“Roadmap” for ensuring freedom of religion or belief

As is known, following the visit to Uzbekistan in October 2017 of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed, a joint resolution of the Council Chambers of the Oliy Majlis approved the “roadmap” on ensuring freedom of religion or belief. The accomplishment of this document was discussed at a joint meeting of the Working Group and the Committee on Democratic Institutions, NGOs and Self-governing Bodies of Citizens of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The event was attended by deputies, senators, heads of ministries, departments, educational institutions, representatives of civil society institutions, religious organizations, and diplomatic corps.

As the chairperson of the Committee of the lower House of Parliament - the Head of the Working Group Akmal Saidov, stressed the “roadmap” provides for implementation of 52 events, 40 of which have been fulfilled. Over the past period, the delegation of Uzbekistan took part in a ministerial conference organized by the US State Department. In December last year, a special resolution on “Enlightenment and Religious Tolerance” was adopted at the session of the UN General Assembly, initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. As a result of the efforts undertaken, the US State Department removed Uzbekistan from the so-called “list of countries of particular concern”, thereby, recognizing our country's significant achievements in the area of ensuring religious freedoms.

During the meeting, the information of the heads of the responsible ministries and departments on the implementation of the “roadmap” was heard. The Committee on Religious Affairs approved the regulation on the Council for Confessions. In the regions of the republic, meetings were held with representatives of non-Islamic religious organizations in Andijan, Fergana and Namangan regions.

The Ministry of Justice prepared a draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers “On Approving the Regulation on the Procedure for Registration and Termination of Activities of Religious Organizations in the Republic of Uzbekistan”, adopted on May 31, 2018. According to this document, the amount of state duty for registration of religious organizations has been reduced by five times, a requirement has been established for religious organizations to provide a report on their activities to registration bodies only once a year. In addition, the powers of the registering authority for the liquidation of religious organizations are excluded. A new draft law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” has been prepared.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan focused on the role and importance of the round table held on September 17 last year on the theme “Religious Tolerance: the Experience of Uzbekistan and the United States”, held during the visit to Uzbekistan of the US delegation headed by .S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Dale Brownback.

The Ministry of Public Education has studied the experience of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Greece, Germany, Belgium and the USA in the matter of religious education. In addition, the agency is constantly working to publish and distribute targeted print and video products, explaining the current state policy in the field of freedom of conscience and belief, in particular, prepared a textbook "History of World Religions" for students of the 11th grade.

Scientists of the International Islamic Academy prepared the book “Religious education in secular schools: the example of Uzbekistan and foreign countries”.
During the event, other issues were also discussed as a part of the implementation of the “roadmap”. In the upshot, the working group made relevant decisions.