Members of the Uzbek Parliament have passed what is seen as landmark legislation criminalising domestic violence, part of a wider raft of measures against gender-based violence.
Subject to Presidential ratification, perpetrators found guilty of assaulting a current or former spouse, a cohabitant, or the parent of a shared child, face being jailed or fined.
During the debate leading up to a unanimous vote in favour, Senate chairwoman Tanzila Narbayeva commented: “I can state with confidence that our law is progressive and in line with international norms.”
She said the country’s law enforcement agencies received in 2021/22 more than 72,000 complaints of harassment and violence against women and girls, with 85% of those cases occurring within families, the Eurasianet news service reported.
Uzbekistan follows Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by making domestic violence a separate criminal offence, London-based Amnesty International pointed out.
“The government of Uzbekistan has taken a vital step towards complying with its international human rights obligation to eradicate gender-based violence, yet much remains to be done to implement the new law, prevent domestic violence, and tackle patriarchal attitudes in society,” said the human rights organisation’s Central Asia researcher, Heather McGill.
“Amnesty International is concerned, however, that although physical violence has now been criminalised, economic and psychological violence remain unaddressed.”