State and politics
The constitution adopted in 1992 gives the president
great powers of power, and in practice the country was ruled
for over 25 years by President Islam Karimov, who was able
to balance the interests of the various financial clans
against each other. The reformed Communist Party, the
People's Democratic Party, dominates political life. Karimov
succeeded, through referendums in 1995 and 2002, to extend
his appointment and extend the terms of office to seven
years. Formally, the legislative power of Parliament,
Oly Majlis, whose legislative assembly with 120 members
is elected every five years while the Senate is appointed by
regional bodies and the president. As a counterbalance to
the environmental movements that tended to criticize
government policy, in 2008 a state environmental party was
set up, which has 15 permanent seats in the Senate.
In the elections, only government-friendly opposition
parties and candidates have been allowed to stand.
Religious-based parties have been banned since 1992. In
1998, Uzbekistan initiated cooperation with the Russian
Federation and Tajikistan with the aim of combating
"religious extremism". See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how UZ can stand for Uzbekistan. The lack of legal opposition parties
has favored the religious movement Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose
supporters in Uzbekistan are estimated to be tens of
thousands. Several thousand people are imprisoned in
Uzbekistan accused of belonging to Hezb ut-Tahrir. However,
it is common for regime critics to be designated as members
of this organization on a standard basis.
As the most populous state in the region, Uzbekistan has
had the ambition to play a leading role in Central Asian
politics. However, the relationship with all the neighbors
has been problematic. The lack of a fully convertible
currency, the elements of a planning economy in agriculture
and barriers to trade make the economic exchange in the
region more difficult. Relations with Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan have been tense because they want to regulate
water flow to prevent floods and extract hydroelectric
power, while Uzbekistan requires the flow to be adapted to
the needs of its own agriculture. The chilly relationship
with Tajikistan also has historical roots.
Uzbekistan has since been independently approaching the
Russian Federation, China and the United States. Uzbekistan
has been a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) since 1991 but has participated in the cooperation to
varying degrees. In 2006, Uzbekistan re-entered the
collective security agreement but left customs cooperation
EurAsEc 2008. Uzbekistan has been a member of NATO's
Partnership for Peace since 1994 and belongs to the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) regional cooperation
organization since 2001.
At the death of President Islam Karimov in August 2016,
the country's then Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev took
over as interim president. He was elected by overwhelming
majority to the president in the elections held in December
the same year.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan
was given the opportunity to independently design its right
and its judicial system. Radical reforms, designed to adapt
the legal system to the needs of the market economy, have
begun, but large parts of the legal system are still based
on Soviet legal heritage. The death penalty was abolished in
2008; the last execution took place in 2005.
Uzbekistan's constitution provides for freedom of
expression and pressure, but in practice the media is
tightly controlled by the regime and the law limits the
ability to express criticism of the president. A special
media commission can shut down media without court decisions
and threats and harassment against journalists are common.
The Reporters Without Borders organization ranks Uzbekistan
as one of the world's ten most repressive countries, placing
the country at 166 out of 180 in the 2015 Freedom of Press
Respect for human rights is low in the country and there
are major restrictions on freedom of assembly and
expression. Over the past decade, a large number of
individual organizations have been forced to either close
down their business or severely restrict it. Uzbekistan
authorities are deliberately hampering the work of
international organizations such as the UN Refugee Agency,
UNHCR, whose Uzbekistan office was forced to close in 2006.
In 2011, Human Rights Watch was also forced to close its
office in the country. The country applies strict laws on
registration of parties, organizations and media. Opposition
parties are not allowed to register and therefore cannot
Since the military massacres of Andizjan protesters in
2005 (see History), no improvement has been made regarding
respect for the right to life, bodily integrity and
prohibition of torture. Arbitrary detention occurs regularly
and activists working for human rights and some Muslims who
are regarded by the authorities as radicals are more often
affected than other groups.
Human Rights Watch regularly reports on torture in
prisons and prisons and a large number of deaths in prisons
have occurred under unclear circumstances. The official
cause of death for interns is often cited as a heart problem
or other illness, even when the intern is clearly subjected
to violence. There are also reports of women being raped in
prisons and prisons. However, the death penalty was
abolished as a criminal penalty on 1 January 2008.
Religious freedom is mandatory but all religious
communities must be registered. Following the terrorist
attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, the
persecution of unregistered Muslim groups has intensified,
as they are considered to be closely linked to terrorism
Gender discrimination is prohibited in the Constitution,
but in practice, not enough is being done to combat or
counter such discrimination. Wife trafficking, which is not
specifically mentioned in the law, is considered a family
affair rather than a crime. The number of women attending
higher education has decreased in recent years, and women
are still under-represented in higher positions in society.
Trafficking in women and girls is a major problem, despite
legislation that explicitly prohibits human trafficking.
Male homosexuality is a crime by law, but prosecution is
Uzbekistan has not acceded to the conventions on the ban
on child labor, nor to the Convention on Freedom of
Association and the Right to Negotiate.