November 26, 2014
Improving organizational and legal frameworks of NGOs: experience of Uzbekistan
Since the early years of independence, in Uzbekistan it has been created appropriate legal framework that aimed at creating the necessary conditions for the effective activity of NGOs.

Constitution Uzbekistan guarantees the right of citizens to form trade unions, political parties and other public associations, and participate in mass movements. Article 58 of the Constitution states: \"The State safeguards the rights and lawful interests of public associations, creates equal legal opportunities to participate in public life\".

These norms of the Constitution have been developed in a number of special laws of the country that secure the rights and powers of public organizations, as well as guarantees of their activity.

In 1991, it was adopted the Law \"On Public Associations in the Republic of Uzbekistan\", which defines the principles of the establishment and activity of public associations - the principles of voluntariness, equality of their members (participants), self - governance, legitimacy and transparency.

The Law does not allow government intervention and their officials in the activities of public associations as well as interference by public associations in the activity of state bodies and their officials.

In 1999 it was adopted the Law \"On Non-Governmental Organizations\", which determines the legal status of NGOs, order of their establishment and the state registration, the rights and obligations of NGOs, the economic basis of their activity.

Consequently, the Law \"On public funds\", adopted 2003, regulates relations in the creation, operation, reorganization and liquidation of public funds. The law guarantees the freedom of the funds` activity, the inviolability of their property and the protection of business reputation.

The Law \"On guarantees of activity of non-profit organizations\", adopted in 2007, in which are stated the legal framework of guaranteeing the activities of NGOs, the protection their legitimate rights and interests, gave impetus to the development of NGOs. Particularly, according to the law, obstruction of or interference in the activities of NGOs is prohibited. The law also guarantees the right of NGOs to access information and the right to appeal to the state bodies and their officials with requests to obtain information, which are necessary to exercise their statutory activities.

A separate article of the law fixes for the NGOs the right to protection from unlawful decisions of state bodies, acts or inactivity of their officials. A special chapter is devoted to questions relating to the provision of state support for activities of NNO. In particular, by the law it was established such forms of state support as subsidies, grants and social order, the order and the conditions of their release and provision.

The important factor in ensuring the financial sustainability of NGOs is the establishment in the legislation the incentives for paying taxes and other mandatory payments. Thus, in accordance with the Tax Code, NGOs are exempt from payment of tax on corporate income; value added tax; property tax for legal entities; land tax, other taxes and mandatory deductions.

Along with the development of legislation in the country measures were implemented to provide practical support to socially useful activities of NGOs.

So, since 2003, information and methodological support of NGO activities has being undertaken by the Independent institute for monitoring the formation of civil society and its regional divisions in the regions of the country.

The National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan, founded in 2005, whose members include more than 450 public organizations, successfully operates. To date, the association has created an effective system of organizational, financial and material support to its members; furthermore, it is working to consolidate the efforts of NGOs in the implementation of social projects and programs.

To consolidate of specialized NGO is also directed the activity of Women\'s Committee of Uzbekistan and the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, one of the statutory objectives of which is to support women\'s and environmental NGOs respectively.

In 2008, in accordance with the resolution of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the highest legislative body it was established the Public Fund for Support of NGOs and other civil society institutions, as well as the Parliamentary Commission on the management of assets of the fund.

During 2008-2013 years, the State Budget for the implementation of various social projects of NGOs and other civil society institutions in excess of 28.9 billion soums was allocated to Public Fund. According to the decision of the Parliamentary Commission these funds were used to support initiatives of civil society institutions through grant competitions, subsidies and organize social orders.

Starting point for a new phase of development of civil society was a joint meeting of the Chambers of the National Parliament in November 2010, during which the President of Uzbekistan I.A.Karimov launched \"The Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and establishing civil society in the country\". In this Concept the tasks were designated for the development and adoption of new laws that ensure greater participation of civil society institutions in the state and public construction.

Therefore, in December 2013, the Law \"On Ecological Control\" entered into force, according to which NGOs were empowered to implement public ecological control, participation in the preparation and decision-making on environmental protection. By the Law, moreover, NGOs have the right to give their suggestions to appropriate state bodies to take measures aimed at uncovering violations of the legislation in the field of environmental protection and rational use of natural resources.

In addition, draft laws \"On Public Control in the Republic of Uzbekistan\" and \"On social partnership\" are developed and currently under discussion. The National Action Plan for Human Rights is developing, which provides measures for the implementation of public monitoring of compliance with the law, especially by law enforcement and regulatory authorities in the field of protection of human rights and freedoms.

A landmark event in 2013 was the adoption of a Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan ıRP-2085, December12, 2013, \"On additional measures to assist the development of civil society\".

In accordance with the Resolution the measures were implemented to simplify the procedure for registration of NGOs, providing their reporting, improving institutional mechanisms of interactions between government bodies with NGOs. Particularly, since January 1, 2014, the state fee, charged for the state registration of NGOs, is 5 times and the fees charged for the state registration of NGOs symbols is 2.5 times reduced.

The review by judicial authorities handling of state registration of NGOs was shortened from two months to a month. Thus, the Ministry of Justice was instructed to take measures to ensure effective control over the compliance by the state organs with the rights and interests of NGOs, which had been enshrined in the laws and international treaties of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The results of monitoring studies, conducted by our institute, allow us to conclude this speech with asserting that the implementation of these measures contributed to not only increase in the number of NGOs, but also further enhance their role in the implementation of democratic reforms in the country, the development and realization of major programs on socio-economic development.

Erkin Salikhov, director of Independent institute for monitoring the formation of civil society


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