NEWS AND EVENTS
February 20, 2014
Freedom of religion in Uzbekistan
Committee on religious affairs under the Cabinet of ministers of Uzbekistan published a denial to the material “World report 2014: Uzbekistan”.
The statement of the committee said that information on situation of human rights, including rights of believers, in Uzbekistan are politically motivated as before.
The committee noted that from year to year human rights reports on Uzbekistan copy the same moments, which already lost their actuality.
The Uzbek body said that there is no ground for phrase “those, who religious practice goes beyond rigid frameworks, set by the state, are prosecuted.” The committee said that the authors of the material have no knowledge on legislation of Uzbekistan or have own goals and agenda.
According to the committee, the law of Uzbekistan “On freedom of faith and religious organizations” currently acknowledge as one of easily implemented laws in the world, including in the CIS states. The committee said that some CIS states have more tough laws, which set rigid norms and requirements to religious organizations and believers. This was also stated at annual meeting of the OSCE member states in Warsaw in the end of September 2013.
The statement said that according to the legislation, limits to the religious freedom can be imposed only to ensure national security and public order, protect health life, rights and freedom of the citizens.
There are 2,223 religious organizations of 16 various religions in Uzbekistan, including those which are considered as non-traditional.
Along with large religious organizations such as Uzbekistan Muslims Board, Russian Orthodox Church, there are such organizations as Church “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, church “Voice of God”, Buddhist Temple and the Society for Krishna Consciousness. They have equal rights before the law.
Representatives of these organizations said that various disputes and misunderstandings arose in the result of bad knowledge of the legislation. Such cases are exaggerated by so called “fighters for faith freedom”.
The Uzbek committee said that any legal entities and individuals can produce or import religious materials.
In 2013, Uzbekistan produced 138 titles of religious materials and imported 3,373 titles of religious materials related to Islam. Inter-religious Biblical Union of Uzbekistan presented four books, produced in Uzbekistan, and imported 5,000 copies of Bible along in 2013.
Russian Orthodox Church imported about 700 titles of religious materials with total copies of 60,000 units, the statement said.
The committee said that over 11,000 people annually carry out pilgrimage inn Uzbekistan. Muslims carry out Hajj and Umrah. Christians visit Israel, Russia and Greece, it added.
All believers can freely visit religious organizations. The committee said that Uzbekistan adheres to norms of human rights and the Government carries out weighted policy in religious sphere. The committee called that it is best to visit Uzbekistan and to familiarize with situation in place.