The foregoing information was collected by the ICNL Civic Freedom Monitor partner in Uzbekistan.
On June 13, 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Regulation on Coordination Between NNOs and Public Authorities in the Implementation of International Grant Projects, known as Regulation #328. The Regulation establishes the procedure for coordination between local NNOs and public administration bodies (“national partners”) in the implementation of international grant projects using funds received from foreign governments, international and foreign organizations, citizens of foreign states, or from other persons on their behalf. In brief, the Ministry of Justice appoints a public administration body for NNOs involved in each international grant project so that that the national partner provides practical assistance to an NNO grantee in implementing its grant project and is responsible for developing its implementation plan and monitoring its execution.
Please see the Barriers to Resources section under Legal Analysis, below.
After Uzbekistan became an independent republic in 1991, civil society slowly began to develop. As with other countries of the former Soviet Union the legal framework is based on the civil law tradition, and legislation governing NGOs generally includes statements of support and protection for NGOs. Nonetheless, more than 25 years since independence, civil society does not yet play a vibrant role in the country. The government has tended to view the civic sector with suspicion. Indeed, most foreign and international NGOs which had operated in the country during the 1990s and early 2000s have since been closed and expelled from the country. In 2005, the government mandated a process of re-registration for NGOs, which led to a significant reduction in the number of NGOs in the country. In 2013 a number of organizations were also reportedly subject to “a new wave of inspections” by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the country’s tax authorities. Legislative trends under former President Islam Karimov were generally restrictive.
The country’s first president after the Karimov era, Shavkat Mirziyoev, assumed power in September 2016 and has thus far supported a number of initiatives that the potential to be enabling for the CSO legal environment:
1. On December 26, 2016, Mirziyoev signed the Law on Social Services for the Elderly, Disabled and Other Socially Vulnerable Categories of the Population (the Law on Social Services). The law was developed within the framework of the implementation of the State Program “Year of attention and care for the older generation”. The main purpose of the law is to improve the legal framework for the provision of social services to the needy and to increase the role and responsibility of government, NGOs and business entities in this area.
2. On February 7, 2017, President Mirziyoev issued a decree to approve the Action Strategy on Five Priority Areas of the Country’s Development for 2017-2021 (the “Action Strategy”) (Russian) (Uzbek). In general, the Action Strategy emphasizes improvement to state management and services, comprehensive judicial and legal system reforms, economic liberalization and financial reforms, optimizing and improving social service provision, among other issues. NGOs are specifically mentioned in the Action Strategy, where it notes the “necessity of further development of civil society institutions and improvement of their social and political activism” (Paragraph 1.3 of the Action Strategy). The Action Strategy also refers to NGO engagement with government bodies to assist in “countering crime and the prevention of offenses” (Paragraph 2.4 of the Action Strategy.)
3. On April 12, 2018, President Mirziyoyev signed the new Law on Public Control (effective as of April 13, 2018). The purpose of the law is to establish a legal framework for public oversight over the activities of government bodies and government officials. In accordance with the law, citizens, citizens’ self-government bodies, non-commercial organizations (NNOs), and mass media have the right to exercise oversight over activities of government bodies and officials.
4. In the wake of the Implementing Decree on Measures to Fundamentally Enhance the Role of Civil Society Institutions in the Process of Democratic Renewal of the Country of May 4, 2018, the Ministry of Justice an order on June 1, 2018, that establishes the Regulation on the Procedure for Informing about Planned Activities of Non-governmental Non-commercial Organizations. It replaces the Regulation on Procedure of Coordination of NNOs’ Activities of June 4, 2015. According to a summary posted on Norma.uz, from June 1, 2018:
- NGOs are no longer required to obtain approval from the MoJ in order to conduct events, but still need to notify the MoJ of plans to conduct such events;
- The minimum period for informing the justice body of planned activities is reduced to:
- 10 days before the start of event without the participation of foreign citizens;
- 20 days before the start of event with the participation of foreign citizens; and
- Justice bodies will only provide NGOs with written notice in case of a refusal to conduct the event.
5. On June 27, 2018, the Ministry of Justice issued an order that establishes a new form of annual reporting on the activities of NNOs for submission to the justice bodies. The new form will serve as uniform reporting form for NNOs, their structural divisions, as well as for branches and representative offices of foreign non-profit organizations. By contrast, there were previously three separate forms of reporting for each of the types of organizations listed.
6. On February 13, 2019, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution on Measures of Organization of Activity of the Non-Governmental Non-Commercial Organization – Nationwide Movement “Yuksalish” and its Territorial Subdivisions. The mission of “Yuksalish” is to provide assistance in implementation of planned reforms, including those specified in the State Program on Implementation of the Action Strategy on Five Priority Directions for the Country Development from 2017-2021. And, lastly, several resolutions in 2019 have indicated the Government is making efforts to to simplify NNOs’ access to foreign funding.
7. The new Law on Voluntary Activity came into effect on December 3, 2019. The law’s purpose was defining legal bases for voluntary activity. Previously Uzbek legislation did not include such terms as “volunteer” and “voluntary activity”. The law also further distinguished between forced labor and voluntary activity benefiting public causes, made clear that compensation of certain expenses associated with voluntary work is permitted, and provided volunteers with the right to obtain insurance from an organizer of a voluntary activity. At the same time, the law established new requirements for all participants of voluntary activities. For example, participants of voluntary activities are required to notify the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) about their activities, while the MoJ was given new and extensive powers in the area of voluntary activity.
8. On March 3, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan issued an Order on Additional Measures for State Support of Non-Governmental Non-Commercial Organizations (NNOs) Ensuring the Freedom of Their Activities, Protection of Rights and Legitimate Interests, which introduces a number of changes that could improve the legal environment for NNOs. These include:
- Increasing the total amount of foreign funding NNOs may receive on an annual basis;
- Ordering the Ministry of Justice to work with the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General’s Office to develop a draft law that envisions administrative liability for interference of state bodies and other officials into the legitimate work of NNOs;
- Strengthening the basis for the Law on Social Partnership by requiring the development of state social contracting plans for 2021-2023 that focus on supporting NNOs implementing socially significant projects;
- Eliminating state fees for public associations of people with disabilities, veterans, elderly citizens, women, and children during state registration or re-registration of organizational seals; and
- Expanding the Public Fund for Support of NNOs with the parliamentary commission.
9. Оn March 4, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan issued a decree approving the Concept paper on Development of Civil Society in 2021-2025 (the Concept) and the Road Map on Implementation of the Concept (the Roadmap) (jointly referred to as the “package”). The Concept and the Road Map envision improvements to the legal framework for civil society, partnerships between NNOs and government, and state support for NNOs’ activities, among other issues. The President’s Decree, the Concept, and the Road Map represent the most comprehensive package of civil society support since the start of Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s presidency.
10. On March 30, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan signed new amendments to the Law on Informatization, Criminal Code, and Administrative Code (hereinafter – the Law). The amendments are related to the introduction of a new offense – a public call for non-fulfillment or violation of Uzbek law, posing a threat to public order and public safety, including those carried out using the media, telecommunication networks, the internet, as well as print media. In general, the new Law is not compliant with Article 19 of the ICCPR and could significantly restrict freedom of expression for civil society, journalists, and others by prohibiting broad categories of speech. The Law also adds new obligations for website owners, including bloggers. The obligations are: (a) to constantly monitor their websites and pages for prohibited content; and (b) to take immediate measures to restrict access to prohibited content. If website owners do not comply with these obligations, the Law makes clear that website owners are in violation of the Law and are liable for any damages. The Law also creates a right of redress by individuals who believe their “rights” or “legitimate interests” have been affected to sue website owners for damages. These two obligations, along with exposing website owners to liability while allowing anyone harmed to seek damages in court, are likely to result in censorship of speech in violation of international law. Website owners are ill equipped to undertake proper legal assessment, and therefore are likely to err on the side of caution and simply remove any content that could be deemed prohibited.
11. On April 20, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan signed a new Law on Normative Legal Acts (NLAs). The law provides citizens with the right to adopt NLAs through referenda held according to the Law on Referendum. The Law on NLAs envisions that all draft laws and regulations will pass through a public discussion process, which is initiated by posting a draft NLA on the portal for discussion of draft NLAs prior to submission to the body authorized for adoption of NLAs. Public discussions are required to last no less than 15 days from the date of publication on the portal. Proposals and comments made during the discussion have recommendatory nature and are subject to consideration by the drafter. The drafter is obliged to justify the reason for rejecting any comments or proposals. The results of public discussion of the draft normative legal act (including the results of consideration of the received comments and proposals on the draft normative legal act) are submitted to the Ministry of Justice (for legal examination) and the state body having the right to adopt the NLA (for consideration), simultaneously with the introduction of the draft NLA. Overall, the initiative has the potential to enhance public discussion of legislative initiatives, strengthen citizen participation in lawmaking, and ensure government accountability for making laws and regulations accessible to the public.
12. On June 16, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan issued a Decree on additional measures to ensure the openness of activities of state bodies and organizations and improve implementation of public control. The President approved the “List of Socially Significant Information” to be posted on the Open Data portal and websites as open data by all state authorities and administration, including the Accounts Chamber, the Central Bank, courts and prosecutors, as well as organizations with public participation. The President also approved the roadmap for further increasing the level of openness in the activities of state bodies and organizations. The roadmap includes development of the concept and the new edition of the draft Law on the Openness of the Activities of Public authorities and Administration – both initiatives will be finalized by early 2022; development of a draft law that establishes liability for violating legislation on government officials’ openness; development of measures aiming to improve Uzbekistan’s position on the Open Government Factor (WJP Rule of Law Index); amongst other provisions.
13. On July 28, 2021, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force for Uzbekistan. The Convention was signed by the Republic of Uzbekistan on February 27, 2009 and ratified on June 7, 2021. Accession to the Convention will serve to further improve the national legislation and the system of social protection of persons with disabilities and bring them in line with international norms and standards.
14. On December 21, 2021, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On additional measures to comprehensively support disabled people, promote their employment and further increase of social activity” was adopted. The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations was instructed to:
a) introduce by July 1, 2022 a system for allocating social order funds in the amount of 200 times the base calculated value to non-governmental non-profit organizations involved in increasing social activity and social support for disabled people, at the expense of the State Employment Promotion Fund; and
b) submit by March 1, 2022 a draft government resolution to the Cabinet of Ministers providing for the procedures for placing social orders with non-governmental non-profit organizations involved in increasing social activity and social support for disabled people, as well as the bidding terms and procedures.
15. On September 10, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan issued a Decree on measures to improve the activities of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman). Under the Decree, a new draft Law on the Ombudsman will be finalized by December 1, 2021. The Decree separately indicates a plan to amend the Constitution to provide the Ombudsman with lawmaking initiative. The proposed legislative initiatives aim to empower the Ombudsman to carry out its work unimpeded and implement core human rights monitoring activities.
16. The “Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026” and the “road map” for its implementation was adopted in January 28, 2022. The Development Strategy consists of seven priority areas and is based on the election program of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The objectives of the Strategy directly related to civil society include:
- improving the practice of holding consultations with civil society institutions in the process of lawmaking
- Establishing ‘digital control’ over the time spent and the quality of consideration given to incoming applications;
- Effectively organizing activities of the Civic Chamber and establishing its cooperation with civil society institutions and active its involvement of the population in finding ways to solve problems of concern to the population;
- Increasing the efficiency of social partnerships, including doubling the amount of state support for non-governmental non-profit organizations in the form of subsidies, grants and social orders.
- Increasing y 7-fold in the amount of funds allocated to public funds to support non-governmental non-profit organizations and other civil society institutions under the Kengashes of people’s deputies.
- Developing modern forms of exercising public control and wider involvement of subjects of public control in the process of exercising certain state functions, etc.
17. On June 14, 2022, at the 27th plenary session of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, the Law “On introducing amendments and additions, as well as recognizing certain legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan as invalid” was discussed. The law, among other things, establishes administrative liability for violating the Law on “The Openness of The Activities of Public Authorities and Administration.” Thus, the non-publication or incomplete publication of information included in the List of Socially Significant Information and failure to comply with the terms and procedure for publication or distortion of data result is in the imposition of a fine, including on officials from 3 to 5 BCVs ($83,1- $138,5). For the same offense committed repeatedly within a year after the application of an administrative penalty, the fine is from 5 to 10 BCVs ($138,5 – $277). The law has approved by the senators.
|Organizational Forms||Non-Governmental Non-commercial Organizations (NGOs), which include public associations, public funds, institutions and associations of NGOs|
|Registration Body||Ministry of Justice|
|Approximate Number||According to the online register of NNOs and their branches on the MoJ’s website “Portal of NNOs” (e-ngo.uz) there are 10,046 registered NNOs, including 5,040 branches and representative offices. 254 NNOs have been registered since the beginning of 2022.|
|Barriers to Entry||(1) Mandatory registration; unregistered group activities prohibited;
(2) Detailed documentation requirements, and potentially burdensome registration fee;
(3) Vague grounds for denial of registration;
(4) The registration application, at the discretion of registration bodies, can be sent for “expertise” to other government bodies, which prolongs the registration process beyond the 1 month allowed for by law for consideration of the registration application (there is no clear statement in the regulations that the term for consideration of the application should be not more than one month); and
(5) Excessive time delays in government review of registration applications.
|Barriers to Activities||(1) Burdensome and vague reporting requirements;
(2) NGO obligation to ensure governmental access to all activities;
(3) Advance governmental approval required for particular NGO activities;
(4) Harsh sanctions for violation of law.
Despite some improvements in the NNO legislation, some requirements restricting the activities of NNOs remain unchanged, including notification to the justice authorities about NNOs’ planned events; submission to the justice authorities of an annual report on activities; requirement for NNOs to obtain a confirmation of concurrence to receive foreign aid exceeding $470 per year from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ); and requirement for accreditation of NNO employees who are foreign citizens, as well as their dependent family members.
|Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy||In practice, the Government may act against NGOs that engage in certain kinds of advocacy activity.|
|Barriers to International Contact||(1) Advance governmental approval required for conferences, international participants, etc.;
(2) Limited access to certain websites.
|Barriers to Resources||Limits on foreign funding|
|Barriers to Assembly||Regulations vague or nonexistent; severe punishments and the threat of use of force deter protests.|
|Population||31,104,937 (2022 est.)|
|Type of Government||Presidential republic; highly authoritarian|
|Life Expectancy at Birth||Male: 72.27 years
Female: 78.25 years (2022 est.)
|Literacy Rate||Male: 100%
Female: 100% (2020 est.)
|Religious Groups||Muslim: 88% (mostly Sunnis); Eastern Orthodox: 9%; other: 3%|
|Ethnic Groups||Uzbek 83.8%, Tajik 4.8%, Kazakh 2.5%, Russian 2.3%, Karakalpak 2.2%, Tatar 1.5%, other 4.4% (2020 est.)|
|GDP per capita||$7,000 (2020 est.)|
Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency.
|Ranking Body||Rank||Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
|UN Human Development Index||106 (2020)||1 – 189|
|World Justice Project Rule of Law Index||85 (2021)||1 – 139|
|Transparency International||141 (2021)||1 – 180|
|Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index||88 (2022)||179 – 1|
|Freedom House: Freedom in the World||Status: Not Free (11)
Political Rights: 2
Civil Liberties: 9
|1 – 40
1 – 60
International and Regional Human Rights Agreements
|Key International Agreements||Ratification*||Year|
|International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||Yes||1995|
|Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1)||Yes||1995|
|International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)||Yes||1995|
|Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR)||No||—|
|International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)||Yes||1995|
|Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)||Yes||1995|
|Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women||No||—|
|Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)||Yes||1994|
|International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)||No||—|
|Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)||Yes||2021|
|International Labor Organization’s The Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention||Yes||2016|
|CIS Agreement on joint activity in relation to foreign humanitarian aid||Yes||1993|
* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty
The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan on December 8, 1992.
Relevant constitutional provisions include:
- Article 30.All state bodies, public associations and officials in the Republic of Uzbekistan shall allow any citizen access to documents, resolutions and other materials, relating to their rights and interests.
- Article 32.All citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan shall have the right to participate in the management and administration of public and state affairs, both directly and through representation. They may exercise this right by way of self-government, referendums and democratic formation of state bodies as well as through development and improvement of public control over the activities of state authorities. The procedure for exercising public control over the activity of state bodies is determined by law.
- Article 33.All citizens shall have the right to engage in public life by holding rallies, meetings and demonstrations in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The bodies of authority shall have the right to suspend or ban such undertakings exclusively on the grounds of security.
- Article 34.All citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan shall have the right to form trade unions, political parties and any other public associations, and to participate in mass movements. No one may infringe on the rights, freedoms and dignity of the individuals, constituting the minority opposition in political parties, public associations and mass movements, as well as in representative bodies of authority.
- Article 56.Trade unions, political parties, and scientific societies, as well as women’s, veterans’ and youth leagues, professional associations, mass movements and other organizations registered in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law, shall have the status of public associations in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
- Article 57.The formation and functioning of political parties and public associations aiming to do the following shall be prohibited: changing the existing constitutional system by force: coming out against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of the Republic, as well as the constitutional rights and freedoms of its citizens; advocating war and social, national, racial and religious hostility, and encroaching on the health and morality of the people, as well as of any armed associations and political parties based on the national or religious principles. All secret societies and associations shall be banned.
- Article 58.The state shall safeguard the rights and lawful interests of public associations and provide them with equal legal possibilities for participating in public life. Interference by state bodies and officials in the activity of public associations, as well as interference by public associations in the activity of state bodies and officials is impermissible.
- Article 59.Trade unions shall express and protect the socio-economic rights and interests of the working people. Membership in trade unions is optional.
- Article 60.Political parties shall express the political will of various sections and groups of the population, and through their democratically elected representatives shall participate in the formation of state authority. Political parties shall submit public reports on their financial sources to the Oliy Majlis or their plenipotentiary body in a prescribed manner.
- Article 61.Religious organizations and associations shall be separated from the state and equal before law. The state shall not interfere with the activity of religious associations.
- Article 62.Public associations may be dissolved or banned, or subject to restricted activity solely by the sentence of a court.
National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector
Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:
- Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan 02.05.2007 No. ZRU-96 “On charity”;
- Law “On guarantees of activity of nongovernmental nonprofit organizations” of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. ZRU-76 03.01.2007;
- Law of the RUz No. 763-I 14.04.1999 “On nongovernmental nonprofit organizations”;
- Law of the RUz N 223-XII “On public associations in the Republic of Uzbekistan” 15.02.1991; 
- Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On social funds” No. 527-II 29.08.2003;
- Law of the RUz № ЗРУ-96 On Charity dated May 2, 2007;
- “On measures aimed at enhancing support for non-government non-commercial organizations and other civil society institutions”, Joint Decree of the Kengash of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Kengash of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 03.07.2008 г. N 842-I/513-I;
- Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan 19.01.1998 N 31 “On government support to the development of international scientific technical connections, scientific programs and projects based on the grants from international organizations and funds”. (ICNL online library);
- Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures to increase reporting effectiveness of financial resources of technical assistance, grants and humanitarian aid received from international, foreign governmental and nongovernmental organizations”. 04.02.2004 N. 56;
- The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan 12.03.1993 No.132 “On regulation of registration of charters of public associations in Republic of Uzbekistan”. (English text unavailable);
- Application 1 to the Decree mentioned above the “Rules of processing the applications for charter registration of public associations acting on territory of Republic of Uzbekistan”. (English text unavailable);
- The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan 22.03.1994 No.153 “On regulation of registration of legal entities associations in Republic of Uzbekistan”. (English text unavailable);
- The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan 12.03.1993 No.133 “On regulation of registration of public associations’ symbols in Republic of Uzbekistan”. (English text unavailable);
- The Civil Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 73-78), dated 29.08.1996 N 257-I;
- The Tax Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 25.12.2007 N ZRU-136;
- The Code on administrative responsibility of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 01.04.1995;
- Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 08.12.1992;
- Resolution by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Measures to Support the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society N ПП-1576, 12.07.2011;
- Decree #PP-2085 of December 12, 2013 on Additional Measures to Promote the Development of Civil Society Institutions;
- Decree #205 of July 24, 2014 on Measures of Further Improvement of the Procedures for Organizing and Holding Public Events;
- The Regulation on Procedure on State Registration of Non-Governmental and Non-Commercial Organizations (March 10, 2014);
- The Law on Introduction of Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (April 16, 2014);
- The Law on Openness of Activities of Governmental Bodies (May 5, 2014);
- The Law on Social Partnership (September 25, 2014); and
- The Law on Appeals of Individuals and Legal Entities (December 3, 2014).
- Regulation on Procedure for Termination of Activities of Non-commercial Organizations (January 15, 2015)
- Regulation on the procedure of Work with Appeals of Physical and Legal Persons to State Bodies and to State Institutions (by Order of the MoJ # 2679 dd. March 31, 2015)
- New forms of reports for NCOs (by Order of the MoJ # 2680 dd. June 4, 2015)
- Amendments to the Accreditation Procedure for Foreign Employees of NCOs (by the Order of the MoJ , # 2681 dd. June 4, 2015)
- Regulation on Procedure of Coordination of NNOs’ Activities (adopted on June 4, 2015)
- Amendments to the Law on on NNOs, the Law on Public Foundations, the Law on Bank Secrecy, the Law on Charity, and the Code of Administrative Liability (April 25, 2016)
- Law on Parliamentary Control (adopted on April 11, 2016)
- The Law on State Youth Policy (September 14, 2016)
- The Presidential Decree “On additional measures to ensure rapid development of entrepreneurial activity, protection of a private property and high-quality improvement of a business climate” (October 5, 2016)
- The Presidential Decree “On measures to further reform judicial and legal system, and enhance guarantees for sound protection of rights and freedoms of citizens” (October 21, 2016)
- The Law on Social Services for the Elderly, Disabled and Other Socially Vulnerable Categories of the Population (December 26, 2016)
- The Law on Introduction of Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of Uzbekistan in Connection with the Adoption of Main Directions of Tax and Budget Policy for 2017 (December 27, 2016)
- Decree on Approval of the Concept of Administrative Reform in the Republic of Uzbekistan” (the Concept) (September 8, 2017)
- Law on Distribution and Ensuring Access to Legal Information (September 8, 2017)
- Law on the Introduction of Amendments to the Law on Citizens’ Appeals (September 11, 2017)
- Amendments to the Law on Guarantees of the Activities of NNOs and the Law on Social Partnerships (September 14, 2017)
- Law on Public Control (April 12, 2018)
- Regulation on the Procedure for Informing about Planned Activities of Non-governmental Non-commercial Organizations (by Order of the MoJ #3020 dd. June 1, 2018)
- New form of reporting on NNO activities (by Order of the MoJ # 3027 dd. June 27, 2018)
- Regulations on the Procedure for the Interaction of Justice Bodies with Other Government Bodies, Local Governmental Bodies, and Law Enforcement Agencies to Identify Non-Governmental Non-Commercial Organizations that Violate the Law (by the Government resolution #854 dd. October 23, 2018)
- Resolution on Measures of Organization of Activity of the Non-Governmental Non-Commercial Organization – Nationwide Movement ‘Yuksalish’ and its Territorial Subdivisions (by Government Resolution #124 dd. February 13, 2019)
- Presidential Decree on Establishment of a Public Chamber under the President of Uzbekistan (April 16, 2020)
- The Law “On amendments and additions to some legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan” dated on March 30, 2021
- The Law “On Normative Legal Acts” dated on April 20, 2021
- The Resolution of the President of the RUz “On additional measures for state support of NNOs, ensuring the freedom of their activities, protection of rights and legitimate interests” dated on March 3, 2021
- The Resolution of the President of the RUz No. PP-5072 “On additional measures to ensure the participation of citizens in the budget process” dated on April 13, 2021
- The Concept on Development of Civil Society in 2021-2025, approved by Decree of the President of the RUz, dated on March 4, 2021 together with the Road Map on Implementation of the Concept.
- Presidential Decree on additional measures to ensure the openness of activity of state bodies and organizations, as well as effective implementation of public control dated on June 16, 2021 № УП-6247
- The Resolution of the President of the RUz dated on August 11, 2021 № ПП-5220 ‘On the establishment of public foundation ‘Vatandoshlar’
- The Resolution of the President of the RUz on measures to organize the activities of the public foundation to support children, dated on October 4, 2021 № ПП-5255
- Presidential Decree on measures to improve the activities of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis of the RUz for Human Rights (Ombudsman) dated on September 10, 2021 № УП-6312
Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives
From June 25 to July 5, 2022, public discussion of the draft Constitutional Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Amendments and Additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan” began. The draft Constitutional Law was published in Khalq Souzi and Narodnoe Slovo newspapers and on the Meningkonstitutsiyam.uz (Mening konstitutsiyam) electronic platform. The document provides for the introduction of more than 200 changes to 64 articles of the Constitution. In addition, six new articles are being introduced, with 16 new norms along with them. As of June 29, 2022, 62,336 proposals on the draft constitutional law came from the citizens of Uzbekistan. Here are several draft amendments to the Constitution:
- It is proposed to supplement Article 13 of the Constitution with the following: “Respect, observance, protection of the honor and dignity of a person, his rights and freedoms are the duty of the state. Human rights and freedoms act directly, determine the meaning, content and application of laws, the activities of state bodies, self-government bodies of citizens and their officials. Measures of legal influence on a person must be sufficient to achieve the legitimate goal pursued by the state body, and minimally burdensome for the persons concerned. All irreconcilable contradictions and ambiguities in the legislation arising from relationship between a person and state bodies shall be interpreted in favor of a person. ”
- It is proposed to supplement Article 15 with the second part reading as follows: “The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan has the highest legal force, direct effect and is applied across the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan.” The current version of the Constitution does not provide for the supremacy of the Constitution. It says that “The Republic of Uzbekistan recognizes the unconditional supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The state, its bodies, officials, public associations, citizens shall act in accordance with the Constitution and laws.”
- It is proposed to supplement Article 20 of the Constitution with the following: “The rights and freedoms of a person may be restricted only by law and only to the extent necessary to protect the rights and freedoms of others, as well as to protect public safety and order.” This wording is in line with the allowable restrictions provided for in the ICCPR.
- It is proposed to add the word “organizations” to Article 30 of the Constitution: “State bodies, self-governing bodies of citizens, public associations, organizations and officials are obliged to provide everyone with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with legislative acts as well as documents, decisions and other materials affecting their rights and legitimate interests.” Another suggested add-on: “Everyone has the right to familiarize himself with the data collected about him in state bodies, self-government bodies of citizens, public associations, organizations, and demand that inaccurate data be corrected and data collected illegally or no longer having a legal basis be destrloyed.” Thus, the requirements of the article will apply to all organizations, with no exception, (both commercial and non-commercial). At the same time, it is not clear why “public associations” are singled out, and this term is used on a par with the term “organizations”.
- It is proposed to adopt Article 56 in new wording: “Institutions of civil society, including mahallas, political parties, movements, mass media, trade unions, public funds and other public associations of individuals form the basis of civil society, determine its content. They are meant to protect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, democratic values, to promote the achievement of social and cultural goals, the satisfaction of spiritual and other non-material needs of society.” In its current wording, Article 56 reads as follows: “Article 56. Public associations in the Republic of Uzbekistan are recognized as trade unions, political parties, societies of scientists, women’s organizations, organizations of veterans and youth, creative unions, mass movements and other associations of citizens registered as prescribed by law.” Article 56 proposes to introduce the term “institutions of civil society” instead of “public associations”. In other articles of the Constitution, the term “public associations” is not changed or excluded. Such modifications not only fail to bring clarity to the terminology regarding NVC, but further confuse things. Moreover, the requirement that NGOs protect and promote only the intangible needs of society raises questions.
- It is proposed to supplemented Article 61 with parts two and three reading as follows: “In the Republic of Uzbekistan, the freedom of activity of religious organizations operating in the manner prescribed by law is guaranteed. The state acts as a guarantor of the peaceful coexistence of confessions.
- It is proposed that Article 83 does provide that “citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the right to vote, in the amount of at least one hundred thousand people, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman), the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan have the right to submit, as a legislative initiative, any legislative proposals to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The procedure for the introduction and consideration of bills, legislative proposals is determined by law. Thus, citizens will have the right to make legislative proposals, not bills. The procedure will be laid down in law.
- It is proposed that Article 122 be supplemented with parts three and four reading as follows: “In the Republic of Uzbekistan, the procedure for the formation and performance of the State budget and government debt is carried out on the basis of the principles of openness and publicity. Citizens and institutions of civil society exercise public control over the formation and performance of the State budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The procedure and forms of citizens’ participation in budgeting shall be established by law.
After summarizing the outcomes of the nationwide discussion, the bill will be finalized. Based on its results, the draft Constitutional Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Amendments and Additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan” will be put to a referendum in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Civil Code defines a legal entity to include both commercial and non-commercial organizations and contains a list of permissible legal forms, including, among others, the public association, public fund, institution, legal entities’ associations (societies and unions), and citizens’ self-governance body. Mirroring the language of the Civil Code, the Law on NGOs states that non-governmental, non-profit organizations may be established in the following forms: public association, public fund, institution, and other lawful forms provided by legal acts. The Law on Public Associations is the primary law under which NGOs are established and operate. In addition, NGOs may form associations or unions, with the purpose of coordination of their activities, and in order to represent and advocate common interests. NGOs can be established for protecting the rights and lawful interests of natural persons and legal entities; for achieving social, cultural and educational aims; to satisfy spiritual and other non-material needs; and for realizing other public benefit purposes. Founders of an NGO must detail the organizational purposes in the charter of the NGO.
A public association is a voluntary association of citizens (natural persons only) who have joined together for the realization of their common interests in the areas of politics, economics, social development, science, culture, ecology, and other aspects of life (Article 1, the Law “On public associations” and Article 11, the Law “On NGOs”).
A public fund is recognized as a non-membership organization, founded by natural and/or legal persons on the basis of voluntary property contributions, pursuing charitable, social, cultural, educational, or other public benefit purposes (Article 12, the Law “On NGOs” and Article 3, the Law “On Public funds”).
An institution is recognized as an organization established by natural and/or legal persons in order to realize social, cultural and other functions of non-profit nature (Article 13, the Law “On NGOs”). Notably, the legal form of “institution” is a legacy of the Soviet legal system. There are no existing procedural rules in place to establish and register an institution; in practice, therefore, this form is essentially non-existent.
The association (union) of NGOs is a legal entity whose founding members are legal persons (NGOs). It is not possible to establish an association made up of both natural and legal entities simultaneously. Members of associations (unions) have secondary (vicarious) liability on obligations of the overarching association (union); the degree of liability is based on the charter of the association (union).
A citizens’ self-governance body (more commonly known as “mahalla”) is a traditional form of neighborhood organization. The activities of the “mahalla” are governed by the Law “On self-governance bodies”.
Uzbek law also categorizes NGOs according to the territorial scope of their activity: international NGOs, which can operate not only in Uzbekistan, but in other countries; republican or inter-regional NGOs, which can operate in several regions of Uzbekistan or throughout the country; and local NGOs, which can operate only in one region or in Tashkent city.
Public Benefit Status
Uzbek law provides for a “charitable organization” status, but it is not linked to fiscal benefits. Instead, all registered NNOs are exempt under tax law from certain taxes and financial obligations. Details follow.
(1) A charitable organization is a non-governmental, non-commercial organization established for the purpose of implementing philanthropic activities in the interest of the public at large as well as in the interest of specific categories of legal entities and physical persons (Article 3 of the Law “On charity”). Charitable organizations may be created in the form of a public association, foundation or in any other form stipulated by legislative acts (Article 6 of the Law “On charity”). Significantly, however, there are no tax or fiscal benefits linked to charitable organization status. Article 14 of the Law “On Charity” declares that government can provide support (e.g., discount on rent, if the accommodation or other property is owned by government; transfer government property to charitable organizations, and so on) to charitable organizations. But there is no legal obligation to provide concrete benefits to charitable organizations.
(2) According to Article 58 of the Tax Code, the term non-commercial organization includes all legal entities that do not seek to gain profit as the main purpose of their activities and do not distribute income (profits) among their members. Through registration, NNOs accrue rights as a legal entity and the status of a non-commercial organization. All non-commercial organizations, irrespective of their organizational legal form, are exempt from the following taxes:
- corporate income (profit) tax, except where NNOs carry out commercial activities (Article 318 of the Tax Code);
- corporate property tax (Article 411 of the Tax Code);
- land tax (Article 426 of the Tax Code); and
- tax on use of water resources (Article 442 of the Tax Code).
The foregoing fiscal privileges do not generally apply to income generated through the commercial activity of NNOs. Certain categories of NNOs are exempt from several compulsory payments and taxes, even where the NNO carries out economic activity through a corporate subsidiary. For example, enterprises owned by public associations of disabled persons are exempt from VAT and corporate income (profit) tax (Article 243 and 337 of the Tax Code) if “goods and services of their own production, sold by legal entities, the only participants of which are public associations of persons with disabilities, in the total number of which persons with disabilities account for at least 50 percent, and the salary fund for persons with disabilities is at least 50 percent of the total wages fund.”
The Uzbek Constitution addresses public participation. Specifically, Article 32 provides that “Such participation is realized through self-government, referendums and the democratic formation of state bodies, as well as the development and improvement of public control over the activities of state bodies. The procedure for exercising public control over the activities of state bodies is defined by law.”
The 1991 Referendum Law, as amended in 2001, defines a referendum as a nationwide vote of civilians on issues of public importance. But this law sets onerous criteria by requiring the signatures of at least 5% of all citizens entitled to participate in the referendum, subject to their equal and proportional distribution in each administrative-territorial entity; and restricts collecting signatures online.
The 2014 Law on Social Partnership addresses the mechanisms for government – civil society interaction. Under the Law, CSOs have the right to (1) participate in development initiatives; (2) participate in public discussion and examination of development proposals; (3) submit proposals to state bodies for conducting joint events; and (4) monitor the implementation of development programs.
The 2018 Law on Public Control authorizes monitoring of the activities of state bodies and institutions by citizens, NGOs, public councils, and the media. Monitoring methods include applications and inquiries to state bodies; participation in open collegial meetings of state bodies; public hearings and public monitoring; public expert evaluations; and public opinion research. Information, recommendations, and proposals are then to be considered by state bodies.
The 2021 Law on Regulations provides that all draft laws and regulations will pass through public or professional discussion and sets forth the procedure for holding a public discussion. The law also enshrines the right of citizens, self-governing bodies, NGOs, and the media to monitor the implementation of laws and legal measures, in accordance with the Law on Public Control and other laws.
On March 4, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan issued a decree approving the Concept on Development of Civil Society in 2021-2025 (the Concept) and the Road Map on Implementation of the Concept. The Concept sets conditions for CSOs’ active participation in public governance and envisions increased CSO participation in the implementation of state social projects. It sets a range of targets, such as increasing the percentage of NGO representative membership in public councils (consultative bodies under the auspices of state bodies at national and local levels) to 5% in 2021 and to 25% in 2025.
On April 13, 2021, the Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Additional Measures to Ensure Citizens’ Participation in the Budget Process was adopted. In accordance with this decree, 5% of approved total budget expenditures must be allocated to finance activities based on public opinion starting from May 2021.
In addition, the government has introduced, by presidential decree, the office of a permanent NGO representative in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament). Moreover, interactive citizen services are being developed, such as the ‘virtual parlor’ of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (gov.uz) and the portal for discussions of draft normative legal acts (regulation.gov.uz).
In practice, however, despite the foregoing laws and initiatives, meaningful public participation is still a distant prospect. Government bodies are often unwilling to facilitate public participation. Due to the low level of legal literacy, Uzbek citizens are generally unaware of participation mechanisms and lack confidence in the government and its reforms.
Barriers to Entry
There are multiple legal barriers affecting the formation and registration of NNOs in Uzbekistan.
First, registration is mandatory and unregistered group activities are prohibited. An NNO is established only when officially registered (Article 15 of the Law “On NNOs”). Available sanctions for carrying out activities through an unregistered organization include a fine of 15-30 basic calculated values (BCVs), or $378-$756, according to Article 239 of the Administrative Code. Active participation in unregistered (i.e., illegal) organizations exposes offenders to a fine of 50 BCVs ($1,260-$2,520) or restriction of freedom from two to five years or imprisonment of up to five years (Article 216 of the Criminal Code).
Second, the registration requirements, which vary according to the organizational form, are more demanding than the registration requirements for commercial organizations. Required documentation is quite detailed.
From January 1, 2020, the state fee for state registration has been reduced:
- republican, interregional non-governmental non-profit organizations – from 4 to 3 BCVs;
- regional NNOs – from 2 to 1 BCVs;
- NNOs, whose activities cover the territory of a district (city), settlement, kishlak and aul – from 2 BCVs to 50% of BCVs.
The size of the state fee for state registration of international NNOs in Uzbekistan, representative offices and branches of international and foreign NNOs has not changed – 12.5 BCVs.
No fee is required for registration of branches of local NNOs. Organizations of people with disabilities, veterans, women’s organizations, and youth organizations pay half of the registration fee.
From March 1, 2021, the state fee and registration deadlines were revised as follows:
- NNOs operating on the territory of the region, district, city, village, village and aul became ‘territorial’ NNOs, and the state registration fee for such NNOs is 50 percent of BCVs (namely, the rate of state registration fee for regional NNO was 1 BCVs, and from March 2021 it has become 50% of the BCVs; for other types of NNOs the rate of state registration fee has not changed).
- the period for re-registration of NNOs, as well as state registration of its symbols is reduced from one month to 15 days
- for state registration (re-registration) of symbols of public associations of persons with disabilities, veterans, senior citizens, women, children, the state fee is not charged
- a separate subdivision of an NNO (branches) has become a legal entity.
Third, the registration application, at the discretion of registration bodies, can be sent for “expertise” to relevant organizations. The list of such organizations is not provided, and the exact dates of approval, and the minutes of their meetings / negotiations, if they took place, are never provided to the registering initiative groups.
Fourth, the grounds for denial of registration may invite the exercise of excessive government discretion. Specifically, the law allows for denial where the name or symbols of an NNO encroaches on “morality, national or religious feelings of citizens”.
In September 2011, the UN Human Rights Committee held in the case of Kungurov v. Uzbekistan that the procedure in Uzbekistan for registering the non-governmental organization “Democracy and Rights” violated both the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of association, under Articles 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, respectively.
For more information, please see the statement from Article 19.
Barriers to Operational Activity
NNOs are subject to burdensome reporting requirements. According to Article 33 of the Law on NNOs, NNOs must maintain records of the results of their activities, and must submit reports to the registration authorities (Ministry of Justice and its departments), to the statistical authorities, and to the tax authorities. All NNOs are subject to the same detailed reporting standard; there is no simplified reporting form available for small and medium-sized NNOs. The frequency of reporting varies with the category of report; some are required on a monthly basis, some on a quarterly basis, and others on an annual basis.
In January 2010 NNOs in Tashkent were notified by the MoJ of a new reporting form, which contains 58 questions and should be submitted on a quarterly basis. Now NNOs submit such report annually and the report became more simple than previous ones.
According to Article 8 of the Law on NNOs, NNOs are obliged to provide access to information on the use of organizational property and financial assets. In addition, NNOs must ensure that the MoJ has access to all their activities.
The law requires that NNOs inform the Ministry of Justice for particular activities in advance. This problem is exacerbated by the harsh sanctions available in case of violation of the rule, including specifically events conducted by NNOs (except for political parties) and their representative offices and branches without the consent of the registering body. Event held by NNOs entails fines from 30 to 50 BCVs when access is not granted by the representative body.
Severe sanctions are also available for the failure to submit reports, for the late submission of reports, for the submission of reports in the wrong form, for the submission of knowingly inaccurate information about their activities, as well as for non-submission by NNOs of information, including supporting documents on their use of property and funds. Article 239 of the Administrative Code, applicable to NNOs, provides for a fine on officials from 15 to 30 BCVs.
On April 25, 2016, the government adopted a Law on Introduction of Amendments to Some Legislative Acts, which introduced amendments to the Law on Non-Governmental Non-Commercial Organizations (Law on NNOs), the Law on Public Foundations, the Law on Bank Secrecy, the Law on Charity, and the Code of Administrative Liability. This new legislation represented a significant deterioration in the NNO legal environment because it introduced additional restrictions on activities, such as the requirement to notify the Ministry of Justice about upcoming trips of NNO representatives to foreign countries, and to obtain approval for the receipt of all funds and assets from foreign states, organizations, and citizens. From March 1, 2021, the total amount of funds and property received in one calendar year by non-governmental non-profit organizations from foreign sources, with the notification (for information) of the registering authority, will increase from twenty to one hundred basic calculated values.
Government-organized NNOs (GONNOs) may pose a potential threat to independent civil society in Uzbekistan, but it is not clear if GONNOs have actually had a negative impact on the NNO sector. There have been positive examples of cooperation between GONNOs and NNOs. In 2005, the National Association of NNOs of RUz (NANNOUz in Russian) was established. While clearly controlled by the Government, NANNOUz has done some good things for the NNO sector, by creating informational centers throughout the country for NNOs, and by providing small grants to NNOs. Admittedly, these small grants were awarded to the members of NANNOUz, but nonetheless this marked the first instance of government providing financial support to NNOs from the state budget. The small grants program and budgetary assistance for NNOs is now being extended on an annual basis.
Barriers to Speech / Advocacy
According to Uzbek law as written, there are generally no barriers restricting speech or advocacy activity in Uzbekistan; NGOs and individuals are both free, in theory, to criticize the Government, for example. In practice, however, there are constraints on speech and advocacy. NGOs engaging in human rights activity or government monitoring, for example, may be subject to harassment or even termination. Because these measure are extra-legal (i.e., outside the law), they are unpredictable.
In addition, on March 30, 2021, the President signed new amendments to the Law on Informatization, Criminal Code, and Administrative Code (“the Law”). The amendments are related to the introduction of a new offense related to any public call to not fulfil or violate of Uzbek law, posing a threat to public order and public safety, including those carried out using the media, telecommunication networks, the internet, as well as print media. In general, the Law could significantly restrict freedom of expression for civil society, journalists, and others by prohibiting broad categories of speech, while also adding new obligations for website owners, including bloggers. The obligations for website owners and bloggers are: (a) to constantly monitor their websites and pages for prohibited content; and (b) to take immediate measures to restrict access to prohibited content. If website owners do not comply with these obligations, the Law makes clear that website owners are in violation of the Law and are liable for any damages. The Law also creates a right of redress for by individuals who believe their “rights” or “legitimate interests” have been affected to sue website owners for damages. These obligations, along with exposing website owners to liability while allowing anyone harmed to seek damages in court, are likely to result in censorship of speech in violation of international law. Website owners are ill equipped to undertake proper legal assessment, and therefore are likely to err on the side of caution and simply remove any content that could be deemed prohibited.
NGOs are affirmatively granted the right to participate in legislative activities, and “to exercise lawmaking initiative.” For example, some NGOs make seek engagement with Parliament and/or governmental bodies by preparing analyses of legislation or through conducting a conference to facilitate cross-sectoral dialogue on draft legislation. In practice, however, few NGOs take advantage of this right.
Barriers to International Contact
Starting from June 1, 2018, it is no longer required to obtain the prior approval of the justice authorities to hold an event. However, NNOs must notify the relevant justice body in writing or electronically about an event within the following timeframes:
- when planning an event on the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan without the participation of a foreign citizen – at least 10 days before the day of the event; and
- when planning an event on the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the participation of a foreign citizen or on the territory of a foreign state – at least 20 days before the day of the event. In some cases, as prescribed in the regulations, it is enough to notify three days before an event.
Prior notification for organizing conferences and inviting international participants. The notification procedure is not much different from the former prior approval requirement, since the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) retains the right to request additional information no later than three days before a scheduled event and may decide to prohibit an NNO from holding an event based on the results of analyzing the submitted notification.
Despite the change to a notification procedure, the justice body analyzes information received about event, as well as the compliance of the event with legislation and the goals and objectives determined by the NNO’s charter or regulation. The MoJ has the right to request additional information, and, based on the results of the study, may decide to prohibit an NNO from conducting the event by notifying the NNO at least two days prior to the event.
In addition, all citizens seeking to work abroad must receive permission from the Ministry of Labor.
Access to certain websites is banned for all citizens. Indeed, on August 5, 2011, the Cabinet of Ministries passed a Resolution no.228 “On additional measures on development system of monitoring in sphere of mass communications”. According to this Resolution, an “expert commission” will be created to identify information that is exerting a negative social impact on the citizens of Uzbekistan and the source of that information. The “expert commission” can recommend closing any mass media outlet or prohibit the dissemination of any informational resource in Uzbekistan.
On September 5, 2018, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a resolution aimed at improving information security on the internet. The resolution also approved intergovernmental procedures for restricting access to certain websites and (or) pages of websites.
Barriers to Resources
In 2022, the process of receiving foreign funding became more complicated for NNOs. On June 13, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Regulation on Coordination Between NNOs and Public Authorities in the Implementation of International Grant Projects, known as Regulation #328. The Regulation establishes the procedure for coordination between local NNOs and public administration bodies (“national partners”) in the implementation of international grant projects using funds received from foreign governments, international and foreign organizations, citizens of foreign states, or from other persons on their behalf. In brief, the Ministry of Justice appoints a public administration body for NNOs involved in each international grant project so that that the national partner provides practical assistance to an NNO grantee in implementing its grant project and is responsible for developing its implementation plan and monitoring its execution.
Article 48 of the Tax Code does not specify who can be a grant recipient, so it is unclear whether NNOs can be grant recipients. If NNOs can receive grants, then any property donated to NNOs by entities listed in Article 48 of the Tax Code (“property provided on a gratuitous basis . . . by states, governments of states, and international or foreign governmental or non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Uzbekistan” or “by foreign citizens and stateless persons of the Republic of Uzbekistan”) shall be recognized as funds for an international grant project. They would therefore\fall under the scope of Regulation #328. It is not clear whether the legislation on access to foreign funding remains in force.
While the participation of a national partner in an NNO’s grant project is mandatory, the right of the NNO to refuse such cooperation is not stipulated. Nor does Regulation #328 provide for any coordination and interaction with the granting organization. The donor’s role in the process is not clear. According to Regulation #328, the national partner assigned to the NNO has a wide range of powers, including to:
- develop and approve a roadmap for the implementation of a grant project, which should present all project activities, the timeline and the implementation mechanism, as well as the project implementation territory;
- ensure effective implementation of the grant project and monitoring and evaluation of activities;
- address problems arising during the implementation of the grant project;
- sign memoranda of mutual cooperation with government bodies and organizations within the framework of the grant project, as necessary;
- make proposals for changes and additions to the grant project being implemented, as needed;
- develop recommendations on the establishment and extension of the term of implementation of the grant project; and
- analyze the results of the implementation of the grant project.
Regulation #328 stipulates that the national partner “shall be responsible for providing practical assistance to NNOs in its quality and timely implementation and monitoring of the results of the grant project, as well as for coordinating the work of partner organizations. However, the national partner “shall not interfere in the internal affairs of NNOs.” Regulation #328 does not provide for any independent procedure for resolving disputes between an NNO and its national partner. In addition, the Ministry of Justice can recommend that the national partner use a list of relevant ministries, agencies, and other entities to engage partner organizations. The national partner can also engage its own partner organizations in the implementation of an NNO grant project and will be responsible for the coordination of all partners involved.
The approval process for a grant project worth less than approximately 600 million soms (approximately $54,772) takes up to 18 business days, and up to 25 business days for grant projects above this amount. The approval process involves such bodies as the territorial bodies of justice, the Ministry of Justice, a national partner, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and, if the project amount exceeds this threshold, the Cabinet of Ministers as well.
Separately, the Resolution on Measures of Improving Mechanisms of Attracting Means of External Gratuitous Contributions and on Work with Donors Resolution dated October 14, 2019 primarily enables government agencies to work with international donors and establishes rules for how government agencies may engage with international donors. The Resolution identifies the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade as the government body in charge of attracting and managing use of foreign grants and managing relationships with foreign donors. The Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade will play the determining role in defining programs on attracting assets of external gratuitous support and cooperation with donors. Through the Resolution, government bodies receive the authority to attract grants of $100,000 or more for a single project by including them into the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade’s programs on attracting assets of external gratuitous support and cooperation with donors. It is not very clear yet what this exactly means and the implementation will therefore be revealing, but one possibility is that if a foreign donor gets buy-in from a government agency (for activities within one of the pre-approved programs on attracting assets of external gratuitous support and cooperation with donors), the particular project, if it includes grants to NNOs, might be pre-approved without the need to obtain additional approvals for each individual grant from the MoJ.
The Resolution also makes some structural changes within the Government of Uzbekistan. Relevant changes include abolishment of the Bureau on Coordination to the Commission of the European Union in Uzbekistan under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan and the establishment of the Department on Coordination of External Gratuitous Support within the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade. The impact of this restructuring is not yet clear, however. Lastly, the Resolution also determines a list of priority projects for external gratuitous support for the period 2019-2020.
Barriers to Assembly
Article 33 of the Constitution of Republic of Uzbekistan establishes that “All citizens shall have the right to take part in civic activities by way of participating in rallies, meetings and demonstrations in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Government agencies shall only have the right to suspend or ban such events on the grounds of substantiated security considerations.”
On July 29, 2014, the Cabinet of Ministers passed Decree #205 “On measures of Further Improvement of the Procedures for Organizing and Holding Public Events,” which established the rules for holding “mass events” (Addendum #1 to the Cabinet’s Decree #205 of July 29, 2014). A “mass event” is defined as “the presence of citizens, organized at the venue of a public happening for the purpose of holding social and political programs (i.e. symposia, conferences, congresses, etc.); cultural and entertainment programs and performances (music, literature and other festivals, concerts, theatrical, sports and promotional events, folk festivals, circus and folkloric shows, games, displays and competitions, etc.); and also national religious and professional celebrations, with the attendance of 100 people or more.”
Penalties contained in the “The Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Administrative Responsibility” may deter organizers from planning and conducting public assemblies. For example, fines in the amount of 60-80 BCVs and an administrative detention period of up to 15 days may result from violating the established procedure of organizing or carrying out public gatherings, rallies, marches and demonstrations (Article 201). In addition, any provision of premises or other property (means of communications, copiers or other technologies, equipment or vehicles) or facilitating conditions for carrying out [public gatherings, rallies, marches and demonstrations] may result in the imposition of fines in the amount of 50-100 BCVs on regular citizens, and 70-150 minimum times the monthly wages on government officials (Article 202).
Threats of Use of Force
Since 2005, when hundreds of protesters were killed in confrontations with the Uzbek security forces in Andijon, there have been few public protests due to fear of the authorities’ use of force against them, in addition to other restrictions.
|UN Universal Periodic Review Reports||Uzbekistan (April 24, 2013)|
|Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs||Uzbekistan|
|USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes||Not available|
|Human Rights Watch||World Report 2022: Uzbekistan|
|U.S. State Department||2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices|
|Fragile States Index Reports||2021 Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index|
|IMF Country Reports||Uzbekistan and the IMF|
|International Commission of Jurists||Not available|
|International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library||Uzbekistan|
While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at email@example.com.
President discusses constitutional reform (June 2022) (Russian)
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkata Mirziyoeva met the members of the Constitutional Commission, where he briefly discussed his vision of constitutional reform in Uzbekistan
New article examines NNO code (May 2022) (Russian)
The article called “The Phantom of Constitutional Reforms Haunts the Whole World”, quotes from the speeches of Akmal Saidov, who is the head of the Commission for the constitutional reform, regarding constitutional reform and the need to adopt an NNO code.
Uzbekistan registers a branch of the IREX (April 2021)
On 12 April 2021, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan registered a branch of the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) in the Republic of Uzbekistan, the head office of which is located in the United States. A main goals of the branch is to contribute to building a prosperous and equal society in Uzbekistan, empower the youth of Uzbekistan and educate future leaders, assist in expanding access to quality education and information;
Environmental activism begins to make its mark in Central Asia (March 2021)
Since the death of long-time dictator Islam Karimov in 2017, the Shavkat Mirziyoyev government in Uzbekistan has been keen on opening the country up, and following in the footsteps of Kazakhstan in establishing an image of a state that is autocratic, but at the same time outward-looking and cosmopolitan. Environmental reforms can be a particularly powerful tool for autocratic regimes looking to improve their international standing. Civil society is also finding its voice, raising awareness about the region’s many environmental issues.
Uzbekistan: Public or State Chamber (April 2020)
It is known that Shavkat Mirziyoyev in his address to the Oliy Majlis at the beginning of this year, had put forward a number of proposals for the development of civil society. In particular, in order to strengthen public control and establish closer interaction between the state and society, he proposed creating the Public Chamber of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Based on this, on April 16, 2020, a Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the establishment of a Public Chamber under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan” was issued. The decree defines the main activities of the Public Chamber, as the establishment of a modern form of systemic and effective dialogue, combining the efforts of the state, citizens and civil society institutions aimed at further accelerated and comprehensive development of the country. As well as ensuring the coherence of their social interests, assistance in enhancing the participation of citizens in the affairs of the state and society, as well as in introducing modern mechanisms of public-private partnership.
Uzbekistan Adopts Strict Regulations to Fight COVID-19 (April 2020)
Uzbekistan is among a number of countries to adopt early strict measures to prevent the sharp spread of the virus. On March 27, the movement of people and personal vehicles was restricted to grocery shopping and pharmacy visits. In the first nine days since the rules were introduced, as of April 3, about 2,200 violations of the rules were registered, mostly individuals being outside without face masks. To respond to social media criticisms, and to those who do not welcome the increased police measures, the Ministry of Interior said that patrolling officers have the right to ask the purpose of one’s being in the streets.
Uzbek Lawmakers Legitimize Activities of Volunteers (November 2019)
Deputies of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) of Uzbekistan on November 6, 2019 adopted the Draft Law on Volunteering in three readings. According to the press service of the Lower House of Parliament, the document was submitted to the Senate.
Tashkent hosts the National Forum of Civil Initiatives (July 2019)
Civil Initiatives Forum’s event, “National priorities and prospects for engaging civil society institutions in government and public administration”, was held in Tashkent with representatives of ministries and departments, international organizations, NGOs and civil society institutions. The event was organized to discuss the most pressing issues facing the development of civil society, prepare joint proposals for their resolution, and develop new initiatives aimed at increasing the capacity of non-governmental organizations in state-led reforms to involve civil society institutions in government and public administration.
Burkhanov appointed chairman of “Yuksalish” National Movement (January 2019)
The former director of the “Development Strategy” center Akmal Burkhanov was appointed chairman of “Yuksalish” National Movement. The new movement will be engaged in a voluntary association of citizens, compatriots living abroad, non-governmental non-profit organizations to assist in the implementation of the planned reforms.
Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan and USAID signed a Memorandum of Understanding (June 2018)
On June 8 this year, a ceremony of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the US Agency for International Development USAID in the field of supporting the strengthening of the rule of law in Uzbekistan.
Law on public control enters into force in Uzbekistan (March 2018)
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed the Law “On public control” on April 12, 2018. The law was passed by the Legislative Chamber on November 15 and approved by the Senate on March 29, 2018. The act aims at regulating relations in the field of organization and implementation of public control over the activities of state bodies and institutions.
Concept of tax reform for 2018-2020 published for public discussion (March 2018)
The National Project Management Agency under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan prepared a draft concept on radical reform of the tax system. The document envisages reducing the tax burden, the VAT rate, unification and cancellation of a number of taxes and mandatory payments, as well as measures to improve tax administration.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev orders drafting of new tax code (February 2018)
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on February 13 signed an Organizational Measures to Radically Improve Tax Legislation Decree. The document notes that “the state of affairs in terms of finding additional reserves for increasing the incomes of the central and local budgets, introduction of modern ICTs in the process of tax administration, implementation of the best proven methods of tax legislation and administration” remains unsatisfactory in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan adopts law on social services for population (December 2016)
Uzbekistan elects Shavkat Mirziyoyev as president (December 2016)
Ministry of Justice receives right to check CSOs’ bank accounts (April 2016) (Russian)
Government significantly decreases sizes of administrative penalties for CSOs (April 2016) (Russian)
Uzbekistan Gears Up to Vote for “Rubberstamp” Parliament (December 2014)
HRW Documents Plight Of Political Prisoners (October 2014)
Situation Dire for NGOs in Uzbekistan (August 2013)
Free political prisoners on Constitution Day (December 2012)
EU representative visits Uzbekistan (December 2012)
CIVICUS intervention in the UPR for Uzbekistan (October 2012)
Uzbekistan “not free” according to internet freedom report (October 2012)
Uzbek rights activist Muhitdinov dies (August 2012)
Watchdog urges EU action over human rights (June 2012)
Activist free but crackdown widening (April 2012)
AIDS activist released, but other human rights defenders harassed (September 2011)
Internet censorship in Uzbekistan (August 2011)
Activists harassed after TV broadcast (April 2011)
Uzbekistan can’t muzzle the messenger (April 2011)
Uzbek human rights group facing criminal libel suit (March 2011)
No journalist is immune from slander, defamation charges (February 2011)