TASHKENT, 8-9 October 2020 – Today, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Regional office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for Central Asia and the Supreme School of Judges of the Republic of Uzbekistan (SSJ) are beginning a national training on “International law on economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights.” This two-day online-training is the second of a series of trainings on ESC rights, including, the right to health, education, housing, child protection and rights in the workplace.
The online-training aims to build the capacity of judges, lawyers, prosecutors, legal academics and other representatives of civil society to apply international law and standards on ESC rights. Trainers will share best practices on implementation by States of their international obligations, including through judicial practice, and in ensuring access to justice for ESC rights. The online-training will also allow for exchanges between members of the judiciary, other legal practitioners, and members of civil society.
The training will be based on four modules: (1) introduction to international law on ESC rights; (2) international obligations concerning access to justice and effective remedies for ESC rights in national courts and comparative examples of good practices; (3) children`s ESC rights and (4) women`s ESC rights. The office of the UN Special Rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers and representatives of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will participate in the training.
“Nobody could imagine the challenges the world will face only in few months after my visit to Uzbekistan. We are witnessing and living this unprecedently challenge for individuals, societies and states to response to crisis at global and national level to protect right to life and health, and to protect individuals from impact of lockdowns and restrictions. Economic, social and cultural rights are the heart of these challenges,” said Diego Garcia-Sayan, the UN Special Rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers in his video-address to the participants of the training.
Francois Begeot, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Uzbekistan pointed out, "COVID-19 pandemic showed the urgency and importance of economic, social and cultural rights that have to be ensured by the states, even in the emergency situations. Taking international obligations, Uzbekistan has to respect, protect and fulfil human rights including during the state of emergency and ensure access to justice and legal remedies."
Ryszard Komenda, Regional Representative of the UN Human Rights Office for Central Asia reminded the audience that Uzbekistan’s progress of implementation of its human rights obligations were going to be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in February 2021 and by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in September 2021. He welcomed expert participation of members of the two Treaty Bodies (CEDAW and CRC) in the event. Mr. Komenda also noted that application of the UN human rights treaties at the national level is one of the common questions posed by the UN Treaty Bodies to the respective States Parties, including Uzbekistan. With regards to this he expressed hope that discussion of this matter during the event would be useful, especially in light of Uzbekistan’s upcoming constructive dialogues with the two Treaty Bodies in 2021. Quoting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, Mr. Komenda concluded that “Respect for human rights across the spectrum, including economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, will be fundamental to the success of the public health response and recovery from the pandemic.”
“International law includes guarantees of economic and social rights such as health, housing, food and water on an equal basis for all, but making these rights a reality requires access to justice and implementation by the courts,” said Róisín Pillay, ICJ Europe and Central Asia Programme Director. “I hope that this training will help the Uzbekistan justice system to provide more effective access to justice, in line with Uzbekistan’s international human rights obligations, to those individuals who claim that their ESC rights have been violated", she added.
Khodji-Murod Isakov, Director of the Higher School of Judges briefly spoke about the activities of the Supreme School of Judges (SSJ), and the recent reforms at the SSJ. “The international seminar in which we have gathered today gives us an opportunity to establish direct contact with other organizations and international bodies through the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights. The exchange of ideas and experiences in the necessity of the modern world, for the mutual development of the judiciary, education and the society as such" said Mr. Isakov.
The national trainings are organized in the framework of project "Advancing Civil Society in Promoting ESCR Standards (ACCESS)" funded by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). The final similar training will be organized later in 2020 and all trainings materials at the end will be translated into Russian and Uzbek languages for further reference and use. Moreover, the trainings materials will be publicly available by the end of 2020 for wider outreach and promotion of international law and ESC rights standards.