Children make up 40 percent of the population of Uzbekistan, with young people under the age of 30 accounting for 64 percent of the population.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was one of the first international instruments to which Uzbekistan adhered (on December 9, 1992) the day after the Constitution was adopted.
A body of statutes regarding the Rights of the Child is enshrined in the Constitution, and those rights are also defined and guaranteed by the Civil Code (1995) and the Family Code (1998). More than ten statutes, 30 presidential decrees and decisions, some 40 decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers, and 30 departmental regulatory instruments have been adopted so far, setting forth the fundamental rights of the child and how those rights are to be protected.
In 2008, the Parliament of Uzbekistan ratified two highly important International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions: the Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (Convention No. 138) and the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (Convention No. 182).
The same year, the Government adopted a decision on measures for the implementation of these ILO conventions and a relevant National Plan of Action. This Plan provides, among other things, for improved legislation in this area, a system for monitoring the implementation of the ILO conventions, and extensive outreach to inform the public about its content. The decision includes a regulation prohibiting organizations and individuals from forcing children to work and requiring compliance with legislation setting out the rules and conditions for juvenile labor.
In order to increase the liability of business entities and individuals who violate the ban on juvenile labor or labor legislation on persons below the age of 18, the Act on Additions to the Administrative Liability Code, which improves legislation to protect the rights of minors, was adopted on December 21, 2009.
A working group within the Ministry of Justice to develop proposals for improving labor legislation based on the requirements and standards of the ratified conventions was established by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on March 25, 2011. The working group issued an expanded list of jobs that individuals below the age of 18 are prohibited from performing, due to the poor working conditions. Its primary objectives and areas of work are as follows:
To coordinate the work of the relevant ministries, agencies and stakeholder organizations to implement measures, programs, and plans based on the ILO conventions;
To elaborate specific programs and actions designed to fulfill Uzbekistan’s commitments deriving from the ILO conventions;
To conduct the necessary outreach work on the content and importance of the ILO conventions being implemented in Uzbekistan; and
To engage with international organizations, including those accredited in Uzbekistan, on matters of education, healthcare, labour, employment, social protection, and social and labour legislation.
The Council of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection have jointly adopted recommendations on collective labor agreements that include conditions and requirements for employers when hiring minors, and additional benefits and safeguards for young people.
Another important step in this process was taken when the Cabinet of Ministers adopted on March 26, 2012 a decision on additional measures to implement in 2012 and 2013 the Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor, and the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor ratified by the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Implementation of ILO conventions, ratified by Uzbekistan, was elaborated upon by ILO, UNICEF, UNDP, EU Commission, and Uzbek Government officials at the seminar held on May 3-4, 2012 in Tashkent.