Country report and updates: Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

28/04/1998

1 Conscription

conscription exists

Conscription is enshrined in art. 51 of the 1994 Constitution, which states: "The defence of the Republic of Uzbekistan is the duty of every citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan. All citizens are obliged to perform military service or alternative service in the way as detailed in law."

Its legal basis is the 1992 Law on Defence. [4]

military service

All men between the ages of 18 and 27 are liable for military service. [5]

The length of military service is 18 months; 12 months in the case of university and college graduates. [1]

postponement and exemption

Exemption is possible for domestic reasons (being the only or the youngest son) and in the case of shepherds. [1] [5]

Certain groups are exempt from military service, but must perform substitute service: those with four under-16-year-old children, those with a father or brother who become handicapped through performing military service, and members of certain religious groups. [6]

recruitment

Call-up for military service takes place twice a year. [2]

2 Conscientious objection

legal right

The right to conscientious objection is enshrined in art. 51 of the 1994 Constitution, according to which all citizens are obliged to perform either military or alternative service in the way as laid down by law. (see above).

In 1992 the Law on Alternative Service was passed. This law gives only limited recognition to the right to conscientious objection as it entitles only members of religious groups that forbid their members to bear arms to perform substitute service. Those who are exempt from military service for certain domestic reasons (see above) can also be assigned to substitute service. [6]

procedure and practice

Detailed information on the application procedure is not available.

Members of religious groups that forbid their members to bear arms may perform substitute service, but it is not known which religious groups this applies to. Nor is it known whether anyone has attempted to apply for other than religious reasons, or how the authorities would deal with any such applications. According to a statement made by the government in 1996, 'free choice between military and substitute service is still a distant goal'. [6]

substitute service

The length of substitute service is two years; 18 months in the case of university and college graduates.

Substitute service is run by the Ministry of Defence, and may be performed in state organisations, such as government ministries and local government institutions. It may involve relief work when disasters occur. [6]

Continuing with one's normal job may also be regarded as substitute service, in which case one's normal salary is reduced with 20 per cent which then goes to the state. [1]

Substitute service has a military character. It entails two- months' basic military training courses, including training weapons use. According to the Ministry of Defence, in 1996 these courses were very highly successful and those performing substitute service "demonstrated a good knowledge of basic rules, military drill and the use of shooting guns." [6]

3 Draft evasion and desertion

No information available.

5 History

Uzbekistan was the first central Asian post-Soviet state to create its own armed forces and is the least dependent on Russia, being the only central Asian state without Russian border guards on its territory. The first call-up for military service in the Uzbek armed forces took place in late 1992. [5]

In the Soviet army Uzbeks rarely served in combat units but mainly served in the construction battalions. Because of the lowly role of Uzbeks in the Soviet army and the lack of any recent military history, the Uzbek government, after independence, had to construct a "tradition" of military service. Defence Minister Akhmedov promoted military service by publicly announcing after a military parade: "Our people have honoured their defenders as far back as the never-conquered Sogdiana and Bactria, Maracanda and Khorezm" - empires that existed more than a thousand years ago. [2]

The armed forces have rapidly created an officer corps comprising ethnic Uzbeks. In 1992 six percent of the officer corps consisted of ethnic Uzbeks; in 1996 this figure was 60 percent. [3] [7]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are estimated to be 65,000 to 70,000-strong - about 0.29 percent of the population. [7]

Every year about 225,000 men reach conscription age. [7]

Sources

[1] European Bureau for Conscientious Objection 1996. Conscientious Objection in Central and Eastern Europe and the European Institutions, seminar 3-10 May 1996. EBCO, Brussels, Belgium. [2] Kangas Roger D. 1996. 'Taking the Lead in Central Asian Security', in: Transition, 3 May 1996. [3] Kangas, Roger D. 1996. 'With an Eye on Russia, Central Asian Militaries Practice Cooperation', in: Transition, 9 August 1996. [4] Brown, Bess 1993. 'Central Asian States seek Russian help', in: RFE/RL Research Report, 18 June 1993. [5] Amnesty International 1992. Concerns in Europe: November 1991 - April 1992. AI, London. [6] Pravda Vostoka, 31 December 1996. [7] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.

Articles related to conscientious objection

29 Mar 2009
English

During the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council, Uzbekistan insisted that conscientious objection will only be recognised for "members of registered religious organizations, the faith of which prevent the use of weapons and service in the armed forces".

13 Mar 2009
English

A/HRC/10/83/Add.1

(...)

Recommendation 11

17. According to the article 22, paragraph 1, page 1 of the Law “On general military duty and military service” recruits are released from military duty and military service in a mobilization invocatory reserve during the peacetime:

(a) If recognized unfit for military service due to health problems;
(b) If one of near relatives (brother, sister) has died during the military service;
(c) If he/she has a holy order in one of the registered religious organizations.

25 Apr 2005
English

CCPR/CO/83/UZB
26 April 2005

(...)

01 Nov 2002
English
by Silke Makowski

In the region of Caucasus and Central Asia, no country offers a free choice between military service and alternative service, most of them even having no legal basis for a substitute service at all. The few states that passed a law on some kind of alternative service haven't implemented it according to international standards: in Georgia, substitute service isn't available in practice and in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, large bribes are necessary to perform it.

Forum posts related to conscientious objection

21 Oct 2009
English