December 12, 2005
Speech by President Islam Karimov at the Festive ceremony dedicated to the 13th Anniversary of Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Assalomu-Alaykum, dear countrymen!

Above all, allow me sincerely congratulate you dears with the holiday of the 13th anniversary of our Constitution from the depth of my heart and express you and in your persons ? our entire nation my deep respect and reverence.

Dear friends!

Truly indeed, the broad celebrations of December 8th ? the day of adopting our Constitution, as an event worth big social ?political significance are gradually being embodied deep into our lives.

This sacred date, while taking the deserved place amongst our national festivals, compels us remember and imagine once again the invaluable place, significance, and influence of Constitution in the destinies of each and every citizen, residing in our country, of each and every family, their contemporary lives and forthcoming future, and providing for human rights and liberties.

For over span of 13 years, while getting rid of remnants of the old regime, of the ideological views alien and strange to our national nature, we have been acting through seeking support of and leaning upon our Main law in building the new life and new society, as well as defining its constitutional basis and principles.

For over this past period we have come to believe time and again in how solid is the life foundation of our Constitution ? the mirror of political conscience and wisdom of our people ? in multilaterally corresponding both our national values and at the same time ? universal requirements.

It won\'t be any mistake if we say that whatever processes we have come through along the very difficult and responsible, and complicated path of development during the years of sovereign progress, and whatever trials we have encountered, our Constitution serves as a foundation in always safeguarding our homeland, our people from various evils, and locating one and single true path in quite threatening times, as well as looking towards future with hope.

This day, while speaking about Constitution, its meaning and essence, as well as priority principles, it is worth underscoring once again that our Main law firstly places the interests of the person above those of the state and reserves the human, his rights and liberties, as well as his interests as the highest value.

Indeed, it is highly important to include this strong requirement not only in our laws and legal norms, but also to implement this priority principle to our life.

Therefore, all of our citizens should deeply be aware of their rights and duties and improve their level of political conscience.

Especially, I think, it shall be right indeed to place the need for the strict observance of this constitutional principle, first of all, by officials and those in power, as well as law enforcement personnel in their daily activities as the most urgent issue for today.

In this regard, in the process of the state building and its development, democratic renewal of our society, development of economy and liberalization, spiritual and educational matters and, shortly, the resolution of all related issues and tasks we should never forget the idea with its profound meaning, that is ?The reforms are not for the sake of reforms, but above all for the sake of people and upholding their interests only?.

Speaking simple, whatever sphere should we mention - be it cotton or grain cultivation, social life or new constructions, improving and bettering of our cities and villages ? whatever should we do, it is not difficult to notice that in the final outcome everything that is being done ultimately is for the sake of human, people, who reside in this country.

All of us should sincerely admit that while dealing mostly with the problems of our daily life, unfortunately, we often forget this simple truth.

In this regard, I think we should dwell upon one more issue. Today neither external observers who follow our lives from outside nor our enemies can deny enormous changes along the path of building the democratic state, free and prosperous life in our country.

However, it is sad to note that we still remain weak in open and unbiased informing of the people about the problems along securing such progress, achieving the set objectives, hardships and privations, mistakes and drawbacks in the places, and speaking openly about barriers and obstacles.

Speaking openly, the main reason for that remains to be the remnants and leftovers pertaining to the old regime and old approach and views, which we still bear in mind.

If alongside underscoring the achievements we critically assess the outstanding shortcomings, our mistakes and tell the bitter truth, firstly, to ourselves, then we shall be second to none, and on the contrary, we shall have an opportunity to timely address such problems in our lives.

Speaking about this, I want to pay a special attention to the three main issues.

First, we should fully eliminate the consequences of indifference and carelessness that we are still facing in our life.

Second, we should live with the feeling of permanent involvement with the events, occurring in and around our country.

So that everyone, living in this country, should be fully informed about the complex social processes, should have their own views and attitude and be able to discern what is truth and what is slander and lie.

Third, every citizen should engage in the resolute struggle against the obstacles along our way of development for his own fate, for the fate of his family, and for his future.

Today it is a must of the time to have such approach to the life and one cannot stay away from these strict demands.

In this sense, the point is not about some propaganda, but it is about revealing the truth for the people, making people think independently.

Since at the moment, given the complex state of affairs with regard to the clash of various political interests in international arena, only the nation and society with its own opinion and life position, can turn into an undefeatable force and be able to build its future on its own and with reason.

Speaking about human rights and their interests, multilaterally protecting and ensuring them, ways of democratizing and liberalizing society, we can vividly observe that this topic has always been there in the world, and especially, now is turning into an outstanding and urgent issue. And, we have to admit this as natural phenomena.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I want to briefly dwell upon the foundations and principles, which were taken as basis along the way of democratic renewal of our Uzbekistan and building new society.

First, I think it is difficult to come across any country in the world, which nowadays rejects the basic democratic principles.

However, as those countries needed tens and hundreds of years to achieve democracy and establish its foundations, yet many other countries have just began to engage in such processes.

Second, taking into consideration the specific features and peculiarities of each and every country, there is no and cannot be for one and single corresponding universal model of democracy.

The export of democracy and its forced imposition from outside is itself contrary to the nature of democracy.

This truth can be lately seen through many examples. Actions aimed at implanting democracy from outside, without taking into consideration the milieu and peculiarities of each state and nation will inevitably lead to grave and dismal consequences similar to those incurred when the communist system was once exported.

Third, Uzbekistan has clearly and plainly determined for itself the path towards the democratic development and building of civil society and this goal is enshrined in our Constitution.

This path rests on the main and generally accepted principles of democracy and freedom. At the same time it is based on the historical, national and religious peculiarities of our country and mentality of our people.

We make our gradual steps towards the goal of building the democratic society not for the sake of pleasing someone, reporting to someone or seeking pseudo-respect, but above all, for attaining an objective chosen by the free will of our people and meeting to our national interests. And we shall not ever turn away from this path.

Along with that, it is necessary to speak openly that we resolutely reject the outside interference into our internal affaires aimed at deviating Uzbekistan from its independent policy and its subjugation to someone?s will, the politics of exerting pressure upon us and dictating under various guises.

These attempts are doomed to fail and it is necessary to put en end to hypocrisy on this matter.

Dear friends!

Time passes by inexorably and 2005 declared the ?Year of Health? in our country is about to draw to close.

We have all grounds to stress with satisfaction a great deal of work carried out and grand positive results achieved this year whose main meaning and essence is expressed in the motto ?Only the healthy people, healthy nation are capable of great deeds?.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to briefly dwell on how projects and events carried out this ?Year of Health?, contributed, above all, to raising the healthcare sphere to a new level and positively affected the lives of our people, our nation.

I believe that the scale of work in this direction is evidenced by the fact that during the year 38 medical centers and hospitals were rebuilt, undergone capital repair or reconstructed, while 93 treatments ? recreational clinics were provided with modern medical equipment.

Also, the putting into operation of outpatient clinics capable of receiving 10,500 per shift, and in particular, 210 rural medical posts shall undoubtedly serve treatment of numerous patients and prevention of diseases.

Specifically, as a result of capital repair and reconstruction of rural medical posts 800 thousand our countrymen were able to receive quality medical treatment and 2 million people were rendered additional service, which should be considered as an important step in this direction.

It should specially noted, that these kinds of exemplary works are carried out not only in the capital, but also in all provinces and districts.

In particular, new clinics have been built in Kogon town of Bukhara province and Yangibozor district of Khorezm province, while a new maternity hospital center opened in Bogot district.

A great deal of construction and repair work has been carried out at the central hospital of Qorauzak district in Karakalpakstan and central hospitals in Andijan, Jizzakh, Samarkand and Namangan provinces have been provided with necessary medical equipment. Over UZS 1,5 billion have been spent for these works.

Besides, the newly established medical and social infrastructure installations include cardiology and specialized urology centers in the town of Karshi, the Oqdaryo branch of an ambulance center in Samarkand province, a sanatorium for war and labor veterans in Ghallaorol district of Jizzakh province, a new unit at ?Chimgan? sanatorium and a children aqua park in Ferghana city.

Also, the central and local centers of the republican ambulance were provided with 127 special cars and modern communication means, which will certainly contribute to enhancing the efficiency of this medical service.

On the basis of two medical institutions in the capital the Tashkent Medical Academy has been set up to train qualified personnel capable of meeting modern demands in the sphere of healthcare.

A teacher-training center has now started operating within the Academy. Besides, one thousand students began studying at three new medical colleges, which will also serve improving the level of training the medical personnel.

In the \"Year of Health\" the serious results we have achieved in the most important sphere for us ? safeguarding the motherhood and childhood, reproductive health, increasing the medical culture, as well as bettering the family health, brings joy to all of us.

Especially, it is worth attention the improvement of the screening system of mothers and children, premarital medical examinations, expansion of measures aimed at patronage and inoculation of pre-one-year old babies, and other important events have led to decrease in the death of babies by 7,4 percent compare to last year, and the cases with regard to death of mothers ? by 6,8 percent.

This year two more such modern medical centers ? the screening centers in Urgench and Navoi ? joined nine other already available in our country.

We have to admit openly, at the moment not everyone can bear the costs of travelling to our capital or other big cities in order to visit the qualified doctors, go through necessary medical procedures, and receive consultations. Especially, we do understand well that this is a serious issue for the people, residing in far and countryside areas.

While taking this into consideration, in March through September this year the \"Health\" medical ? sanitary trains have been sent to the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Bukhara, and Navoi provinces, known for their harsh natural conditions. Everyone has remained glad of the fact that more than 20,000 people were allowed go through medical examinations at the sites.

Along with that, certainly it is worth mentioning that during the summer school vacations 247,000 pupils have gone to summer student recreational camps, organized by the Ministry for Public Education and Republican Federation of Labor Unions.

For over the past period, yet another exemplary practice has been introduced aimed at strengthening the health of the population ? special flour, enriched with iron for the purposes of fighting anemia, was set for the production. At the same time, we have designed the separate program on the iodine deficiency, and now it is under realization.

I think, you are aware of what kind of infectious diseases are now spreading around the world.

This problem requires constant vigilance and watchfulness on the part of all of us, and above all, of the medical employees. We should underscore with great joy that as a result of timely measures and efforts on the part of medical employees the penetration of such dangerous diseases into our territory has been prevented. And, we should specially express our gratitude to medical personnel, who have contributed in not allowing such evils onto our doorsteps.

In 2005 we continued our activities in safeguarding the health of lonely elders and disabled, as well as the neediest, and this demonstrates that this issue is of priority attention to us.

As an example we can cite that there were more than 2,500 children from poorer families in Kashkadarya, Samarkand, Jizzakh, Syrdarya, Tashkent provinces and city of Tashkent were medically examined jointly with foreign specialists. In addition, we could state that 280 disable children have had plastic surgeries in cooperation with ?Soghlom Avlod Uchun? Foundation.

Obviously, it is not difficult to imagine that these activities require professional skills and major resources and they made it easier for hundreds of parents with their problems and concerns. But the most important that children themselves had started to look at the world, with new visions, hopes and beliefs.

To the good deeds we could add that 4,000 veterans of war and labor, disable people have had an opportunity to improve their health in National Center of gerontology for 150 places, which was created under the ?Nuroniy? health-center.

It is worth attention that in specialized medical-centers nationwide 15,570 similar group of patients had treatments and the total number for the last year exceeded 2,500 people.

In particular, more than 2300 of patients have received treatment in the centers of urology, surgery, eye surgery and cardiology of the republic. More than UZS 1.5 billion were allocated from state budget for that purpose.

We can draw many similar examples. Substantial works on strengthening of the legal framework of the public health service have been done this year. In particular, it includes the elaboration of the draft law on medical activity, which at the present time is being discussed. Moreover, making additions and amendments to the laws on citizens? healthcare, on medicine and pharmaceutical activity is under consideration.

In the framework of another contemporary issue, which is envisaged by the ?Year of the Health? program, comprehensive propaganda and agitation works are taken aimed at increasing of medical culture of the population, forming of life views and approaches related to a healthy way of life.

Therefore, it is necessary to mention that more than 80000 activities on different themes and directions were held nationwide, in which more than 2 million of people had taken part.

In particular, two-volume book ?Basics of healthy way of life? was published, more than 1200 programs were broadcast via central and regional TV and radio channels, a TV marathon ?Four times no!? was organized on the television.

In this context, methodical recommendations and multimedia programs issued under the title ?Year of health: essence and importance? undoubtedly will serve to increase the medical culture of the population.

The use of modern information resources, in particular, Internet, with the purpose of propaganda of the healthy way of life, prevention of drug addiction and spread of AIDS among pupils and students is widely adjusted.

At the same time, meetings and discussions aimed on propaganda of reproductive health of women and healthy family are carried out in suburban makhallas (local neighbourhood).

I believe it is necessary to stress the activities taken in order to make a physical training and going in for sports as a rule of our life.

We have to accept that the organization of various competitions, sport games during the year in makhallas, enterprises and establishments, primarily a result of special attention paid to the popularization of sport in our country. Obviously, participation of nearly 3,5 million women in sport events deserves special praise and testifies the increased level of their involvement.

At the moment, 2 million students attend sports sections nationwide, 40 percent of which composed by women. In general, the increase of the number of younger people engaged in sports to 20% is a pleasing phenomenon.

Sport events, carried out in the Republic in 2005, such ?Barkamol avlod?, sports and athletics contest among the women, international competition on art gymnastics ?Beauty of the East? and others significant sport events are recognized as important events in sport life of our country.

Briefly speaking, the fact that as a total 165,8 billion sums had been spent until November 1, 2005 on implementation of the program \"Year of Health\" obviously demonstrates the volume and scales of works executed in the given direction. Availing myself of this opportunity, allow me to express on my own behalf and on behalf of the people gratitude to state agencies and non-governmental organizations, World Health Organization and its regional branches, international charitable organizations and donors that actively participated in implementation of that program, as well as, to all people, who have contributed on their own good will to that noble activity.

While we draw preliminary results of the \"Year of Health\", it is worth to note with pleasure that we gave to that year such a name, which allowed us to conduct a huge amount of work. Only figures and examples mentioned above describe a lot.

While availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to say another thing. I think that you will share the notion that if all of the measures within the framework of the \"Year of Health\" could serve the cause of saving the life of even one child and could treat even one patient, we needed to and had to name 2005 as such.

Dear fellow countrymen!

In this regard, a question arises: what main objectives we are pursuing by naming with sincere intentions each forthcoming year by a certain name?

Above all, it should be said that along with our many other deeds, and also in naming any certain year, we set as priority objectives the issues as to ensure human and its interests, strengthen peace and tranquillity in our society, the state of kindness and mercy, and humaneness, as well as address urgent problems, bothering the majority.

Therefore indeed, each occasion we thoroughly study the attitude of our people to this issue, undertake broad analysis, and seriously tackle this issue.

Hence, naming the new year and adopting the special program on it, as well as implementing it, is the issue of paramount importance for all the people, residing in this country, of both social, economic, spiritual, as well as political significance.

Certainly, we all understand well that goals and problems in this direction can not be fully addressed in a year. However, it is no doubt that directing all of our attention and joining together the material resources and opportunities, and channelling them to address the set objectives within the program shall serve as an important factor along reaching the higher frontiers ahead of us.

At the same time, from the early start we ought to define the financial sources, which shall fund these priority objectives. Speaking about this, alongside the central budget funds, the local government agencies, non-state organizations, and firstly, citizen institutions, self-government bodies, and makhallas, in particular, should attract the persons, who are able to render true practical support, to this noble cause.

And, this is of main importance. In this regard, the mapping out of necessary measures, building up the public opinion, and broadly holding public awareness and propaganda work occupies a special place. In implementing the program, oriented to a certain social direction, above all, the thorough study of its legal basis, defining of what more new laws and normative documents yet needed to be adopted, taking aside obstacles, which serve as a barrier along the path, and if needed, providing for necessary privileges and additional opportunities on the part of the state, shall take the foremost significance.

Certainly, our sincere intentions and dreams and aspirations can be big, and in keeping with them the New Year can be named by some beautiful names. But, as they say the love is one thing, the interest is yet another, we should be far from blank talks and think more about the practical side of our dreams and aspirations, about the ways how to realize them.

Nevertheless, the set objectives of ours shall indeed bear the expected results if only they attract attention of the people, capture their souls, and advocate to worthily contributing to this cause.

Dear fellow countrymen!

In order to once again clearly imagine how our aforementioned sincere goals and aspirations are being realized, I think it is worth recalling what names we have given to the previous years.

You are all aware, that 1997 was named in our country as the \"Year of human interests\", 1998 ? \"Year of family\", 1999 - \"Year of women\", 2000 ? \"Year of healthy generation\". Along with that, 2001 ? the \"Year of mothers and children\", 2002 ? \"Year of honouring the elderly\", 2003 - \"Year of prosperous makhalla\", 2004 ? \"Year of kindness and mercy\", and this year ? \"Year of Health\" has taken the deserved place in the history of our independence.

As we see, their deep humane essence and philosophy, as well as social direction inalienably link all of these years with each other.

With a view of consistently continuing these works and taking them up to a new stage, I want to propose to announce the upcoming year 2006 as the \"Year of charity and medical personnel\" in our country. Probably, you are dears present here in this magnificent building may ask the question of how these notions of sponsorship and doctors are interrelated to one another. While speaking about this, above all, I want to draw your attention to one notion. It is natural to compare charity with doctor\'s activity and equalling to the practice of granting cure to the person.

What do we understand when we talk about a sponsor, or charity? The sponsor means first of all to be a generous, to render a gratuitous aid.

In my opinion, the notions of charity and generosity cannot be taken apart from each other. Hence, I want to recall once again the following wisdom, stipulated in the holy hadiths, which is \"Allah, the Almighty, is generous, He loves generosity. He is doer of good, He loves the goodness\". The sponsorship is not only about sharing a part of one\'s wealth for the purposes of charity. This is neither an almsgiving from religious point of view, nor offering alms.

We know charity as a practical embodiment of the most sincere feelings in the human innermost and heart. That is, when we say a charity giver, we imagine, speaking shortly, the people, who live doing good, who strive to render help and assistance to the poorest, orphans and parentless, and neediest, share the grief of other people, and better the native suburb, or town.

I think we all realize well what a profound meaning has the wise saying in the Noble Koran \"Do hasten among yourselves in engaging in good and piety\".

Sometimes I cannot help but be astonished when I hear that our magnanimous and generous fellow countrymen, while letting no one know and speaking nothing, live by supporting orphanages, neediest families, as well as assisting disabled and lonely people.

Frankly speaking, not everyone can do these good things. For doing this, what higher features the person should possess.

If we shall come out from this, I think it is not difficult to imagine that the noble deeds by generous and gratuitous men of charity go in full correspondence and get closely interlaced with activity of the hardworking and devoted doctors and nurses, who ease the pains of people and share their grief and troubles.

Let us imagine benign woman and compassionate mother, whose biggest wealth is nothing but her dearest child. She visits the doctor asking for the recovery and if you wish for the salvation for her dearest child.

The doctor, while fulfilling his or her duties and treating the child, with her generous and sincere service and loyalty grants cure not only to that infant, but also the troubled heart of the mother. By this the doctor demonstrates the nobility and humanistic features, which cannot be measured by or compared with anything in the world.

There is no doubt, that the person with pure heart and soul only, the one who believes that his life credo is to sacrifice himself to other people is able to such good and pious deeds.

At the moment, there are thousands of hardworking paramedics around us ? the skilled surgeons, experienced cardiologists, therapists and pediatrists, as well as diligent nurses ? working, whilst practicing such faith.

We all comprehend well how invaluable is the place and significance of such people of medicine, devoted to their profession and skilled, in our everyday and healthy lives.

However, please tell me, dear friends and brothers, do we pay enough attention in honoring such hardworking people, in worthily assessing and stimulating both materially and spiritually their diligent, hard, and responsible work?

Look, we praise the work of the skilled cotton growers, grain cultivators, workers, or builders, we award them with titles of heroes, and, if you wish, we unveil monuments devoted to them. And, indeed, these people deserve such high respect and reverence.

However though, do we remember of installing any monument to doctors ? excluding the one to our ancestor Ibn Sino (Avicenna) ? whose hard and diligent work doesn\'t yield to the one in other spheres?

Nevertheless, I wish we do not forget that not only our state and society, but also all of us owe to the people working in the medical sphere.

Dear friends!

As we announce the forthcoming year as the Year of \"Charity and medical personnel\", firstly we aim to strengthen the sponsorship movement, its status and significance, establish legal basis of this issue, and nourish broad public opinion so that such generous and honourable efforts take the deserved place in our society.

For these purposes, to make charity givers feel that engaging in such noble deeds is an inalienable part of their lives, we should ensure legal guarantees and privileges on the part of the state. And, I think, that we should adopt charter on the charity activity to comprehensively stimulate them.

At the moment, we also should keep in mind the issues of promoting the features of kindness and generosity in conscience and mindset of our entire nation, and above all, of our youth, as well as to much enhance this movement which is in fact our national value.

It is an open secret that given the conditions of market relations, someone now lives well through utilizing his God-granted mind and strength and labouring hard, and still another one has not yet fully adjusted himself to such complex conditions.

Along with that, we also should not forget about the persons, who are in need of help and support by virtue of nature or for some other reasons, and about less-fortunate people. We should direct the attention of state and society to these very people, and we all should act together to render help to them.

While speaking about doctors and others engaged in medicine, we should consistently continue our work, initiated in this sphere, much strengthen the material ? technological basis of healthcare, create worthy conditions of labour and life for medical employees, and pay primordial attention to stimulating their work.

In this regard, few days ago the decree \"On improving the system of salaries of the medical employees\" has been announced over the television and press.

According to the decree, starting January, 2006 we aim to improve the wage tariff scale for medical employees, design wages for them and introduce the system of stimulation of work in line with their qualification, complexity of their work, knowledge and skill, as well as their contribution in carrying out their professional duties and treating people. And based on such standards it is envisaged to increase their salaries for up to 35 percent.

And for now, the most important objective for all of us is to fully implement the provisions of the said decree on ground. So that, each and every people, engaged in the sphere of medicine, - ranging from highly skilled doctors to ordinary nurses and medical employees ? do feel the practical impact of this decree in their lives.

Dear friends!

We have all grounds to say that announcement of the New Year as the Year of charity and medical personnel shall interlace with sincere features of our nation, and at the same time, shall become a meaningful and inalienable continuation of the Year of Health.

Certainly, based on our annual experience, we shall elaborate a separate program on the New Year and define the necessary measures on its implementation.

I hope that government agencies alongside with ministries, non-government organizations, as well as social groups, and in general, each and every person, who wishes to contribute to this noble deed, shall participate in this process with their practical proposals and opinions.

If all people residing in this sacred soil, - regardless of their nationality, language, and religion, which live by saying that Uzbekistan is my sole Homeland ? shall labour hard and consistently, then, be aware that no force shall overcome us, our country and nation shall never be obedient to any one.

I truly believe, by leaning upon the great will and resolve of our people, by whom it could overcome enormous barriers along the path of 15 years of its sovereign development and was able to withstand any trials and hardships; we shall certainly achieve the set new and higher frontiers.

Time and again I congratulate you with the Constitution Day and wish all of you health, happiness and luck, and bounties to your households.


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