The reforms carried out in Uzbekistan in recent years have given a powerful impetus to the further development of the state and legal systems of Uzbekistan. Large-scale transformations have taken place in the political, socio-economic and legal spheres of life and activities of the state and society.
Today it has become clear that these changes need to be legally enshrined in the Basic Law of the country. In this regard, the question arose of modernizing the Constitution, which would not only reflect the ongoing transformations, but also legally consolidate the new guidelines and goals facing society in modern conditions.
- The very fact of updating the Constitution indicates that Uzbekistan is striving to develop, to solve the goals and tasks set by the people. This process is primarily due to the need to implement strategic goals and achieve the established guidelines for the development of Uzbekistan. It should be noted that when preparing the draft Constitution, the opinions and proposals received from the common people were studied in two stages. At the first stage, more than 60,000 proposals were received from citizens on drafting the Constitution. At the second stage, the draft Constitution was submitted for public discussion. Almost 5 million citizens got acquainted with the draft through the media and the Internet and more than 150 thousand expressed their opinions and proposals. The nationwide discussion of the draft Constitutional Law resulted in more than 220,000 proposals received that clearly demonstrate the importance of broad public participation and civil society institutions.
On April 30, 2023, a nationwide referendum on the draft Constitutional Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan” will be held in Uzbekistan. It is obvious that it will become the most important political event in the life of the citizens of Uzbekistan. The new version of the Basic Law is intended to consolidate the country's strategic course for further reforming society and the state, which has had a positive impact on its foreign policy, primarily in the Central Asian region.
The new version of the Constitution, which is being adopted, is significantly increasing in volume: the number of its articles will increase from the current 128 to 155, and in general. 65% norms enshrined in the existing Constitution have been updated. The changes relate mainly to the norms for ensuring and protecting personal, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental rights and interests of citizens of different social strata.
What changes are being fixed?
The trend of the modern constitutional development of Uzbekistan include the reorganization of the model of constitutional and legal regulation of the relationship of the individual, society and the state, the orientation of the Constitution to humanistic values; fixing in it new characteristics of the state, etc. As part of the current stage of constitutional reform, it is planned to enshrine in the Constitution of Uzbekistan:
- a statement of the fundamental characteristics of the Uzbek statehood: a legal, social, secular, democratic state;
- taking into account the aggravation of the geopolitical situation both in the region and in the world as a whole, the foreign policy vector of development of Uzbekistan in recent years has been undergoing changes, taking into account the transformation of international and regional processes. Central Asiais a priority for Uzbekistan. This testifies to the desire of Uzbekistan to maintain a geopolitical balance in Central Asia, as well as to form a balanced multifaceted system of relations with the leading states of the world and international organizations (UN, SCO, CIS, OTS and others). These constitutional priorities are reflected in articles 17 and 18 of the Constitution in a new edition. The principles of the foreign policy of the state, enshrined in the Basic Law, are supplemented by the provision on the territorial integrity of states, with the definition of a peaceful foreign policy as the main vector of development of Uzbekistan.
The new constitutional norms, first of all, are aimed at building a New Uzbekistan, where guarantees for the protection of human rights and advantages, social protection and economic well-being will be enshrined at the level of the main provisions. Here is a disclosure;among the most important proposals for innovations in the updated Constitution are the prohibition of the death penalty, the application of the "Miranda rule", guarantees of the right to be warned, the accused or the defendant, the institution of "habeas corpus", etc. In particular, it should be noted the progress of Uzbekistan in reducing the number of stateless persons, eradicating child labour and forced labor, developing institutions of public opinion and freedom of speech.
- the state provides a favorable investment and business climate. In accordance with the law, entrepreneurs have the right to carry out any activity and independently choose its directions (Article 67);
- expansion and specification of the norms on the right to social security (Article 46), health protection and qualified medical care (Article 48). Taking into account foreign experience and the state of environmental problems, a new article 49 is introduced, which establishes the right of the citizens to a healthy and favorable environment and reliable information about its condition.
Article 50, devoted to the right to education and the article on the right of citizens to higher education (Article 51), are significantly supplemented. The norms on granting academic freedom to higher educational institutions, the right to receive free higher education at the expense of the state on a competitive basis, support for non-state educational organizations to create opportunities for the younger generation to improve their lives, realize their dreams, find their place in life and develop their personality by mastering modern specialties .
Over the past six years, the number of universities in Uzbekistan has increased from 77 to 210, enrollment has increased 5 times, the number of students has increased by 1 million, and enrollment in higher education has increased from 9% to 38%. The number of state grants have also doubled to 40,000, of which grants for master's degrees increased by 5 times.
A separate article is devoted to the status of teacher in the society, which reads: “In the Republic of Uzbekistan, the work of a teacher is recognized as the basis for the development of society and the state, the formation and education of a healthy, harmoniously developed generation, the preservation and enhancement of the spiritual and cultural potential of the people. The state takes care of protecting the honor and dignity of teachers, their social and material well-being, and professional growth.” (Art.52)
- the duty of the state is to create conditions for the intellectual, creative, physical and moral formation and development of young people, the realization of their rights to education, health care, housing, employment and recreation (Article 79).
These amendments are caused by the needs of social development, dictated by the need to further deepen reforms and modernize the country.The updating of the Constitution is aimed at further democratization of the public administration system, ensuring human rights and freedoms, increasing the role and responsibility of public authorities, limiting their powers by legal framework.
The constitutional reform in Uzbekistan is primarily aimed at ensuring one of the most important principles of public administration - the principle of separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial. The main method and condition for its implementation is a system of checks and balances based on a clear definition in the Basic Law of the powers of the three branches of government. To increase the role and efficiency of the parliament, optimize the activities of each of the chambers of the Oliy Majlis (the Parliament of Uzbekistan), as well as to eliminate duplication in their work.Their status is being significantly modernized and their powers are being strengthened. The list of powers attributed exclusively to the joint jurisdiction of the chambers has been reformatted, a number of them have been transferred to the individual chambers. Along with this, the powers and functions of the Government, its responsibility for solving the tasks facing it in the field of ensuring sustainable economic growth, macroeconomic stability, creating a favorable investment climate, reducing poverty, creating decent living conditions for the population, protecting the environment and preserving natural resources are being significantly expanded.
In the name of human honor and dignity
In general, the amendments to the Constitution are aimed at increasing the responsibility of state bodies, as well as ensuring the effective execution of their tasks. These amendments can be assessed as a logical continuation of large-scale reforms being implemented in Uzbekistan. The adoption of the new version of the Constitution will lay a solid foundation for further improving the well-being of the people, accelerated development of the state and civil society based on the principle "In the name of the honor and dignity of man."
The adoption of the constitutional amendments will be a powerful impetus for active legislative activity and revision of the entire legislation of the country. This work should be carried out in the following areas:
firstly, the development of acts that directly follow from the text of the Constitution;
secondly, bringing the current legislation of the country in line with the norms of the Constitution; and,
thirdly, the creation of a legal mechanism for the implementation of the Constitution and laws.
The large-scale tasks of modernizing the country actualize the need to develop civil society institutions, protect human rights and freedoms and further democratize all spheres of life and activities of the society. The real significance of updating the Constitution lies in the fact that it not only develops what has already been achieved today, but also determines the prospects for further development of the country.