INFORMATION DIGEST OF PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN (December 11, 2017)

DECEMBER 8 – THE CONSTITUTION DAY OF UZBEKISTAN

Address by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the Solemn Ceremony Dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan

POLITICS

Agricultural workers – strong pillar of life and our existence

OFFICIALLY

Import and export of cash foreign currency by individuals simplified

Constitution of Uzbekistan 25 years

The Constitution of Uzbekistan is the foundation of the future

Reforms

Financial Instruments

BUSINESS CLIMATE

International business forum FDIUZ dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment to our country was held in Tashkent

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION 

Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan to visit Turkmenistan

First Uzbek-European Silk Forum takes place in Vienna

SOCIETY

Commitment to International Obligations

SPORT

Uzbekistan’s Doston Yokubov has earned a gold medal in the weight category up to 69 kg at the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA

DECEMBER 8 – THE CONSTITUTION DAY OF UZBEKISTAN

Address by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the Solemn Ceremony Dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Assalomu alaykum, dear compatriots!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Allow me to sincerely congratulate you and in your person our entire nation on today’s great holiday – the 25th Anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Twenty-five years is just a moment for history. In this short period our beloved Uzbekistan has formed as an independent and sovereign state, secured its place in the world community, has indeed traversed a great path of development.

It is not for nothing that we attribute all our success on this complex and honorable way primarily to our Constitution.  Since, our Main Law has defined the national independence, the course of national development, and the guarantees of human rights and freedoms, which have been long aspired by our people.

We can say with full confidence that the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan is a high example of political and legal thinking of our nation. It has been a legal guarantee of independent, free, peaceful and tranquil life. It has been serving as a firm foundation in building a law-governed state based on market relations, as well as a strong civil society.

The system of national legislation, the state bodies and the institutes of civil society have formed in our country on the basis of the Constitution.  Currently, the large-scale reforms are underway in all spheres. Our social-economic, political and military potential is increasing and mindset of our citizens is expanding. All of this is, primarily, the result of creational power of our Main Law.

Dear fellow countrymen!

Today, as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our Constitution, with profound respect we recall the names of those people who made an indelible contribution to the creation of our Main Law.

As a result of two years-long diligent work of the Commission established under the leadership of our First President Islam Abdughanievich Karimov in June 1990, the first, the second and the third drafts of the Constitution were developed.

I always proudly recall that as a member of that Commission I also participated in this historical process. I vividly remember the heated discussions, various ideas and deliberations in the course of drafting the Constitution.

Our Main Law was offered for public discussion twice – in September and November, 1992. A broad public, our entire nation actively participated in discussing the drafts and numerous ideas and proposals were put forward with regard to the path of development and future of the country.

As a result of public discussion, around 100 amendments were made in the draft Constitution and on December 8, 1992 at the session of the Oliy Kengash (the Supreme Council) the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was adopted.

All radical reforms and transformations for over the last quarter of a century in our country are being carried out on the basis of the Constitution.  And it speaks for the fact that the Constitution is indeed an important and comprehensively thought-out political document, which meets the interests of our nation, as well as the strategic objectives of our state.

We have all grounds to be proud of this fact.

Along with this, we understand very well that enormous tasks are ahead in terms of full implementation of the provisions of our Main Law.

That is to say that much needs to be carried out to further improve the living standards of our people, ensure human rights and interests in practice. Above all, our people must feel the results of reforms in their lives not in the future, but today.

To this end, while stepping into the new stage of development, along with objective assessment of our potential and capabilities, we have thoroughly analyzed our mistakes and shortcomings.

On this basis we have adopted the Strategy of Action on the five priority areas for the development of the Republic of Uzbekistan. By its essence, this document turned into a “Road map” of systemic reforms in all areas of the life of society.

Within the framework of implementation of the Strategy of Action this year alone we have adopted over 20 laws and more than 700 by-laws.

The large-scale work has been accomplished in 2017, which was declared as the Year of Dialogue with People and Human Interests on the basis of the idea “Human interests are above all”. These works have become yet another enormous step in implementing the basic principles of our Constitution.

Certainly, we can speak about this in detail for a long time. But considering that today’s solemn ceremony is being held in a new form and content, I would like to dwell on only the most important changes.

The outcomes of this year and the issue of naming the forthcoming year will be thoroughly discussed in the Address of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to be presented to the chambers of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic Uzbekistan in a few days.

It is an open secret that a totally new institution – the Virtual Reception Office of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and People’s Reception Offices on the ground were created in the system of state authority. These structures turned into an efficient system for the cooperation of the bodies of state authority and governance of all levels with the citizens and addressing the most urgent problems of the population.

The role and significance of the representative bodies of power elected by the population – the parliament and the councils of people’s deputies in the social and political life of our country has radically changed. Powers of the Oliy Majlis and the political parties have gradually been expanded. The parliamentary and public supervision institutions have been strengthened.

The district level councils of people’s deputies have been established in the capital city of Tashkent. So far, the residents of the capital’s districts did not have such representation.

We have restored justice in this regard and made the relevant amendments in our Constitution. Now the people of Tashkent have the opportunity to participate in the management of districts through their representatives – the deputies.

You are well aware that elections to the district councils of the capital will be held for the first time on December 24 this year. We are confident that those who indeed care about the country and its people, who enjoy respect among the population for their humanly qualities and civil position, will be elected as people’s representatives at the forthcoming elections.

The work on democratization of executive power has been consistently carried out for over the past period.  Tasks and scope of powers of the government have been expanded and the level of its accountability and responsibility before the parliament was strengthened.  It will be indeed true to say that this is a practical reflection of the sublime idea that says that “people are the sole source of state power” which is enshrined in Article 7 of the Constitution.

Along with this, the necessary measures were taken to ensure in practice the constitutional provisions on the right to freedom and personal inviolability and presumption of innocence.

Certainly, full implementation of this rule in practice is primarily intertwined with real independence of courts and their operating in a fair manner.

To this end we are paying a special attention to drastically reform the judicial sphere. In particular, in order to ensure a uniform judicial practice we have combined the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

In order to prevent unlawful interference in the selection and appointment of judges, create an open, transparent and alternative system of selection, the Supreme Council of Judges was established.

We have put in practice the procedure of appointment of judges for an indefinite term. On this basis the guarantees of the independence of judges in protecting the rights of citizens have been strengthened.

As a logical continuation of these reforms, we have put in practice the activity of administrative courts. Now, in case of violation of the rights of our citizens by state bodies, they may go to administrative courts which were established in each district and city.

In order to increase the accountability of courts before people, the candidatures of judges nominated for appointment are considered by public and active members of the makhalla (neighborhood community). The judges are appointed only subject to positive public opinion about their candidature.

Serious attention is paid to strengthening the correctional role of courts, ensuring openness and transparency it their activity, taking the public opinion into account in imposing a sentence. To this end, field hearings have been put in practice. While 373 thousand 256 cases have been considered by court for over the past period of this year, 169 thousand 289 or 45 percent of them were considered at field hearings.

The period of consideration of cases in exercise of supervisory power has been reduced from 3 to 1 year. The guarantees of delivering a final decision by the court of higher instance at the stage of appeals or cassation instances have been consolidated. Thus, the negative practice of red-tape and wandering of citizens among courts has been eliminated.

The procedure of returning criminal cases for additional investigation by courts has been abolished.

This has raised the responsibility of judicial and investigative bodies in terms of unraveling the truth, as well as making justified and fair decisions.

It should be especially noted that for over 10 months of this year the court acquitted 191 persons, whereas previously even one acquittal was an extremely rare event in the activities of courts.

The quality of investigation has improved while the accountability of investigative officers has increased. In particular, for over the past period, the investigative bodies established that no criminal action has been committed in 238 events. In 302 cases the expiration of limitation period and in 370 cases the sincere repentance of defendants was taken into account. In 549 cases the absence of danger to the public and in 1,636 cases the absence of the element of crime was proved. Based on these grounds over 3,5 thousand  criminal cases were dismissed.

In order to ensure the legality and justness of each sentence, the practice of consideration of public opinion has been put in place.

Based on the testimonials of the makhalla councils,  district and municipal councils of the Youth Alliance of Uzbekistan, as well as women’s committees, defendants, especially the youth are imposed the  types of punishments not related to imprisonment. They are given another chance to return to a right path.

In particular, this year alone public testimonials were taken into account in imposing punishment against 173 individuals in total, of which 152 were the testimonials of the assemblies of the makhalla residents, 18 – testimonials of the Youth Alliance and 3 – testimonials of the women’s committees. Thirty-eight of these individuals are youth, 18 are minors, and 11 are women. For example, in Shaykhontokhur district alone, testimonials of the assemblies of the makhalla residents were taken into account in imposing punishment against 15 individuals.

As a result of these works, 63 individuals across the country were released in the courtroom, 11 individuals were acquitted, and 97 individuals were imposed a more lenient punishment.

Distinguished participants of the ceremony, let us think: what is the purpose from prosecuting a person? Isn’t it to try and correct him, returning him to the right path? Isn’t it preventing a crime?

However, it is impossible to correct a person by punishing, by repressive methods alone. For that the whole society needs take action, we must, above all, eliminate from our life the reasons and factors which give rise to criminal circumstances.  We must all contribute together to this work.

At the same time, all of us well understand that much needs to be done to ensure the independence of courts and turn them into the real defender of human interests.

The results of an open dialogue that we maintain with the people vividly demonstrate one truth: the circumstances, which put obstacles in the way of ensuring lawfulness and objectiveness during collection and assessment of evidence, have not been completely eliminated from judicial and investigative practice.

To this end, last week the Presidential Decree “On the additional measures to strengthen citizens’ rights and freedoms in judicial and investigative activity” was adopted.

In accordance with this Decree, from now on, torture, psychological, physical pressure, as well other types of cruel violent treatment will not be tolerated in Uzbekistan at all.

Any person who committed such criminal acts, whoever he is, will certainly be brought to account.

It is strictly prohibited to use any unlawfully obtained information, including audio and video materials, as well as material evidence in the framework of criminal cases. It is prohibited to torture, infringe the right to protection, deceive and use other unlawful method during investigation.

A separate criminal liability will be imposed for forging of evidence.

From now on, the lawyers will be entitled to collect and submit evidence on the criminal case. This evidence is subject to compulsory verification and assessment by investigative and judicial bodies.

In order to strictly restrict such unlawful method as torture pretrial and temporary detention facilities will be equipped with video surveillance systems.

Most importantly, no report on the use of unlawful methods must remain overlooked. The bodies of the prosecutor’s office shall conduct a thorough examination on each case and shall ensure inevitable liability of all culprits.

It is not for nothing that we are paying particular attention to reforming judicial and legal sphere.

It is because ensuring human rights, which is enshrined in our Constitution, is directly intertwined with a practical result of these reforms.

The main attention in this process was attached to creating broad opportunities for our citizens to enjoy their rights. The Law “On the appeals of physical and legal persons” was adopted in a new edition. Thus, the procedure for people’s appealing by convenient means of communication – helpline and hotline numbers, as well as videoconference communication has been put in practice.  In order to ensure the right of our citizens to appeal to the bodies of state authority and people’s representatives, which is enshrined in the Constitution, the procedure has been approved for accepting appeals at public meetings. At present, not people come to the officials, but officials come to the people. This is a big change.

This year, the heads of judicial, law enforcement and controlling bodies, as well as the managers of commercial banks held on-site receipt of visitors in many regions of the country. These meetings which discussed the problems of fighting and preventing corruption were attended by 43 thousand 127 citizens.

At these meetings the citizens put forward 22 thousand 186 appeals related to the allocation of credits, decisions of law enforcement and judicial bodies, employment and payment of wages, entrepreneurship, supply of electricity and  natural gas, healthcare and others.

Out all appeals, 6 thousand 484 were resolved at once, 15 thousand 702 appeals were forwarded to the relevant agencies for consideration and internal investigation was ordered on 94 cases and the culprits were brought to account.

In this regard, yet another important document – the new Law “On dissemination and use of legal information” was adopted. The Law has further expanded the possibilities for studying the documents and materials related the rights and interests of citizens.

From now on, it is guaranteed that our citizens shall receive legal information from state authorities, other organizations, and officials without any restrictions.

Improvement of the system of national human rights institutions was in the focus of our attention. In order to practically implement the Constitutional provisions which go as “Each person is entitled to be a proprietor” and “Private property shall be inviolable and under protection of the state as other types of property”, the new institution – the Representative for protection of the rights and lawful interests of the entities of entrepreneurship at the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan was established.

In addition, the activities of the Representative of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for human rights were improved. Powers of the Representative in terms of oversight in penal facilities were expanded.

Granting another chance to those who committed crime through ignorance or those who sincerely repent their actions, returning them to society, to their family is among important social issues. Since, they are also the citizens of Uzbekistan, the children of this county.

On the eve of today’s historical date, I, as President, using my constitutional authority have signed a Decree on granting pardon to 2 thousand 700 individuals sentenced by courts.

Such decree was adopted in the history of Uzbekistan for the first time.

All of us are well aware that so far the amnesty acts used to be adopted in our country on annual basis. The main essence of the amnesty is that it initially defines the category of crimes and only then the individuals are established who fall under this category of crimes.

Certainly, amnesty is an important mechanism in terms of granting pardon to the people who committed a crime. However, the analyses show that granting amnesty without prior and thorough examination resulted in facts when the amnesty was granted to those who did not repent their actions or those who did not fully compensate the caused damage. This in turn prevented such persons from deeply feeling the punishment, led to the formation of a delusive mood as if they could get away with everything.

The worst is that in granting the amnesty the opinion of the victim or public was ignored which caused justified objection of citizens.

Therefore, unfortunately, there were the cases when the individuals, who have been freed on amnesty, used to commit a crime again.

Taking these circumstances into account, the special commission members talked to each convicted person on an individual basis. They have conversed to people of his makhalla and learned about the opinions of the victims. Along this process, the special commission members have also taken into account the graveness of committed crime and to what extent the court sentencing was fair. As a result of an in-depth analysis and scrutiny, the concrete convicts were identified, who have sincerely repented of their deeds known to have been committed knowingly or unknowingly, and strongly decided not to commit them again. It was those who have been granted amnesty.

I believe that each and every person, who was granted a presidential pardon, will justify a high trust laid on him, will make a commendable contribution to large-scale reforms being carried out in our country and will find its niche in our society.

In this regard, I think it is appropriate to draw your attention to another important issue.

It is an open secret that there was the so-called “system” of selection of cadres for employment with state bodies which remained from the old regime. It was about not to hire citizens for jobs or not to appoint them to higher posts, whose close relatives were known to have been convicted by court. Due to such an unacceptable approach, many of our youth and skilled specialists were found “guilty without guilt” and suffered only of what their relatives have done.

Please, tell me: is it fair? Why an entire generation (kith and kin) must be held accountable for one crime? Why the children must be held accountable for their father’s deeds or little brother must be held responsible for his elder brother?

From now on we will entirely abandon such an unjust “system” – which corresponds neither democratic norms nor modern requirements of life.

Dear compatriots!

In order to strictly follow the provision on banning the forced labor stipulated in the Article 37 of our Constitution, a number of measures were taken during the year.

In particular, a solid parliamentary and public supervision was established. A Parliamentary commission was set up to provide for the labor rights of citizens. The working groups consisting of deputies and senators are traveling to all regions of our country and implementing the parliamentary supervision over not allowing the child and forced labor.

All of you saw and heard this year that we have strictly banned engaging the staff members of state budget-sponsored organizations and students in cotton harvesting practices.

During the cotton picking season the International Labor Organization has led a systemic monitoring over not allowing for child and forces labor practices.

Thank to the fact that it was firstly ourselves who introduced a strict control that not a single negative case was observed. The international organizations and let alone the broad public are recognizing the effectiveness of implemented measures.

Our activities aimed at ensuring human rights are entirely consonant with Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations Organization. This was admitted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed, who visited Uzbekistan for the first time in our history.

It should be noted that basic principles of the Universal Human Rights Declaration were reflected in our Constitution. In 2018 the 70th anniversary of this declaration will be broadly celebrated worldwide. We will also adopt a Special State Program to comprehensively propagate the essence and substance of the declaration which stands as the first universal international document on human rights.

As an outcome of such practical activities we are initiating to conduct the Asian International Forum for Human Rights in November 2018 in the city of Samarkand.

All of you are well aware that the interior bodies take on a very important role in ensuring human rights and freedoms. From this point of view, for over the past time their activities were also radically reformed. We have defined the criterion of their work as serving the people’s interests.

The new programs and objectives are being realized to prevent crimes. In particular, the information and communication technologies are being actively introduced to the sphere. More than 114 thousand video surveillance tools were installed at residential areas, streets, supermarkets and communal service areas. Nearly 10 thousand crimes were revealed using these technologies.

During 2017 the number of crimes decreased by 14 percent against the year 2016 and accomplishment of the aforesaid was very important in achieving this.

If we briefly describe our goal in this sphere, in the future we should create the system of interior bodies which will win the trust and love of our people and will become a truly people’s interior bodies.

Certainly, as a result of implementation of the “Safe city” project, the efficiency of our work in this direction will rise.

Along with this, we clearly comprehend that this work is just a beginning of a big path and this is just an initial stage. We will channel all our strength and capacities to provide for the following principle in our society: “The law and justice are priority, crime shall surely be punished”.

It should be especially emphasized that we have established an integral system of combating corruption – an accomplishment, which stands among other commendable measures in this direction. The adoption of the Law “On combating corruption” has allowed to unite the efforts and capabilities of both state apparatus and institutes of civil society in fighting against this evil.

The essence of activities of law enforcement bodies has completely changed. The entirely new system of prophylaxis of law infringements and combating crimes was established. It became an important task not only to frighten with punishment and dealing with consequences of violation of law, but rather timely averting the infringement of law.

It is well-known that our Main Law has the following provision: “State shall reflect the will of people and shall serve their interests”. With an aim to provide for this norm in practice, we have adopted the Concept of administrative reforms.

According to the Concept, we have identified 6 priority directions of radically reforming the system of state governance and in line with the “Road map”, the activities of over 100 bodies of executive power are being reviewed.

The major goal of implementing the administrative reforms is to create the compact and professional system of executive bodies which serve our people and the system based on modern management.

In this regard, I wish all of us clearly understand the following idea.

The effectiveness of reforms being carried out now in our country, first of all, directly depends on increasing the number of young cadres with high spirituality and independent thought capable to take on a responsibility for the fate and progress of our Homeland.

Another important document was adopted in this purpose: the Decree “On raising efficiency of state policy for youth and supporting the activity of Uzbekistan’s Union of Youth”.

As we speak about this, it should be noted that more than 60 percent of Uzbekistan’s population make up the youth under the age of 30. You are well aware of the extent of our enormous work we have been accomplishing in terms of creating all necessary conditions for the youth – starting from their healthy birth to ensuring solid growth.

Along with this, it is an open secret that the system of preschool education – the most important link in the upbringing of our children – lags behind the modern requirements. We should openly speak that many problems were accumulated due to weakening of our attention to this sphere some time ago.

I believe that there is no need to prove to anyone that a child, who goes through preschool, will have a high conscious and solid worldview.

Taking all these circumstances into consideration, in September this year we have established the Ministry of Preschool Education. Proceeding from priority directions defined as a part of administrative reforms, a number of important tasks were laid on this Ministry.

According to the program adopted in this regard, in the forthcoming 2-3 years in each region of our country – whether they are big cities or remote villages, we need to build thousands of kindergartens.

We should supply them with modern equipment, provide with qualified kindergartners and specialists, as well as new curricula.

Imagine for yourselves what new and broad opportunities will open up for mothers, our elder and little sisters living in the rural area if their children will go to a kindergarten. A child will grow up in kindergarten in a healthy atmosphere and ready to attend the school.

Our respected women will be comforted in their hearts for their children and will find a proper time to engage in social work and housekeeping activities. Besides, they will find a bit of additional comfort to have a rest and think about how to better their health.

Therefore, it is both a must and duty for us to implement such profound reforms in the sphere of preschool education. No matter how difficult it is going to be, we must carry out this historical task and certainly we will accomplish it together.

Dear friends!

It is well-known that the Article 53 of our Constitution provides for the following provision: “State shall act as a guarantor of inviolability and protection of economic activity, freedom of entrepreneurship and private ownership”. As a practical proof of this norm, this year we have opened up a path for free convertibility of our national currency – Uzbek soum (currency rates of CB RU from 11.12.2017, 1$= 8096.33 soums).

The customs duties were reduced 2 times. The unscheduled and arbitrary inspections of activities of businesses were abolished.

In order to create decent living standards for our people, first of all, we need to build a strong economy, ensure the competitiveness of our country in the international arena.

Today, ruthless competition around the world is becoming more acute. In such a difficult situation, we must work without wasteful introduction of modern achievements of science and innovation. At this point, this issue is becoming a decisive factor in improving the welfare of the people, the sustainable development of the state and all spheres of society, the formation of a bright future for our country.

The recently adopted Decree “On the Establishment of the Ministry of Innovative Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan” is of great importance, since it is aimed at achieving these goals.

Dear fellow countrymen!

In order to ensure social rights of our citizens laid down in the Constitution 24 thousand residential buildings in the rural areas and 187 modern multi-storey houses in cities were built on the basis new model projects.

In order to provide the population with centralized water supply, 218 projects were implemented. The water supply was improved for 350 thousand people. In 2017 on the basis of rural medical posts, about 800 family polyclinics and more than 400 emergency bureaus were formed. The ambulance services were provided by 1260 special vehicles. More than 300 preschool educational institutions were overhauled.

The priority of our state and our society was aimed at ensuring the level of social justice, creating decent living conditions for people with disabilities and needy individuals.

This year, people with disabilities were paid about 2 trillion 600 million soums of pensions and benefits.

The agreements were signed to allocate affordable housing for more than 1200 disabled citizens more than 22 billion soums have been allocated for initial payments.

972 women with disabilities were provided with sewing machines for domestic work and a source of permanent income was created for them.

More than 7000 prosthetic and orthopedic devices, over 6500 wheelchairs and about 1600 hearing aids were provided free of charge to citizens of this category.

For disabled people and those of retirement age, about 23500 vouchers were allocated for free medical treatment in healthcare facilities.

There are many more of such examples.

But we still have a lot to accomplish in terms of supporting socially vulnerable layers of population, providing them with qualified medical and social assistance, vocational training and employment.

Therefore, a commission was set up to prepare proposals for radically improving the system of state support for disabled people, and in this area, in-depth studies were carried out.

Based on the opinions and suggestions of members of public, the Decree “On Measures for the Basic Improvement of the System of State Support for the Disabled” was adopted.

According to the decree, from March 1, 2018, it is prohibited to purchase urban passenger vehicles not adapted for people with disabilities.

Since 2018-2019 academic year an order of allocation of additional 2 per cent quota for persons of this category will be established during admission of students in higher educational institutions.

In addition, a fixed tax rate of 50% of the minimum monthly wage will be applied from next year for persons with disabilities of the 1st and 2nd groups engaged in individual entrepreneurship.

Another important document in this area is that the Law “On the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” will be adopted.

To address the above issues, the Foundation for the Support of People with Disabilities, set up under the Ministry of Health, must function effectively. In addition, a special structure should be strengthened for the social security of single elderly people and other vulnerable groups.

I believe that our society and all our people will actively participate in the realization of such noble works.

Dear participants of the ceremony!

I think we all understand that the country has enormous and important tasks to deepen democratic reforms.

In this regard, any reform should be carried out in accordance with constitutional principles and regulations, rule of law should be the main criteria.

Our goal is to ensure the people’s power not only in words, but in practice. This is the main requirement of today’s complicated era. It is to repeat – our people are waiting for positive changes in their lives today.

Therefore, we have to commence our endeavor in accordance with the slogan “A great future starts today” and use all our strengths and capabilities to ensure the well-being of our people.

While speaking about it, I would like to draw your attention to the following priorities:

First, the constitutional principle of the priority of human rights and freedoms must be guaranteed absolutely in the daily activities of state bodies.

The principle “It is the state bodies that should serve the people, not the people should serve the state bodies” should become a key rule for the leadership at each level.

It is essential for officials to visit regions and live with the needs and problems of the people and deal with them not by falsified manner, but in practice.

It is known that as a first step towards entering the nation and establishing dialogue with the people we have set up the Peoples’ Reception Offices in each district and city. They became a unified system of tackling many problems of our people. Nearly 1.5 million addresses were considered in one year.

Today our population’s confidence in Peoples’ Reception Offices is growing. The role of these structures in raising public officials’ responsibilities is becoming more and more perceptible.

All of us understand that by the growth of the life standard of our people and solution of many problems the addresses to the People’s Reception Offices will be reduced. In this regard, we will redirect the capabilities of these bureaus to the public services sphere.

To this end the issue of effective organization of the services rendered by the “One Stop Shop Centers” affiliated to the Ministry of Justice through the “People’s Reception Offices” is being considered. In this regard, it is envisaged to entrust dealing with these issues to the Service for the Protection of Human Rights, Supervision and Coordination of Work with Applications of Individuals and Legal Entities at the President Office.

It would be a good idea to establish a new structure as a part of this unit and call it Quick State Services Agency.

It is well-known that almost every day we address various state agencies.

For example, it takes a whole day standing in the queue for getting a simple certificate in the notary, archives or cadastral office, gas, electricity, water supply agency or makhalla.

This is how much time and nerves people spend on things that seem to be insignificant at first sight. But this all can be solved at one place, in an urgent and centralized order.

There are offices in all cities and districts of the country, for example, in the remote Chimbay or Kurgan-Tepa district. They are designed to serve the people. But, unfortunately, in most cases, it is right to say that they are cut off from the people.

In fact, in the 21st century – Internet and information communications era – it is possible to do all these things on the computer sitting in the house.

Such a system is already in place in all developed countries. Do we have the opportunity to introduce this system in our country? Yes, of course. But we have become accustomed to looking at this issue as a minor matter.

Whereas, everything that concerns life and interests of the people cannot and should not be a small issue.

To eliminate this situation we now create the task on absolutely new basis. Now organizations and structures of public service go directly to regions, makhallas and serve the population.

The People’s Reception Offices in provinces, cities and districts will coordinate and control the activity in this direction.

Once we set up such a system, I think, it would be comfortable for our nation and people will agree with us.

In this regard, the Cabinet of Ministers together with the relevant ministries and agencies will be tasked to submit within 15 days a draft of Presidential Decree on this issue.

Second, we all need to grasp the essence of the constitutional principle of the people’s power.

For this purpose, it is necessary to broadly implement the practice of people representatives’ report of various executive authorities before parliament and local councils. We need further development of mechanisms of parliamentary, representative and public supervision.

Every government official should never forget that he is responsible before the nation.

Along with this, transparency in public administration is an indispensable factor in the implementation of the principle of public administration. We must create all opportunities for the people to be objective and know what government institutions and their elected officials are doing.

Third, the implementation of constitutional norms regarding the health of our population, which is our greatest wealth, should become the most important priority of state policy.

In this regard, it is our primary objective to improve the system of qualified medical care, increase the efficiency of disease prevention, patronage and screening services, and provide the population with affordable and high-quality medicines. We also must work hard to promote a healthy lifestyle and medical culture in the communities.

Fourth, our work should focus on the most important constitutional procedure – the principle of social justice.

Social justice is to ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, regardless of their political position, gender, nationality, language and religion. These are equality of opportunities in education, medicine and other fields. These are freedom of guaranteed work, equal opportunities in carrier growth. And the most important is the care for the elderly and needy citizens.

Our main task in ensuring the principle of social justice in society is the adoption of fair laws.

In short, if law is fair, if it protects human rights in practice, then people are respected and they obey law.

Fifth, ensuring the constitutional rights of citizens to freedom of thought, expression and belief is a prerequisite for building a developed democratic state and a strong civil society.

We must ensure the current potential of our citizens who are ready to participate directly and actively in the political and public life of the country during democratic reforms.

In this respect, the rapid development of a multiparty system, competition among parties, ideas and programs is extremely important.

The mass media should become the most important and effective tool of transferring the needs of population to local authorities, the closest supporter of the people and protector of democracy.

The critical and objective assessment of the activities of the government and management authorities, shortcomings in various areas and bold definition of current issues should become the most important criterion of their activity.

Sixth, one of our crucial tasks is to gradually implement the principle of mutual responsibility, rights and duties among citizens, state and society.

This principle is a constitutional basis in addressing the problems facing our country that ensures effective interaction between the state and individual, the state and civil society.

We are all responsible citizens, for the sake of society and the state, for the sake of our Motherland, for the sake of strengthening peace and stability in our country, preserving, enriching our historical, spiritual and cultural heritage.

We need to further intensify our efforts to maintain an atmosphere of friendship and harmony, maintain and strengthen mutual respect between representatives of various nationalities living in our country.

Seventh, the freedom of entrepreneurship and the inviolability of private property will remain a priority in public policy.

Without exaggeration, we can say that the consistent implementation of this constitutional provision determines the essence and meaning of our work on the accelerated development of a socially-oriented market economy.

We will continue the policy of further liberalization of economy and providing for wider access for entrepreneurs.

As a head of state, my constant attention and control will be a matter of full support and removal of obstacles in this sphere.

Again, I would like to emphasize that an obstacle to entrepreneurship is a betrayal of state policy.

Eighth, we must ensure the implementation of the constitutional provision that the Republic of Uzbekistan guarantees the legal protection of its citizens both on its territory and abroad.

Unfortunately, up to now the issue of protecting the rights of citizens working abroad has not been properly taken into account.

Taking into consideration this fact, it is necessary to note that the attitude towards the citizens studying abroad on a legal basis is changing dramatically.

The Government of Uzbekistan will further protect the rights and interests of its citizens wherever they may be.

We have taken the initial steps towards implementing these tasks. Agreements on labor migration with Russia have been reached. Special delegations from Uzbekistan are holding meetings with our compatriots abroad.

Together with local authorities the necessary measures were taken to improve their living and working conditions and ensure their rights.

The necessary measures are being created to render consular and other services to our compatriots abroad, ensure them unhindered travel to our country and making contribution to the progress of Uzbekistan. In the future we will expand such activities.

Here is another important issue – unconditional provision for the norms of the Constitution and rule of law, as well as lawfulness stands as a significant guarantor of protecting human rights and freedoms. We must comprehend this notion clearer.

From this point of view, to firmly follow the Constitution and requirements of law must turn into a main criterion of our spiritual consciousness and culture.

Dear compatriots!

At present, we are implementing the large-scale reforms along the path of placing our dear Motherland among the ranks of advanced democratic states.

I am confident that state bodies, broad public and all our citizens will make their commendable contribution in achieving these noble goals.

As the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and guarantor of observing Constitution, I deem it is not only my task, but firstly it is my sacred duty to ensure the rule of law in our society, protect the rights and freedoms of each and every citizen.

There is no doubt, the years and centuries will pass, but our Constitution, which is a supreme example of political and legal consciousness of our people, will serve as a law for life and solid foundation in the course of addressing the life’s acute problems.

I once again congratulate you, my dear fellow countrymen, on the landmark date of our Constitution and wish all of you a sound health, peace in your families and enjoyment with happiness of your children and grandchildren.

Let Almighty Creator save our Homeland from various evils! Let Almighty Creator always help us in our noble deeds!

Thank you for your attention.

POLITICS

Agricultural workers – strong pillar of life and our existence

On December 9, a solemn event on the occasion of the Day of Agricultural Workers was held at the Palace of International Forums “Uzbekiston”.

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev delivered a speech at the meeting.

More than 157 thousand representatives of the industry participated at the event through a videoconference.

The Head of our state sincerely congratulated all people of Uzbekistan on the Day of Agricultural Workers that is being celebrated in our country for the first time.

Experienced dehkans and farmers, water workers and machine operators, irrigators and agronomists, scientists of the sphere, gathered in this majestic palace, personify representatives of the most honorable professions in the world, said the President of our country. We are well aware of how complicated and laborious this work is and how sweet its fruits are.

Speaking about the dehkan, we imagine boundless fields and gardens, various gifts of nature on the table, weddings and holidays, joyful days, our whole life. Therefore, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the worker of the village is a strong pillar of life, a strong pillar of our existence, emphasized Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The great thinker Alisher Navoi also highly appreciated the work of dehkans. He said that the satisfying life and contentment of people are the result of work of selfless people, sowing fields and creating vital benefits.

In our country professional holidays of representatives of various spheres are celebrated, but there was no separate holiday in honor of those who feed and clothe all of us – agricultural workers. Therefore, the adoption of a special law establishing the Day of Agricultural Workers has become another fair decision, corresponding to wishes of our people, noted the Head of our state.

Today, an actual task is to analyze the results of reforms that are being implemented in the agrarian sector and to determine the most important measures for the next year.

As it was noted, more than 160 thousand farms have been formed in our country, which today are carrying out effective activities in more than ten areas as a result of development of the farmer movement in recent years. The number of multisectoral farms increased by 45 percent and reached 75 thousand over the past two years. This allowed creating hundreds of thousands of new workplaces in remote villages.

In the current year, 8 million 377 thousand tons of grain, more than 2 million 930 thousand tons of cotton, 12 thousand 450 tons of cocoons, 318 thousand tons of rice, 23 million tons of fruits and vegetables, and 13 million tons of meat and dairy products were produced in our country.

Cultivation of saffron was established in our country for the first time, soybean cultivation was expanded.

132 thousand tons of agricultural products were processed, finished goods for 100 million dollars were exported. Over 724 thousand tons of fresh fruit for the amount of 865 million dollars were sold abroad.

Within the framework of agricultural development programs, a number of farms have been established for fish farming, beekeeping, poultry farming, and the cultivation of large and small cattle. A new horse breeding complex was organized in Kashkadarya region in order to breed horses of Karabair breed and develop equestrian sport. Such complexes are being created in Tashkent region and other regions of our country.

“Uzbekbaliksanoat” (Uzbekistan fishing industry) association was organized for restoring the fish industry. 3 600 fish farms were united in it. This year, over 100 thousand tons of fish were harvested on natural reservoirs with an area of 580 thousand hectares and artificial reservoirs of 28 thousand hectares.

Association of Beekeepers of Uzbekistan was formed for the development of another important direction – beekeeping – more than 14 thousand entrepreneurs engaged in production of honey became its members.

In our region, limited in water resources, it is very difficult to engage in agriculture, to obtain a high and qualitative harvest. Therefore, support is provided to farms and organizations that initiate the introduction of water-saving technologies, they are granted additional benefits and preferences. As a result, such technologies are now introduced in almost 240 thousand hectares, including drip irrigation technology – on 28 thousand hectares of land.

But these achievements are not an occasion for complacency, said the President of our country. There are still unoccupied opportunities in the sphere of agriculture, problems and shortcomings waiting for their solution.

One of the most important tasks is the efficient use of land. The area of irrigated crop lands of our country is only 3 million 300 thousand hectares and there is no possibility to expand it.

Another problem is deterioration of irrigation facilities, the failure of networks, which makes it difficult to irrigate 830 thousand hectares of land.

Providing the population with qualitative meat, milk, eggs, and fish products in sufficient quantities is among the main tasks. As the Head of our state noted, it is necessary to organize additional capacities for growing pedigree livestock, increasing the number of poultry farms in order to achieve this goal.

It was noted that it is necessary to expand the cultivation of fruit and vegetable products, provide qualitative delivery to the population, further intensifying the work on processing and export. Today only 15 percent of cultivated fruits and vegetables are processed in our country, and only 8 percent are exported. These figures do not correspond to the potential of Uzbekistan.

445 thousand hectares of the most fertile land are transferred to the population as household plots. But the use of these sites is at a low level. It is necessary to create compact greenhouses for the cultivation of citrus fruits on the household plots of the population, to arrange the harvesting of walnut, jujube seedlings and other crops.

The issue of improving the state of agricultural machinery remains actual. Of the 146 thousand 295 units of agricultural machinery in our country, 38% are completely obsolete. The districts specialized in production of fruits and vegetables are provided with machinery for processing orchards and vineyards, planting, growing and harvesting vegetables by only 34 percent. This leads to a decrease in productivity.

One of the serious problems is the backwardness of science, oriented to the development of agriculture, from the requirements of the present. In this regard, the President of our country noted the need for a sharp increase in the role and participation of scientific research institutes under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources in development of agrarian science and breeding, development and introduction of advanced agricultural technologies, creation and placement of varieties of crops appropriate to the soil and climatic conditions of each region.

The material and technical base available in these scientific institutions today does not allow conducting modern research. There is a shortage of personnel in the sphere, who have thoroughly mastered modern scientific achievements. The need for veterinarians is especially high in livestock, poultry and fish breeding industries.

Considering all this, the Head of our state proposed to organize the Institute of Veterinary Medicine for forming a scientific approach to the sphere and organize training of qualified personnel.

The sphere of processing skins requires serious attention. The need to intensify the work on collection, deep processing of skins was noted, of which more than 12 million pieces are harvested in our country annually, as well as production of high-quality, competitive products.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to organize a Scientific Center of Poultry Breeding in order to develop this branch in our country on scientifically based methods.

According to estimates, it is necessary to harvest an average of 50 thousand tons of qualitative potato seeds per year in order to fully meet the requirements for potatoes. The Head of our state noted that for this it is necessary to organize a domestic seed center and special enterprises equipped with modern laboratory equipment in cooperation with Netherlands, Poland, Russia and other countries.

It is necessary to pay special attention to increasing the incomes of farms based on effective use of their lands. It is estimated that if to plant vegetable and melon crops on the perimeter of the existing 2 million 625 thousand hectares of land with a length of 385 thousand kilometers, it will allow to grow an additional 415 thousand tons of products. Today, each farm can contain one cow, a total of 14 thousand head of cattle, an additional 50 birds and a total of 1 million 57 thousand birds can be grown in 21 thousand 125 farms, it is possible to get 7 thousand 200 tons of honey in 66 thousand farms due to organization of 329 thousand hives.

Another issue that requires a serious approach is the provision of light industry enterprises with high-quality fiber. In 2018, it is planned to completely process 1 million 200 thousand tons of cotton fiber and to arrange the export of finished products from it.

The Head of our state noted that it is necessary to increase the responsibility of managers of all levels, especially 4 sectors in the districts, for increasing efficiency in agriculture. All leaders – be the minister, the khokim of the region or the district – should work, taking the initiative, and be sure to achieve results in everything related to agriculture and ensuring food security.

The President of our country Shavkat Mirziyoyev solemnly presented the high awards of the Motherland to a group of our compatriots, which they were awarded on the eve of the Day of Agricultural Workers for the great achievements in the agrarian sector, a significant contribution to the development of the country’s agriculture and establishment of a unique school in the sphere.

The participants of the solemn event noted that they have sufficient forces and capabilities, knowledge and experience for implementation of plans and programs outlined by the Head of our state and will work selflessly for the prosperity of the country and the welfare of people.

A concert program of Uzbekistan masters of arts was held.

(Source: UzA)

OFFICIALLY

Import and export of cash foreign currency by individuals simplified

According to the decree, starting January 1, 2018, the available mandatory declaration for the amount equal or not exceeding the equivalent of $2,000 is set to be abolished.

The new presidential decree facilitates the import and export of cash foreign currency by physical persons through the customs border of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

According to the decree, starting January 1, 2018, the available mandatory declaration for the amount equal or not exceeding the equivalent of $2,000 is set to be abolished.

The export of cash foreign currency by physical persons outside the Republic of Uzbekistan is carried out without any permits in the amount equal or not exceeding the equivalent of $5,000.

The export of excess payment is carried out:

By residents – on the basis of the authorization of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan;

By non – residents – on the basis of passenger customs declaration filled out upon entry into the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The import of cash foreign currency by physical persons in the Republic of Uzbekistan is carried out without restrictions.

(Source: UzReport.uz)

Constitution of Uzbekistan 25 years

The Constitution of Uzbekistan is the foundation of the future

The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted on 8 December 1992, the Basic Law of the country, which declared complete rejection of the command-administrative, distributive, totalitarian system and determined the most important principles, goals, tasks and norms of a new state and society, plays a huge role in our life.

Uzbekistan, which, as part of the Soviet Union was one of the most backward republics with a low economic potential and standard of living, a raw material appendage that mainly supplied cotton, within a historically short period turned into a modern state with a steadily developing multi-structure economy, and it is an objective reality that prompts admiration of many leading international analysts and experts.

Our Constitution is the legal and legislative basis for building an independent, sovereign democratic state, establishing the priority of private property in a multi-structure market economy and ensuring its protection, as well as the formation of a civil society in the country where human interests, rights and freedoms become the highest value.

The Constitution and the legislation created on its basis, the amendments introduced into it in 2011 and 2014 formed the basis of a deeply thought out long-term program for reforming, democratizing and liberalizing our society, radical structural transformations and modernization of the country recognized in the world as the Uzbek Model for development, which, without any exaggeration, was a powerful foundation for the formation of a modern, dynamically and steadily developing state.

For twenty-five years now, the Basic Law has been a solid foundation for building a democratic state with a rule of law, a strong civil society, developing an economy based on free market relations and the priority of private property, and finding Uzbekistan a worthy place in the international community. All achievements for the years of independence are the result of strict compliance with the Constitution and the documents adopted on its basis.

The strategy of actions in five priority areas of development was, in fact, an important program for implementing the provisions of the Constitution. In the Year of Dialogue with the People and of Human Interests, the interaction of state bodies with the population has radically changed; new forms of communication with people are being introduced. In practice, the system of accountability of officials is firmly established, thereby strengthening the constitutional principle that state power is exercised in the interests of the people. The main postulate proclaimed the idea “It is not that the people should serve government agencies, but state bodies should serve the people”.

Since the beginning of this year, in accordance with the Strategy of Actions, cardinal reforms in the judicial and legal sphere have been implemented aimed at ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution and laws. A unified supreme judicial body, specialized courts have been created: in criminal, civil, as well as economic and administrative cases, which ensures the accessibility of justice for every person. The liberalization of criminal legislation continues. A large-scale work has been launched to combat crime and prevent crime.

Only until the end of 2017 is planned the implementation of 649 investment projects. New mechanisms for the protection of private property and the rights of entrepreneurs have been introduced. In particular, on the initiative of the head of state, the Institute of Business Ombudsman was established. New enterprises, free economic zones are being created. In agriculture, the optimization of crop areas continues, aimed at ensuring food security in the country.

The Basic Law stipulates that in our country the highest value is a person. Therefore, one of the most important priorities of the Strategy of Actions is the radical improvement of the social sphere. Successive measures are being taken to provide citizens with work, affordable housing. Modernization of housing and public utility services, social infrastructure. The system of social protection of the population and public health is being improved. In rural areas, large-scale construction of residential areas and roads is under way, reconstruction of existing ones. It improves the heat and water supply of the population. Cardinal changes take place in the education system.

From the grand rostrum of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev stated about the desire of our country to fully ensure the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the individual, the intention to become an important and significant part of the international community, that our country remains committed to a peaceful foreign policy based on mutually beneficial cooperation and friendship. The provision of the Basic Law remains unshakable that in our country everyone has the same rights and freedoms and is equal before the law, regardless of nationality, language, religion, convictions. The implementation of the Constitution over the years of independence has become an important factor in preserving interethnic, interfaith harmony and civil peace in our country. It is the basis of our whole life, the main guideline for further reforms.

For example, one of the most important constitutional rights of citizens of our country is the right to apply. At the international legal level, it correlates with the provisions of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which clearly demonstrates Uzbekistan’s focus on the establishment of a democratic rule of law.

The right to appeal, being inalienable for every citizen, plays an important role in the system of mechanisms for the implementation of direct democracy. It is not only a means of ensuring and protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms, but also a peculiar means of public control over the activities of state governance institutions and various spheres of public life.

Work with citizens’ appeals in Uzbekistan received a new meaning and content with the start of the course aimed at organizing a direct dialogue with the population, ensuring the functioning of a qualitatively new and effective system of work with the appeals of individuals and legal entities. Developing effective experience of Virtual Reception (today the number of applicants is approaching the figure of 1.5 million), the head of state in December 2016, by his decree, forms a new institution of the system of interaction of state bodies with citizens – the People’s Reception rooms of the President. He became an effective mechanism in the implementation of the unconditional implementation of the constitutional rights of citizens to appeal to the President, the Parliament, the presidential apparatus, the government, state administration bodies, judicial, law enforcement and supervisory bodies, local authorities and economic management.

A significant trend in the practice of ensuring the constitutional right of citizens to treatment in Uzbekistan was the active use of modern information and communication technologies in this activity. Already now, when appealing to the bodies of state power and administration, local hokimiyats citizens have the opportunity to do this remotely, in electronic form. In this case, electronic documents, documents in video and audio format can be sent as materials for consideration. The “Virtual reception of citizens” service is open on all sites of state bodies, including bodies of representative and judicial power.

The practice of visiting people at their place of residence by deputies of various levels, as well as by officials of state power and government bodies, has become widespread. During such meetings, a frank dialogue with the population is conducted, their pressing problems are clarified and resolved.

It is very important that over the past time the society has realized that the effective system of working with citizens’ appeals, created at the initiative of the head of state, is determined by global and systemic priorities. The main criterion for evaluating the performance of an official is now not the abstract statistical indicators, but how effective he reacts to the problems raised in citizens’ appeals.

The fundamentals of the statehood of each country, political, socio-economic life, its development, first of all, is regulated by laws. In this sense, the role of the Constitution in the colossal transformations in the country is incomparable.

A few days ago in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, at the initiative of the faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, a “round table” was organized on the theme “The Constitution is the basis for building a legal democratic state and a free civil society”.

The purpose of the event is to educate the youth in the spirit of patriotism, to respect the laws, to further activate the activity of the party’s assets and members of the deputy associations in achieving the rule of law, to make a worthy contribution to further enhancing the legal culture of citizens by actively promoting the essence and significance of the Constitution on the ground with the participation of the general public events and meetings.

The head of state in his speech at the solemn meeting dedicated to the 24th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, especially noted that over the past period, based on the principles and rules enshrined in the Constitution, a national legislative system has been formed in our country. This system served to enhance the socio-economic, political and military potential of our country, the foundation of effective reforms implemented in all spheres of our life.

At the present time, the reforms carried out by the head of the country are primarily based on human rights and freedoms, and legitimate interests. For this reason, the results of ongoing reforms on the path of human interests today also receive recognition on an international scale.

Speakers also drew attention to the history of the adoption of the Basic Law. It was noted that, paying attention to the complex and important, at the same time, honorary stage of the constitution of Uzbekistan is the result of the people’s research on the way to the independence of the country.

Also at the event it was stressed that the head of state this year was declared the Year of Dialogue with the People and of Human Interests, as a result of which an effective system of citizens’ dialogue with government bodies and departments was established, which also became a unique example of the priority principle “human interests above everything else”.

Further, the essence and meaning of the Presidential Decree “On Measures for the Basic Improvement of the State Support System for Persons with Disabilities” was informed. In particular, it was noted about the envisaged measures for providing conditions for disabled people, obtaining their education and providing employment, medical and social rehabilitation, production of prosthetic and orthopedic products and technical rehabilitation facilities. It was argued that the reforms in this direction fully correspond to the interests of the entire population.

Besides, the deputies noted that the report of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the video-conference with the representatives of the chambers of the Oliy Majlis, political parties and the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, the work carried out in the framework of ensuring their implementation, attests to raising the level of efficiency of activities on the path of human interests to a new level.

The participants of the roundtable discussion received answers to the questions they were interested in, as well as were informed of the innovations in the legislation. The event was organized in a discussion format, resulting in interesting suggestions, opinions and recommendations on the above issues.

Tashkent has recently hosted an international scientific-practical conference “The role and importance of the Constitution in the construction of a democratic rule of law”. It was devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of the country.

The forum was organized in accordance with the Decree of the President of our country “On measures to prepare and hold the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan” of June 20, 2017 by the Constitutional Court of the Republic, the chambers of the Oliy Majlis, the Ministry of Justice, the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Project Coordinator OSCE in our country.

Members of our country’s parliament, representatives of judicial and law enforcement agencies, ministries and departments, scientific institutions and civil society institutions, leaders and specialists of constitutional courts and bodies of constitutional control of such countries as the Republic of Korea, Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, as well as international experts.

At the international conference, it was about revealing the role and significance of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which is a unique example of the political thinking of our people, in solving the tasks set and thereby strengthening the country’s independence, and studying the experience of constitutionalism in developed democracies.

Chairman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis N. Yuldoshev, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic B. Mirboboyev, OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan J. MacGregor and others noted that Uzbekistan’s achievements in the years of independence, great achievements and high levels, accelerated development rates testify to the vitality and potential of our Constitution the country, the thoroughness of the principles and norms embodied in it.

Speakers and participants noted that in the years of independent development, our Basic Law has become a solid foundation for building a legal democratic state, a strong civil society, an economy based on free market relations and the priority of private property, creating a peaceful and prosperous life for our people, obtaining Uzbekistan a worthy place in the international arena.

The consistent reform of all spheres in accordance with the Strategy of Actions on the five priority development directions of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, the establishment of a system of dialogue with the people, the activities of the Virtual and People’s Reception Centers of the President of Uzbekistan serve to further broaden the implementation of the principles of the Basic Law, in article 2 of the rule that the state expresses the will of the people and serves its interests.

Conducted in accordance with the Constitution, reforms in the areas of improving state and public construction, ensuring the rule of law and further reforming the judicial and legal system, developing and liberalizing the economy, developing the social sphere, ensuring security, religious tolerance and interethnic accord, implementing a balanced, mutually beneficial and constructive external politicians contribute to building a legal democratic state and a strong civil society in Uzbekistan.

As foreign experts noted, the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in full accordance with the requirements of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other major international documents, reliably guarantees human rights and freedoms, and creates the necessary conditions for its spiritual growth and comprehensive harmonious development. Reforms in the judicial and legal sphere implemented in our country play an important role in raising this work to a new level.

According to Zukhtu Arslan, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey, in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests, a profound meaning is embodied. The Basic Law of Uzbekistan was adopted in accordance with the best international experience in the field of human rights, as well as successes in the history of Uzbek national statehood, in particular, Amir Temur’s slogan “Strength – in Justice”. This is the main factor in raising the process of building a democratic rule of law to a higher level, ensuring the principles of social justice and legality in society.

– In Uzbekistan, work worthy of attention is being carried out to protect democratic values ​​and to introduce them into the way of life of citizens, says Arif Khidoyat, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia. – The current international conference provided an opportunity to share experience with representatives of constitutional refereeing bodies in strengthening effective protection of human rights and freedoms and ensuring constitutional justice, since the Constitutional Courts occupy a special place in the process of modernizing the legal system.

The creation of a single Supreme Court in our country, a new body of the judicial community – the Supreme Judicial Council, aroused particular interest among foreign experts. In their opinion, all this will significantly strengthen the guarantees of judicial protection of the rights of individuals and legal entities, entrepreneurs.

The adoption of the law “On the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan” contributes to the further strengthening of the role of constitutional justice in ensuring reliable protection, strengthening the guarantees of the rights and freedoms of citizens, and the establishment of the rule of law in society.

– The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan have established consistent cooperation. The state visit of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on November 22-24 of this year in our country marked the beginning of a new stage in the development of relations and in the judicial and legal sphere, said acting President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea Yi-Su Kim. – At the conference, we thoroughly examined the ongoing reforms to improve constitutional refereeing in Uzbekistan. In particular, giving the Constitutional Court the authority to annually submit to the Chambers of the Oliy Majlis and the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan information on the state of constitutional legality in the country, will contribute to the further improvement of the organizational and legal mechanisms for ensuring the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution.

The conference heard reports on the observance of the principles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the implementation of the norms of international law and the best practices of developed countries in the construction of a rule-of-law state and civil society, and advanced international experience in modernizing the state and society on the basis of constitutional provisions.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

REFORMS

Financial Instruments

As part of the implementation of the Strategy of Actions, the experts of the Institute for Forecasting and Macroeconomic Studies, ministries and agencies of our country, with the participation of experts from the Korea Stock Exchange, the United Nations Development Program and the International Finance Corporation, have developed a Concept for the Development of the Financial Market of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the medium and long term, including measures to develop leasing market.

An important role in achieving high growth rates and ensuring the competitiveness of our country’s economy is played by the development of such a component of the financial market as leasing.

The market of leasing services has a huge potential for further expansion, which means that competition on it is intensified and one can expect in the long term to improve the quality of the services provided, as well as to enter new directions.

Economic reforms oriented to the development of the real sector of the economy open wide opportunities for the further development of leasing services in Uzbekistan. Thanks to these reforms, today our country is developing steadily and in recent years has undergone great changes, especially in legal terms.

The main reformer of the domestic leasing market is the state, which creates conditions for its effective development. It is important to understand that leasing is one of the most effective ways of technical re-equipment and modernization of fixed assets and rational allocation of resources.

The conditions favorable for business created in the country together with the process of liberalization of the foreign exchange market form the preconditions for further growth of leasing. Moreover, at this stage, the most promising is the provision to the lessors of Uzbekistan of external financing for the implementation of leasing activities.

These operations in Uzbekistan originate from the leasing of passenger aircraft. Since 1993, the “Uzbekiston Havo Yullari” National Air Company has begun to update the fleet of passenger airliners by aircraft of the world’s leading manufacturers.

Until September 1, 2002, banks carried out financial leasing operations with practically zero profitability, and leasing companies sought state support either in the form of individual benefits and tax breaks, or in the form of contributions to their authorized capital or preferential loans. This was due to tax incentives for medium-term and long-term lending in the country, which were not applied to leasing operations.

The situation changed greatly with the introduction in 2002 of changes in the legislation on leasing, in particular, in the Civil Code, the Tax Code, Laws “On Leasing” and “On Customs Tariff”. The integrated amendments to leasing legislation eliminate barriers to the dynamic development of leasing in Uzbekistan and create a progressive legal basis for the development of this sector in the region.

Today in Uzbekistan there is an annual increase in the volume of leasing operations in the structure of GDP. In addition, the number of participants – banks and leasing companies engaged in leasing operations – is constantly growing in the leasing market. So, for today in our country there are 126 organizations providing leasing services, including 24 commercial banks. Last year, the share of leasing amounted to 0.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

The total portfolio of leasing operations in the first half of this year amounted to 2.5 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 11.12.2017, 1$= 8096.33 soums). The lessors concluded 4674 leasing transactions for more than 710 billion soums, and their number increased by 65.1% compared to the same period last year.

As in previous years, the trend of distribution of the leasing market among lessors in the half-year of 2017 has remained; about 63% of the market belongs to leasing companies.

The main trend in the development of the domestic leasing market is currently the significant demand for mini-technologies for small businesses and private entrepreneurship, modernization, technical and technological re-equipment of the leading industries.

In general, the expansion of leasing opportunities allows entrepreneurs to update their technical base more quickly. So, to make more competitive products, to increase with the help of new equipment the profitability and efficiency of the enterprise.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

BUSINESS CLIMATE

International business forum FDIUZ dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment to our country was held in Tashkent

The event, organized by the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Investments jointly with the international organizations RB Partners (Russia) and Globalscope (Great Britain), was devoted to studying international experience in attracting foreign investments, discussing projects aimed at development of inter-sector cooperation between representatives of business community and increasing investment attractiveness of Uzbekistan.

The event noted that within the framework of the Strategy of actions for 2017-2021, large-scale reforms aimed at stimulating the attraction of foreign investments are being carried out in our country. It was emphasized that the targeted investment of financial and other resources of investors, their rational use and the widespread introduction of advanced technologies are important in development of the national economy and support for its integration into the world economy.

The event was attended by specialists from ministries and departments, leading foreign and domestic experts in the field of investment, economy and law, representatives of scientific research and analytical centers, state and public organizations. Exchange of views took place on such important issues as effective means and opportunities for attracting investors to our country, priority areas for liberalization of the economy for the future.

The reports of the heads of international financial association “Globalscope International M&A Association”, international companies “Strategy Partners Group”, “RB Partners Group & Globalscope”, “Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector”, dedicated to issues of stimulating investment in state enterprises, mechanisms of state-private partnership, development of a strategic approach to attracting investors, were heard.

-The Strategy of Action, which determined the prospects of Uzbekistan for the next five years, covers all spheres of reforming the life of the state and society, – says Alexander Idrisov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Strategy Partners Group. – Its successful implementation is directly related to the effective use of available opportunities and investments. Today’s forum provided an opportunity to analyze the current state of development of investment programs in your country, long-term plans for the development of industries and regions.

The measures implemented in our country to improve the business climate, to develop the legal framework of the sphere at the level of world standards win recognition of international organizations. Thus, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 rating, Uzbekistan has risen by 13 positions and entered the top ten world leaders in terms of improving the business climate.

Participants of the forum emphasized that activities on informing foreign investors and international financial institutions on favorable investment climate created in Uzbekistan, modernization, technical and technological re-equipment of enterprises has acquired a dynamic pace.

Baker McKenzie, the second largest law firm in the world in terms of revenues, renders services of the international level on uniting services of companies, conducting contracts of purchase and sale, tax administration in business. The representative of this company Max Gutbrod made a presentation on the best practices in such areas as transferring of business for external management, restructuring the company, increasing the solvency of the enterprise.

During the event, issues related to supporting small and private entrepreneurship, the role of foreign investment in implementation of projects for the development of social infrastructure, improving the business environment, the process of liberalization of the economy were discussed.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan to visit Turkmenistan

A delegation of Uzbekistan headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulaziz Kamilov will visit Ashgabat (Turkmenistan).

Abdulaziz Kamilov will take part in the international conferences “Neutral Policy and Preventive Diplomacy in International Relations: The Experience of Turkmenistan and Its Importance” and “The UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia: 10 years of cooperation with Central Asia for peace and prosperity of the region” on 11 December 2017.

On the same day, a meeting of foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries and Afghanistan will take place in the capital of Turkmenistan.

(Source: UzDaily.com)

First Uzbek-European Silk Forum takes place in Vienna

First Uzbek-European Silk Forum was held in Vienna (Austria) on 6 December 2017.

Association “Uzbekipaksanoat” (Uzbek Silk Industry) and the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Austria organized the event.

Over 300 representatives of leading European companies specializing in the silk industry, equipment manufacturing, heads of textile associations, chambers of commerce and industry, investment agencies of several countries of the European Union, financial institutions and international organizations such as UNIDO, FAO and the OPEC Development Fund attended the event.

Silk producers from Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia, Turkey and other countries came to participate in the forum.

Within the framework of the forum, Bukhara Brilliant Silk and Surkhon ipagi, leading silk producers of Uzbekistan, presented their products.

In addition, designers from Uzbekistan have organized a fashion show of traditional and modern silk clothes.

The participants were provided with detailed information on the social and economic reforms in Uzbekistan, including liberalization of financial sector, introduction of tax incentives and preferences, favorable investment climate in the country, widespread support for development of new industrial areas, including the silk industry.

The initiatives of the country’s leadership on developing export potential and entering new markets, primarily in Europe, were especially noted.

Chairman of the Association “Uzbekipaksanoat” Bahrom Sharipov stressed that thanks to the initiatives of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Uzbek silk industry received a tremendous impetus for integrated development based on the creation of a single full-fledged organizational and technological chain.

In general, today our country is the third largest silk producer in the world after China and India.

The expansion of the forage base, creation of complexes for the cultivation of silkworm cocoons in the immediate vicinity of mulberry plantations, import of high-yielding mulberry plants, which yield twice as much harvest, will increase the volume of cocoon harvesting by 35,000 tons. Also, output will be increased, including silk yarn and finished silk products with high added value.

It is planned that the volume of processing of silkworm cocoons will be increased to 50% by 2021 with the creation of new jobs and an increase in the inflow of foreign exchange through the export of products.

The President of the Italian Silk Association Stefano Vitali said that he was impressed with the pace of development of the silk industry of Uzbekistan. Today, the Association “Uzbekipaksanoat” and Italian companies, specializing in production of silk products, have agreed on deepening cooperation. To this end, the Italian side will soon visit Uzbekistan.

The President of the Association of the National Fashion League of Hungary, Gabriella Manyi-Valek, expressed her confidence that due to the high quality and active advertising campaign of the Association “Uzbekipaksanoat” in Europe, the share of Uzbek silk in the market of this continent will grow rapidly. For closer interaction, the Fashion League plans to sign a memorandum with this structure on expanding cooperation on the promotion of Uzbek silk in Hungary.

Executive Director of the Austrian Textile Federation Eva Maria Strasser believes that Uzbekistan and Austria have a huge untapped potential for exchanging experience, therefore Austrian companies are interested in various formats of cooperation, including transfer of modern technological solutions and production of modern clothing from Uzbek silk.

The holding of the forum allowed European companies and international organizations to raise their awareness of the silk produced in Uzbekistan, its high quality and the available real opportunities to establish the first direct supplies of Uzbek silk to Europe.

According to the results of the forum, agreements were reached to study the export of silk products of Uzbekistan to European countries, in particular Austria (silk fabric), Italy (silk yarn), Hungary and Slovakia (finished silk products).

In addition, the Uzbekipaksanoat together with FAO, UNIDO and the OPEC Development Fund will begin work on creation of a special platform for development of the export potential of the silk industry in the region – the Central Asian-European Silk Association with headquarters in Tashkent.

(Source: UzDaily.com)

SOCIETY

Commitment to International Obligations

In Tashkent, an international roundtable held devoted to cooperation with the International Labor Organization and the World Bank in labor policy. The event was organized by the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan jointly with the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the ILO.

Members of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, officials of ministries and other government agencies, NGOs, international organizations and diplomatic representations of foreign countries accredited in Uzbekistan, as well as delegations of the ILO, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation took part in the event.

All participants of the round table were unanimous that the year 2017 in Uzbekistan was marked by the beginning of radical reforms of all aspects of life, including the labor policy. It was noted that the announcement of the current year by the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests is of great importance.

As noted by the speakers, in Uzbekistan the main attention is paid to ensuring constitutional labor rights and workers’ guarantees through the implementation of international norms and standards in national legislation. In accordance with the Constitution, everyone has the right to work, free choice of work, fair working conditions and protection against unemployment with the procedure stipulated in the Law. Issues of improving the labor sphere were further developed in the Strategy of Actions along five priority development directions of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021.

This document, in particular, provides for raising real monetary incomes and purchasing power of the population, further reducing the number of low-income families and the level of differentiation of the population by income, consistent increase in wages of employees of budgetary institutions, pensions, scholarships and social benefits in sizes outpacing rates of inflation, creating new jobs and ensuring rational employment of the population, especially graduates of secondary special and higher educational institutions, balancing and development of infrastructure of labor market and other measures in this direction.

The Decree of the President “On measures to further improve the state policy in the field of employment and radically improve the efficiency of labor agencies” signed May 24 this year has become a powerful impetus in the further improvement of jobs to ensure employment of the population, the introduction of advanced information technologies in employment processes, to ensuring control and supervision compliance with the requirements of legislation in the field of labor protection and employment.

For example, this year, provision has also been made to ensure 389,300 citizens with employment by creating of 345,300 new jobs and by restoring of 44,000 activities of non-operating enterprises. In addition, 97.7 thousand people will be provided with jobs due to the development of individual entrepreneurship and 308.6 thousand people will be provided with jobs through self-employment. A systematic work is being done to develop home-based work, handicraft, stimulate production in personal subsidiary plots, for which only this year microcredits were allocated for 400 billion sums.

It should be specially noted that on 4 October 2017, at the plenary session of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, the issue of observing the guaranteed labor rights of workers was considered in accordance with national and international labor standards. At the level of the supreme legislative body, it was noted that an intensive dialogue between the government of Uzbekistan and the ILO contributes to the improvement of relevant organizational and legal measures. Jointly with the ILO, the Decent Work Country Program in 2017-2020 is being consistently implemented.

At the event, international experts highly appreciated the work carried out in Uzbekistan to comply with the ILO conventions. They noted that the country has made great progress in the field of social and labor relations, and the republic demonstrates adherence to its international obligations in the labor policy.

– An information campaign conducted in Uzbekistan aimed at raising the awareness of the population of the republic on national and international labor standards, a campaign to increase the capacity of representatives of organizations, the constant functioning and widening of the channels of the feedback mechanism – all these together resulted in social unacceptability of child labor, creation of conditions and the introduction of effective mechanisms to prevent forced labor, said Jonas Astrup, the ILO Chief Technical Adviser.

The representatives of the International Labor Organization, the World Bank, the European Union, other international organizations and the diplomatic corps who spoke at the round table expressed their support for the reforms implemented in Uzbekistan in the Labor policy and reaffirmed their intention to continue to develop strategic cooperation with our country.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

SPORT

Uzbekistan’s Doston Yokubov has earned a gold medal in the weight category up to 69 kg at the World Weightlifting Championship in Anaheim, USA

According to the press service of the Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan, Doston raised the bar with a weight of 179 kg in a snatch and showed the best result.

On the second step of the pedestal was Von Jong-suk from the Republic of Korea (178 kg). The troika of winners was closed by the Frenchman Kinguet Matamga (178 kg).

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

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