June 12, 2014
Statement by the delegate of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Statement by the delegate of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ambassador Vladimir Norov at the 23rd meeting of the International Steering Committee of the ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) (Geneva, 10 June 2014)In Uzbekistan, since the first days of independence, comprehensive protection and promotion of children\\\'s rights, the creation of conditions for their harmonious development and education is identified as one of the main priorities of the state policy.

This is explained by the fact that in our country with a population of 31 million, young people under the age of 18 years comprises about 40% of the population and up to 30 years of age - 64%.

A systemic work on ensuring the rights of children both at the legislative and institutional levels is carried out in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is one of the first countries in the region to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other fundamental international legal instruments, consistently carries out a complex system of measures to fulfill its commitments on the prevention of forced labor and the worst forms of child labor.

More than 15 legal documents have been passed, including the Law \\\"On guarantees of the rights of the child\\\", the National Programme of Action for Child Welfare, the National Action Plan to combat human trafficking, the National Action Plan to implement the ILO Conventions on minimum age for admission to employment and the prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour are being implemented.

This year we are planning to draft 8 laws related to the protection and promotion of the rights of the child. Among them - a law \\\"On protection of children from information that has harmful effects on their physical and spiritual development\\\", revised edition of the law \\\"On Labour Protection\\\", new laws on \\\"Social Partnership\\\" and \\\"On public control.\\\" Currently Uzbekistan has established the conceptual basis for the introduction of Ombudsman for Children, a draft law \\\"On Ombudsman for Children\\\" has been prepared and passed necessary public and international expertise. The Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on administrative responsibility contains an article on the responsibility for the use of child labor in adverse working conditions that may harm the health, safety or morals of a minor. The responsibility of employers for violation of labor legislation and labor protection of minors has also been increased. In order to coordinate the activities of state authorities to ensure the protection of children\\\'s rights in Uzbekistan several government agencies have been established including Commission for Minors, National Center for Social Adaptation of Children, the National Interagency Commission on Combating Human Trafficking, the Coordinating Council on Child labor, the Interagency Working Group on the implementation of ILO Conventions and others. The practice of a parliamentary oversight over the implementation of ILO conventions ratified by Uzbekistan has been introduced. The progress in implementation of the ILO Conventions 138 and 182 is regularly discussed. Non-governmental organizations get actively involved in the activities to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of the child. As part of the UN Global Campaign a wide range of awareness activities in the field of protection of children\\\'s rights are being carried out. In close cooperation with international partners such as UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO, OSCE, ICRC and others over 120 major international instruments on human rights, including Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols, the ILO Conventions on child labor have been translated into Uzbek and published in large quantities. In Uzbekistan there is a practice to adopt and implement annual state programs on topical issues of social policy and international obligations. The current year has been declared - \\\"The Year of a healthy child\\\". Today in Uzbekistan 60% of budget allocations are channeled to social sector, including more than 34% - to education and more than 14.5% - to the healthcare. In accordance with the national program to reform school education and training in the country, a 12 year universal compulsory free education scheme has been established. After 9 years of study at secondary school, pupils study further 3 years in specialized professional colleges and academic lyceums, where each of them along with general education acquire specialized training in 2-3 fields demanded in the labor market. Taking into account that annually about 500 thousand young people graduate professional colleges and enter the labour market, in 2014 Uzbekistan intends to create about 900 thousand new jobs. For the recent years about 9.5 thousand schools were re-built, overhauled and equipped with modern teaching and laboratory equipment (this is almost all existing schools), drastic measures for methodological renewal of the educational process had been implemented. More than 1,500 new professional colleges and academic lyceums were built. Uzbekistan has achieved the UN Millennium Development Goals on full access to universal education. Literacy rate in the country, according to the World Bank, is one of the highest in the world - 99.7%. During 2014-2015 academic year 2.6 million schoolchildren will be provided with 25 million textbooks and tutorials. The State attaches great attention and cares about the strengthening health of children and teenagers. For the last ten years more than 750 million USD have been spent for modernization and providing health facilities with the latest equipment. In the current year within the framework of the State program “Year of a healthy child” a lot of attention would be paid to further strengthening the material-technical base of medical institutions dealing with the health of mother and child, providing them with qualified personnel. During the year, a thorough medical examination will cover almost 6.6 million kindergartens and schools children, improve their health with the iodine-containing preparations. In our country, sport is an integral part of improving children\\\'s health and educating harmoniously developed generation. Not only in cities, but even in the most remote areas modern sports complexes have been built. During 2003-2013 more than 1816 sports facilities were put into operation, which contributed to the massive involvement of children in a systematic sports and enhancing their health conditions. Today in Uzbekistan about two million children, including 842,000 girls, are regularly engaged in more than 30 kinds of sport. Unique three-tier system of sport events - \\\"Umid nihollari\\\" for schoolchildren, \\\"Barkamol avlod\\\" for college students and Universiade for students play significant role in the broad involvement of children and teenagers in sport activities and strengthening of the healthy lifestyle among youth. In the world ranking of the international organization “Save the Children” of 2012, out of 161 countries worldwide Uzbekistan was ranked as 9th among the countries with best healthcare for children. Implementation of programs to achieve the Millennium Development Goals has led to the fact that maternal and infant mortality in the country fell by more than three times, the average life expectancy increased by 7 years, for men it is 73 years, women - 75 years. However, in Uzbekistan we clearly recognize the need for ongoing and systematic work on children\\\'s rights and to strengthen public oversight to prevent the use of forced labor of children under 18 years. Since the 102 session of the International Labour Conference held last June, the Government of Uzbekistan, in cooperation with the social partners, has carried out comprehensive work on the development of constructive cooperation with the ILO on the implementation of international labor standards on the basis of recommendations and conclusions of the Committee of Experts and the Committee on the Application of Standards. In 2013, joint monitoring of child labor has been conducted during the cotton harvest with participation of ILO experts by using IPEC methodology. International observers had unimpeded access to educational institutions, cotton fields and other places of monitoring. According to ILO experts, the outcomes of monitoring showed high awareness of relevant bodies on ILO Conventions on child labor. The monitoring mission found that in 2013 there was no systematic use of forced child labor during the cotton harvest. Taking into account the increasing dynamics in implementation of laws and procedures, some gaps were noted in their application. Cases of child labor took place to a very limited extent. On 25 April 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Uzbekistan, social partners and ILO Moscow Office was signed. It approved a Decent Work Country Programme for 2014-2016. In order to implement this program of technical assistance and the ILO Conventions ratified by Uzbekistan as well as to prevent forced labor and the worst forms of child labor by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers dated 27 May 2014 a Plan of Additional Measures for 2014-2016 was approved. Uzbekistan takes necessary measures to ensure in the coming years mechanization of 80-85% of cotton harvesting. This will drastically reduce manual cotton-picking. Besides, acreage under cotton has been reduced every year. For the years of independence, acreage had been reduced by almost 2 times. Uzbekistan is ready to further strengthen and expand an open and constructive engagement with ILO IPEC in the framework of the Decent Work Country Programme, including on the eradication of forced and child labor. The Government shares the ILO\\\'s efforts to prevent and combat forced labor and the worst forms of child labor based on the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity. We are fully committed to fulfilling our international obligations under the ILO conventions and recommendations of the Committee of Experts and the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards through technical cooperation with the Secretariat of the ILO and its Moscow Office. Thank you for your attention.


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