Strengthening the rule of law and human rights protection in Uzbekistan

Strengthening the rule of law and human rights protection in Uzbekistan

Project Summary

Since 2016, Uzbekistan's Government initiated a comprehensive package of legal and judicial reforms to strengthen the rule of law, promote and protect fundamental human rights and freedoms and enhance the justice system's efficiency in alignment with international standards. These efforts included ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), adopting new laws on gender equality, revising criminal procedural legislation, and introducing new tools and services to improve access to justice in conformity with international human rights practices and standards. In addition, the mandate of the National Human Rights Institution (Ombudsperson's Office) in Uzbekistan was enhanced, which was for the first time accredited by GANHRI (with B-status in 2020).  

These reforms improved Uzbekistan's stance in internationally recognized indices and rankings, i.e., Rule of Law Index 2021 (85th out of 139 countries globally) and the 2020 World Bank's Women, Business and Law (134th out of 190). Despite the progress and achievements, the people of Uzbekistan, particularly the most vulnerable populations such as women, youth in rural areas, and people with disabilities, continue to lack awareness about their rights and skills for their protection. They also have limited access to affordable and effective justice remedies, including free legal advice, representation, and justice services in compliance with human rights standards.

The Project will address the mentioned challenges by supporting the national efforts in strengthening the legal and institutional frameworks that will improve the provision of free legal aid and people-centered justice services, as well as will assist in developing the capacities of NHRI (Ombudsperson's Office) and the justice system actors in line with the international human rights and the rule of law standards. Such measures will further enhance the rule of law and promote, protect, and fulfil human rights in Uzbekistan.

The leading partner of the Project is the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan. In addition, the Project will also cooperate with the NHRI (Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis Of the Republic of Uzbekistan For Human Rights (Ombudsperson's office)), Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan, free legal aid providers, civil society, and non-government organizations. While the draft FLA law mentions that MoJ will be responsible for costing the free legal aid needs, it is expected that MoF shall support their requests. The project will suggest to MoJ engage MoEF in the costing exercise so that allocations will be ensured.

The primary goal of the Project is 'Population especially rural women, youth and people with disabilities benefit from increased access to justice, provided via effective free legal aid mechanisms focused on their legal needs.'

Main objectives:

Objective 1. Provide support to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan to set up /establish legal and institutional foundations for the provision of primary and secondary free legal aid in line with human rights standards 

Objective 2. Provide support to Ombudsperson's office in Uzbekistan to strengthen its capacities to promote and protect human rights of vulnerable groups

Objective 3. Enhance capacities of the civil society organizations to promote inclusive access to justice and human rights for all (esp. women, youth and people with disabilities)

Expected results:

  • Free Legal Aid System is established and increasingly sustained by the Ministry of Justice

  • Free legal aid providers are better equipped to deliver responsive and accountable justice services in line with fair trial standards and due process of law

  • The institutional capacity of the Ombudsperson's office is strengthened in line with Paris Principles

  • Public outreach capacities of the Ombudsperson's Office are enhanced, and public visibility of improved

  • Civil society organizations and representatives of vulnerable groups are empowered to promote and protect human rights, with the focus on the rights of women, youth and people with disabilities

  • Discussion platforms between CSOs and justice sector actors are established to enhance access to justice



September 2022


December 2024






Ministry of Justice









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