OSCE supports establishment of National Preventive Mechanism against Torture in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT (TCA) — The first international roundtable discussion on Uzbekistan’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) against Torture, co-hosted by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan and the Office of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis (Uzbek parliament) for Human Rights (Ombudsman), concluded on June 1 in Tashkent.

The two-day event brought together some 60 high-level government officials, parliamentarians, representatives of national human rights institutions, a member of the UN Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture, as well as local and international legal experts.

Participants discussed existing preventive mechanism models and the wide range of legal and practical aspects related to the establishment of the NPM against Torture in Uzbekistan.

The discussion especially focused on the development of a legislative framework in the light of international standards. Responsible officials from Georgia and Kazakhstan shared the experience of their respective countries in going through the process of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and establishing an NPM. Experts from the UN Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Penal Reform International, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub and Amnesty International were able to provide recommendations on the draft legislation providing the basis of the NPM in Uzbekistan.

“I consider it an important achievement that we gathered here today to discuss the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism against Torture in Uzbekistan,” said Juergen Becker, OSCE Senior Project Officer. “It is noteworthy that this process is being supported by the government of the country and that the goal is reflected in the 2018 State Programme on the Implementation of the 2017-2021 Strategy of Actions to Further Develop Uzbekistan in Five Priority Areas.”

The State Programme, recently adopted by the government, paves the way for the establishment of the NPM in accordance with international standards and good practices. “The OSCE stands ready to continue its support to this process,” said Becker.

Ulugbek Mukhammadiev, the Ombudsperson of Uzbekistan, said: “We are confident that the creation of the NPM will help ensure the rights and freedoms of human beings in line with the universally accepted norms, principles and standards of the United Nations and the OSCE commitments.”

Since 2012 the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan has been supporting the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights in working towards the establishment of a national torture prevention mechanism. This support has included providing training courses for the staff of the Ombudsperson Institution and several partner organizations on NPM models, as well as organizing study visits to the Netherlands, Poland and Austria.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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