Impact of Structural Adjustment Program policies
and World Bank programs and IMF on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights
- In your answers to the questionnaire you say that the youth the women and the unemployed are the ones being the most affected by these policies: do you have some examples of why these groups are particularly affected?
1.1. On the Right to work
- Could you give an approximation of the numbers of persons who have lost their job as a result of bankruptcy and inability of the enterprises to work in the new economic conditions?
Approximately 35 % of the total number of the people unemployed have lost their jobs as a result of bankruptcy and inability of the enterprises to work in new economic conditions.
- Did some enterprises being bankrupt closed down? What is the proportion of this phenomena?
During the first years after the collapse of the former USSR such phenomenon has been watched in all post-Soviet countries because enterprises in the Soviet countries were formed on the principle of inter-dependence but not on the basis of local possibilities and resources. So, after the disintegration of the USSR most enterprises have been cut off from each other and demonstrated full incapacity to work under new conditions. In our estimation about 40 % of such enterprises were closed down. The other part of them has been re-organized in the forms of share holders companies (private and state-owned), private enterprises, co-operative enterprises. But the situation remains much the same.
- For the persons having received a one-time unemployment check, do you have the amount of this check? Do you have concrete example of persons not being able to provide for themselves and their families?
Under the article 169 of Labor Code of Uzbekistan the amount of a one-time unemployment check is equal to the average monthly wage of a worker for all the time he had worked.
- Could you explain why working conditions have become more precarious? What has changed? How do you see that? (cf. increase of working hours, shift towards temporary contracts, etc.)
In the Soviet times all enterprises were state-owned and there was no problem with precarious work conditions. It was not because the Soviet Government had been more humane, more liberal, but because the state was meant to gain total control over every sector of the society. A worker in the Soviet could work not so distinctively, could miss working days, but it was guaranteed for him to receive the same wage and other social privileges as it was prescribed for a good worker. However, after the independence labor relations started to be shaped under the market economy rules. For most workers it was a completely new form of labor relations, now a worker can’t be dishonest towards his/her labor obligations. Most enterprises which had previously belonged to different governmental ministries and offices lost the branch support of the government, now they had to provide social and economic support for their employees themselves.
Regarding the cotton industry, could you describe the extent to which child labor is used, what are the working hours of children working in this field, what are the conditions in which children are working, what are the remuneration children receive, what is the average age of these children? Are they working for state-owned companies as the cotton industry has not been privatized? What is the State doing about that? Are there cases of ill-treatment, and if so what are they? Do you have concrete examples?
In the cotton industry child’s labor is mainly used at the harvest time (from early September to late November) when they start to pick cotton in the fields. At the Uzbek schools there are 11 grades and children who are involved in the cotton industry activities are 8th and upper grades. The average age of the children is approximately 13/14 years old. There is no difference between remuneration and labor conditions of children and adults or elderly employees. Most private owned farms do also grow cotton at state’s behest, child labor is used in such farms too. Practically no measure has been yet taken by the State.
- Regarding the cotton industry, could you describe the precarious conditions in which women are working and what are the remuneration they receive (is it inferior to the one men’s get)? Are these women subjected to any forms of violence, ill-treatment by part of their superiors and employers? Do you have concrete examples?
Labor conditions in the cotton industry for women are the same as they are for men or children. No particular and concrete cases of violence or ill-treatment against these women are fixed.
- Regarding the low-quality food provision in the cotton industry: could you describe this problem?
No food provision is provided for those who are involved in the cotton industry. They receive only wages for their labor, in rural areas in most cases this is the only source of income derived from labor in the government or private owned farms. Farmers who are involved in the cotton industry get wages only during harvest time.
1.2. On the Right to Adequate Housing
- The families that became homeless following the implementation of economic reforms: are they becoming homeless due to the loss of the job of the head of the family or due to the increase of rents? Where do they go after they became homeless? Where do they live and in which conditions?
We can’t estimate none of the above-mentioned reasons as a basic factor for becoming homeless. There are homeless people in Uzbekistan, the number of such persons are always high in big cities and towns, but they don’t compose an important part of the population. And the representatives of the title nation is very slight among them, because the Central Asian nations have strong society and family links and relatives won’t let them become homeless.
1.4. On the Right to Health
- What percentage of the population do the people who cannot access health services due to users fees represent?
The people who cannot access health services properly due to users’ fees represent make up about 70 % of the population. That is not to say that this people are cut off any medical service totally, they have access to medical services but they cannot make use of them because of the lack of financial means.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the National Legislation
- Would it be possible to get the exact law and articles protecting the rights listed under point b)?
All of these rights are enlisted in the Constitution and other Codes (a set of field legislation), and specific laws and legislative acts are subordinated to the Constitution and Codes. Basic human rights and freedom are secured in the following chapters of the Uzbek Constitution: Chapter VII – Personal rights and freedom (article 24 – the right to life, article 25 – right to freedom and personal inviolability, article 26 – right to justice and legal council, to freedom from tortures and inhuman treatment, article 27 – right to personal dignity, inviolability of personal life, residence, correspondences and telephone conversations, article 28 – freedom of movement, article 29 – freedom of thought, speech, creed, access to information, article 30 – access to official and procedural documents, article 31 – freedom of conscience and religious belief); Chapter VIII – Political rights; Chapter IX – Economic and social rights; Chapter X – Warranties of human rights and freedom.
- Are the right to an adequate standard of living (which encompasses the right to adequate housing, the right to food and the right to adequate clothing) transferred in more specific law and if so, could you give the exact law and articles protecting these rights?
This right is not transferred in more specific law, it is secured only in the article 24 of the Constitution.
Right to adequate Housing and Cases of Forced Eviction
- What are the unsatisfactory conditions in which the Uzbek families are living? Do you have any concrete example?
Unsatisfactory conditions under which the Uzbek families live are very general for the most of them. All of these negative conditions are related to problems in the field of economy and violence of economic and social rights and freedom. Those conditions can be classified as non-payment of wages or low rates of the wages paid, low quality food provision, general poverty and other problems linked with this. We don’t have any concrete examples.
- While the general public does not know when and how the government budget is discussed, is this budget made public once it has been decided?
No, it isn’t.
- While there is no discrimination in national legislation, you say that in the facts discrimination occurs: could you explain how this happens, do you have concrete examples?
Discrimination is prohibited by the legislation, however, facts of discrimination can be fixed in some spheres of life. It is not a general phenomenon. Our organization does not have concrete examples on this field.
- Are there any problems linked with the eviction of the inhabitants of the old city of Tashkent?
The inhabitants of the old city Tashkent have been evicted and they were provided with houses from other places of the city. Several inhabitants of the old city took part in the picketing of the city municipality building which were organized by the Chairman of Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan Mr. Talib Yakubov, and the municipal government had to provide proper housing for them.
- You say that unofficially high concentration of land can be watched: could you be more precise? On which hands is land concentrated? What are the causes of this phenomena? Do you have concrete examples?
Land is being concentrated in the hands of wealthy people who act as farmers. They do not deal with farming directly but they own big land resources and regulate that those land areas should be used properly and effectively. Most state owned farms can’t work to the full scale because of the lack of material resources. This is characteristic for small private owned farms too. Under such conditions owners of huge land resources can do a brisk business.
- Which articles in the Land and Civil Codes regulate land relations in Uzbekistan? What is the content of these articles?
Right to Education
- Regarding the discrimination of the educational rights of religious Muslims that occurs unofficially? How is this discrimination taking place? Do you have examples? (For example, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education raised a case of a girl who has been thrown out of the school for having wear the Burka) Are there religious schools in Uzbekistan? What are the condition for creating/running such a school? Are religious Muslims prevented from attending religious schools/classes?
Under the Uzbek legislation no discrimination based on religious belief is allowed. However, if the person is convicted for his/her religious belief he/she or family members are sometimes made a subject to unofficial discrimination. Such discrimination can be either in the form of labor dismissal, unjust conviction of crime or public indifference. There are religious schools in Uzbekistan, however, their program activities are under strong control of the government. Religious Muslims are not prevented from attending religious schools.
- Do you have data/evaluation concerning the drop-out rates of children in the primary education? What is your evaluation regarding this issue? Could you precise with more details the reasons why girls are dropping out of school in more important numbers than boys?
Unfortunately, we don’t have data/evaluation concerning the drop-out rates of children in the primary education. The dropping out of school by the side of girls in Uzbekistan is most characteristic for the girls from Muslim families and especially for those who reside in rural areas. In most Muslim families from rural areas the girl after she gets a primary education will drop out of school and be married. Most of them do not continue their education at institutes and universities.
- Regarding the Reform of the Education that is being implemented by the government: do you have the law that launched this reform? What are the goals of the reform, its main features? How is it implemented?
There is no a special law regarding the Reform of education except the Law «On public education». Because the National Program on the reform of education is adopted by the Uzbek Parliament and it has the force of law. The long-term objective of the reform is reforming the educational system of Uzbekistan so that it can meet international standards in this field and prepare perfect specialists for different spheres of the national economy. According to this program the whole education process in the educational system of Uzbekistan will be categorized as following: (1) Primary secondary education (available at secondary schools, gymnasiums); (2) Secondary special education with an orientation into a profession (available at lyceums, colleges); (3) High education – Bachelor’s degree (available at institutes and universities); (4) Fully high education – MA degree (available at institutes and universities).
Right to Health
- You say that health care is free for all officially: does that mean that there is a different unofficial picture and if so what is this picture looks like?
There are people who cannot afford to go to a doctor or to a hospital following the implementation of economic reforms. Unfortunately, we don’t have any concrete examples. In the course of the implementation of economic reforms the prices to medical services and items rose. Such people do represent a considerable part of the population. However, we don’t think that there is any risk of having a two separate health care systems, an expensive private one and a free and of lower quality public one. Such system is already in action unofficially, this should be regulated by legislation. The only risk is that most people cannot afford themselves payment of medical services, this factor should be taken into consideration. In order to address the negative impact of the economic reforms with respect to this issue the Government has been initiating building of small medical clinics in localities. But that is not quite the way this problem should be solved. Besides there are mass of measures in national legislation. But they do not work and insufficient.
Right to Work
- You say that there is discrimination against women regarding access to employment: what are the main features of this discrimination? Why is it taking place? What is the government doing about that? Is there a law preventing discrimination against women in employment and if so how is it implemented? Do you have concrete examples?
In Uzbekistan there is a law preventing discrimination against women. However, discrimination against women regarding access to employment in some fields does exist. These fields have traditionally been considered areas in which men are employed, for instance, military institutions, law-enforcing agencies and governmental bodies. Women can be employed in these spheres but only in the position of administrative-technical officials. Such discrimination doesn’t make a considerable part of the social problems.
- Do you have examples of jobs/activities in which children are involved that hurt their health
No, unfortunately we don’t have such examples.
- Do you have concrete example of child labour practices, of children working?
We don’t have concrete examples of child labor practices.
- Could you precise the forms of ill treatment to which children are subjected and who are the responsible (private companies, state agents, etc.)?
It can’t be classified as an ill treatment but child labor is very typical for conditions in Uzbekistan. Child labor is mainly used in state owned collective farms during harvest time in cotton industry, in other agricultural activities, in rural areas children do often work with the adults and the elderly equally. The following forms of violations are fraud with child labor:
– many of the children whose labor is exploited have little access to basic and secondary education;
– they are not employed in an easy job that won’t hurt his health;
– very often the work time of children and their study time coincide with each other;
– most children whose labor is being exploited do full time job which contradicts the legislation.
Trade Unions Rights
- Why is the legislation on trade unions secured in the Civil code and in the laws on NGOs not effectively implemented?
The right to forming trade unions is secured in the Uzbek legislation. However, in Uzbekistan trade unions do not play the role of non-governmental non-commercial structures that protect rights and freedom of the workers of this or that field. Firstly, there are several obstacles in the way of the formation of a trade union: if a local NGO can be registered by the local departments of the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan a trade union must be registered only by the central office of the Ministry in Tashkent. Signatures of 3.000 people are necessary for the formation of a trade union. Almost every trade union in Uzbekistan is formed upon the government initiative, and their activities do not go beyond arrangement of cultural-leisure measures (for instance, organizing concerts for the trade union members, running cultural clubs of the workers and etc.).
- How is the system of collective bargaining working in Uzbekistan? How are conflicts between workers and employers resolved? Why are there no strikes in Uzbekistan?
The system of collective bargaining is keeping low profile in Uzbekistan. According to the Uzbek legislation conflicts between workers and employers is resolved in the courts. However, such a dispute can’t be aken to the court directly when it appears. Under the provisions of the Labor code of Uzbekistan in the case there appears a dispute between a worker and an employer it will be a competence of a special ad hoc commission for collective bargains. Such a commission will be composed of the representatives of the administration of the employer and trade union. the commission drafts its decision over the dispute but a worker has the right to appeal to the court directly prior to the appeal to the commission. The social consciousness of the society is in a very low level, workers are merely afraid to protect their rights and freedom by this way, instead of this they prefer to keep low-profile in order not to lose their jobs.
The Socio-Economic Situation of Women
- In which sectors cannot women hold any position or be employed? Why is it like that?
The national legislation prohibits to employ women in the jobs with dangerous working conditions, in production sectors which demand hard labor and etc.
- In which sectors cannot women get any advancement and promotion? Why is it like that?
For women who work in military/defense institutions, law-enforcing agencies and governmental structures it is difficult to get advancement and promotion. The usual privileged job and career areas for women are medical care system, teaching staff at educational
- Could you give more information about the social and cultural reasons for women’s inequality?
Women’s inequality hangs on the national mentality that has been formed under strong influence of Islam for hundreds of years. National mentality postulates the proper distribution of jobs and duties between male and female. Women have always been estimated as weaker human beings and been given under the patronage of men.
Situation of children
- Could you give more information about the financial cause of the street children phenomena: is it due to parent’s unemployment, etc?
The main reason that begets the street children phenomenon is their parents’ unemployment and inability to meet children’s material needs. In most cases it is the only way for children to survive, by becoming street children they do not help their families but just only survive by different means. They are potential criminals, there are nor frontiers for them.
- Could you give more information about the special groups of the ministry of the interior that detain street children?
A special department of the Ministry Interior for the activities with the under-age is responsible to deal with the phenomenon of the street children. Under the requirements existent the officials of this department must have psychological and pedagogical knowledge and proper experience in working with children.
- Could you give more information about their operation and how do they arrest street children to detain them?
The phenomenon of the street children does exist in big cities of Uzbekistan. Operations on the arrest of the street children are arranged from time to time, it is called «raids» in the language of the officials of the Ministry Interior. They usually choose a part of the city where there are many street children and send there department’s officials in a civil uniform (street children run away if they see militia officials in their official uniform) in order to detain them beforehand. Then a special van of the department is called to the activity area and they are taken to the militia station by this van.
- Where does violence takes place: at the time of the arrest, during the detention? Both?
- What is the form of violence street children are facing?
This violence can’t be called an ill-treatment or inhuman treatment, but gross violations of the legislation that regulates such activities do happen. The militia officials who exercise detention of the street children often do it grossly and forcibly, children are afraid of them, there does always remain a feeling of threat and humiliation in children’s mind.
- For how long, on average, are children being detained by the special groups of the Ministry of the Interior?
Every three months on average, but it can be doubled prior to big and important holidays.
- Where are thy detained and what are the conditions of detention: are they separated from adults, do they get adequate food, medical attention, etc?
They are detained in the militia stations till they will be taken to orphan houses or special care centers. They are separated form adults, but they are provided an adequate food and medical attention.
- After their distribution on orphan houses or in special care centers, what happens to these children?
Most of them on the very first opportunity try to run away from there, because the personnel of those orphan houses or care centers do not know proper methods of treating such children, these children are not just orphans or parentless children, they are street children.
- Regarding trafficking of children, where do children trafficked from Tajikistan end up in Uzbekistan?
We don’t know details of this fact.
- What kind of forced labor are children subjected to? Could you describe these conditions?
We don’t possess facts over this case.
Poverty and Access to Justice
- Could you give the law and its article guaranteeing free legal aid for indigent persons? And how this law is implemented?
Free legal aid for indigent persons is secured by the article 49-50 of the Criminal Procedure code of Uzbekistan. This law is not implemented properly, very often the defender misses the first stages of the investigation.
- There is something we do not understand: if the law guarantees free legal aid for indigent persons, why should lawyers do their job just as a name tag because indigent clients do not pay? Aren’t they paid by the government?
They are paid by the government under the rules drafted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan. But this payment does not depend on the result of the case. At any rate such a defender will receive a payment from the government budget.
Social Destitution and Criminality
- What is the mandate of the militia personnel and special forces? Do they commit abuses, extra-judicial killings, etc?
Several cases of extra-judicial killings have been studied by Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan.
- Have the authorities publicly declared that they will address criminality by using force?
No, there was no such declaration.
19. Religious Fundamentalism and the authorities’ response
- Could you precise the dynamics/mechanisms explaining why from a poverty driven situation can lead to the emergence of religious fundamentalism? What are the economic, social and cultural rights which are relevant in this regard? What actions/ policies would you recommend?
What were the reasons of the August 2000 displacement of persons? By whom (the police, the army, etc.) these displacements were carried out? Did violence, ill-treatment took place (and if so what kind of ill-treatment)? Are these persons still living in the Zarbdar village? Could you describe their difficult living conditions?
Could you give more information regarding the displacements that took place in 2001 with:
o The names of the 10 villages (and the regions) with the dates when the displacement occurred for each village and the number of persons affected?
o The reasons of the displacements?
o Where these persons have been displaced and where they are living now?
o By whom (the police, the military, etc.) these displacements were carried out and if violence, ill-treatment took place (and if so what kind of ill-treatment)?