender and gender identity. The Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan stated that the recommendation was taken into account .
The Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan confirmed that among the environmental, social and economic barriers, the most lagging indicator is “achieving equality”. But he did not react to the statement of the civil society that an authoritarian regime is established in the country and that human rights activists and journalists are being persecuted; gender equality has not been achieved; citizens do not have the opportunity to exercise their rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
It is important to note that homosexuality is criminalized in Turkmenistan and there is no consistent work on HIV .
In Uzbekistan, voluntary sexual relations between adult men are also criminalized. ECOM documents cases of discrimination, disclosure of SOGI and HIV status by medical staff, which is not safe for the community. The civil society representative recommended the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that would protect people regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, social status and HIV status. The Minister of Economy and Finance did not respond to her .
"The World Tourism Organization endangers LGBT tourists in Uzbekistan." What else was discussed at the global-scale meeting in New York?
The purpose of the meeting is to identify the main barriers to achieving sustainable development goals in the areas of ecology, social equality and economy.
The LGBT group had the opportunity to make a statement about the situation in the world. In this statement, it was mentioned that in the EECA countries there was a wave of initiatives to introduce laws on foreign agents, where often the LGBT community was used for political purposes. The statement mentioned discriminatory initiatives in Kyrgyzstan and the criminalization of homosexuality in Uzbekistan.
It is important to note that criticism of the UN structures was voiced from the UN rostrum in the statement of the LGBT group. In 2023, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recognized Samarkand as the tourism capital of the world, while visiting the country may not be safe for LGBT tourists.
We, as ECOM, will continue to participate in international advocacy processes to increase the visibility in the Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia region.