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04/October/2022   Constitutional reform

The draft Constitutional Law is being improved on the basis of proposals received from citizens

TASHKENT, October 4. /“Dunyo” IA/. Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, Press Secretary of the Constitutional Commission Odiljon Tojiev, in an interview with the correspondent of the “Dunyo” IA, spoke in detail about the work carried out by the country's parliamentarians to improve the draft law “On Amendments and additions to the Constitution of Uzbekistan”:

- These days, proposals received from the population during the public discussion of the draft Constitutional Law on Amendments and Addenda to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan are being summarized by the responsible committees of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, and thus the work of finalizing the bill is in full swing.

One should stress that special attention is paid to presenting the draft constitutional law in a terse and lucid, clear and smooth language, in such a way that would rule out differing interpretations of norms, and by observing legal terminology. Its text has been scrutinized several times by the Cabinet of Ministers’ Regulatory Terminology Commission, renowned scientists, linguists, literary experts, with the organization of public consultations with the participation of specialists of corresponding spheres. In this process, a range of amendments and addenda are being introduced into the draft constitutional law.

In particular, a new norm is proposed to be included in Article 26-1 of our Constitution, which states that anyone convicted of a crime has the right to have the sentence reviewed by a higher court, as well as the right to petition for pardon or commutation of punishment.

Why is it considered urgent to reflect this provision in the Basic Law? Was there no similar law enforcement practice in the past? Definitely there was. To be more precise, our national legislation contains a norm that provides the defendant, his/her defender, legal representative or the victim with the opportunity to file an appeal or protest against verdicts of the court of first instance that have not entered into force. However, fixing this humane principle in our Constitution is thought to secure a direct operation of this rule and thus cater to the interests of our citizens.

Here comes another important novelty. A new norm, considered a unique solution to ensuring environmental balance, an issue of worry of late to the population of our country as much as to the entire world community, is expected to be introduced into the draft constitutional law. The article, reading as Article 40-1 of the bill, contains the following norms. Namely, the state delivers conditions for the realization of public control in urban development activities in order to secure the ecological rights of citizens, to prevent harmful effects of economic and other types of activities on the environment. Drafts of urban planning documents are subject to public discussion in accordance with the procedure established by law.

This amendment serves to define the environmental rights and obligations of citizens in our society, especially to sharply increase the responsibility of officials for nature protection, to boost the environmental culture of the population, and to toughen public control. In addition, the new Article 41-2 of our Constitution envisages the introduction of a norm that will serve to augment the repute of teachers – who are celebrating their professional holiday these days – and bolster their social status. In the Republic of Uzbekistan, the teacher’s work is recognized as backbone for national development, for fostering a healthy and advanced generation, preserving and enriching the nation’s spiritual and cultural potential, the state takes care of safeguarding the honor and dignity of teachers, their social and material well-being as much as their professional growth. In turn, defining the status of teachers at the constitutional level, granting their professional activity the inviolability and state protection are designed to facilitate advancing Uzbekistan’s education system along with developing the proficiency of teachers.

Besides, the proposed amendment to Article 56 of the draft constitutional law provides for the precise classification of public associations and the participation of civil society institutions in devising government programs. In particular, the proposed norm to be added to Article 56 indicates that institutions of civil society, including public associations and other non-governmental non-profit organizations, self-government bodies of citizens, mass media form the basis of civil society.

This norm provides for the state to implement measures to support civil society institutions, ensure their participation in devising and executing the socio-economic development and social partnership programs.

As we all know, a range of laws and regulations have been adopted in our country to protect the social, economic, cultural and political rights and interests of the youth, and to strengthen the responsibility of all agencies and organizations in the implementation of public policy on youth. During his meeting with members of the Constitutional Commission, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan suggested that the norms related to raising the effectiveness of our reforms be reflected in our Basic Law.

Built on this proposal, a completely new norm has emerged that cements the constitutional guarantees related to the protection of the rights and interests of young people. In particular, a provision is proposed to be included in the new Article 65-1 stating that the protection of the personal, political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights of young people by the state and encouraging their active participation in public life is an important task of the state.

Also, the Article reads that the state creates conditions for the spiritual, intellectual, creative, physical and moral formation and development of young people, for the realization of their rights to education, healthcare, housing, hiring, employment and recreation. A related norm is expected to be added.

Apart from that, as a result of the reforms undertaken in recent years, based on the unique achievements in turning the judicial system of our country into the one that protects human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests, as well as on the basis of many proposals received from citizens, a new chapter entitled “The Bar” is thought to be established in the Constitution (Chapter XXII - I). This new chapter is being drafted in the Constitution to include a few articles and norms designed to fortify the barrister system for human rights protection.

In particular, the proposed changes and additions to Article 116 envision the Bar institution that operates to provide qualified legal assistance to individuals and corporate entities. The legal aid is provided at public expense in cases stipulated by law. The Bar is built on the principles of legitimacy, independence and self-governance. The organization of barrister activities and its procedure are determined by law.

It is also envisaged to include a new norm in the new Article 116-1. Thus, it is not allowed to interfere with the activity of barrister while on their professional duties. The barrister is provided conditions to meet freely with person under their protection without obstacles and give counsel. The barrister and his/her professional activity are under the protection of the state. Professional rights, honor and dignity of the barrister are protected by law.

It is worth noting that in recent years, the role of the public, including mass media, has been increasing in monitoring the implementation of reforms in diverse fields, and in being able to clearly state the shortcomings along with achievements. To this end, amendments and addenda to guarantee the freedom of mass media representatives and their activities are envisaged in the revised Basic Law.

In particular, it is planned to add the following new norms to Article 67 of our Constitution:

The state guarantees the freedom of mass media activity, their right to seek, receive, use and disseminate information.

Hindering or interfering with the activities of mass media and journalists is a cause of liability in accordance with the law.

Mass media are responsible for the accuracy of the information they present.

In a word, the draft constitutional law being perfected building on proposals received from our people will serve the interests of our people and the development of our country.

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