After years of isolation and maintaining a post-Soviet mentality regarding the economy, education, and civil rights, the Mirziyoyev administration has made a 180 degree turn, implementing a "good neighbor" policy to mend bruised relationships with its four Central Asian neighbors plus Afghanistan. It is looking for non-Russian solutions to the challenge of reform and has turned to the West, and in particular the U.S. to help meet these challenges. In response, USAID has expanded its programming in the areas of rule of law, judicial reform, primary education, TB treatment and structuring the economy so that these sectors are more in line with international standards. Because of our ability to react quickly and provide high quality assistance, we are developing a partnership with Uzbekistan that was unheard of only a few years ago. This assistance is allowing USAID to develop government policy that will have an impact for generations to come.
USAID is expanding activities to implement new laws designed to strengthen the justice sector, increase public participation, improve access to public information and promote partnerships between civil society and government. This will allow civil society programs to pursue improvements to the legal framework in Uzbekistan, such as reducing administrative penalties and allowing organizations to use the same simplified tax rules that are applied to small businesses.
- USAID's Rule of Law Partnership Program in Uzbekistan introduced E-SUD, an electronic court system to improve court management in 2014. The program which started in eight pilot civil courts, has expanded to all 89 civil courts across the country, resulting in more transparent court proceedings and reducing the time it takes to file cases and publish court decisions. As of December 2019, 22,349 users have registered in the E-SUD system nationwide, including approximately 725 lawyers, 3,127 legal entities, and 17,917 citizens, of whom almost 50 percent are women. 2019 saw 239,805 claims and 133,512 petitions made through the system.
- USAID supported the adoption of the country’s first-ever gender equality law, “Guarantees of Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men,” which was adopted in September 2019. The long-awaited law represents a firm stance against gender-based discrimination and lays the foundation for equal rights for both sexes—an ambitious goal in a society with deeply-rooted gender stereotypes. Over the next two years USAID will work with its local partners to support proper implementation of the law by conducting a series of awareness raising events for the general public, government officials and civil society throughout Uzbekistan and will hold capacity building workshops to increase the ability of national institutions to promote gender equality.
- USAID in cooperation with Yuksalish Nationwide Movement launched the first of its kind Coworking Center for NGOs in Uzbekistan. Members of Uzbekistan’s emerging civil society, initiative groups and citizens can freely use the facility equipped with computers, video-conferencing technology and other office amenities not always available to the budget constrained civil society. Since its opening in April 2019, more than 1,200 people have visited the co-working center making it the epicenter of various civil society-oriented events and activities.
- USAID has fostered robust cooperation between the government and civil society in both the fight against human trafficking and the rehabilitation of survivors of trafficking. Our anti-trafficking assistance has helped more than 5,000 survivors return to their communities, receive medical, legal and psychological assistance. and rebuild their lives. More than 300,000 citizens were reached by the awareness raising campaigns by partner NGOs.