UNODC and Uzbekistan Cooperate to Bring Penal Legislation in Line with International Standards

9 August, Tashkent - The Office of the Prosecutor General of Uzbekistan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) brought together a group of criminal justice practitioners, experts and international partners at a roundtable in Tashkent aiming to discuss prospects for penal reform in Uzbekistan.

"The National Action Strategy on Five Priority Development Areas for the development of the country covering the period from 2017 to 2021 foresees the humanization of our system for the execution of punishments", noted Mr. Erkin Yuldashev, Deputy General Prosecutor of Uzbekistan. "As part of this effort, we aim to improve prison conditions, enhance our system for prisoner classification and promote social reintegration of offenders".

During the event, which was dedicated to the Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July 1918), participants discussed international prison standards and related best practices for prison management, social reintegration of offenders and the application of alternatives to incarceration.

"The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners constitute the universally acknowledged minimum standards for the management of prison facilities and the treatment of prisoners", highlighted Mr. Koen Marquering, UNODC Criminal Justice Program Coordinator. "These standards can serve as a basis for the development of a concept for the improvement of penal legislation in Uzbekistan, as foreseen by the country's National Action Strategy and its implementation plan for this year."

To support the Uzbek authorities in this endeavor, UNODC presented a legal analysis of Uzbekistan's current Penal Code. Experiences with penal reform in other countries were presented, whilst the roundtable also served as a platform to exchange views on specific issues, such as working with children and other vulnerable categories, treatment of people with drug use disorders and management of violent extremist prisoners and prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons.

The roundtable was held within the framework of the UNODC Program for Central Asia and the 2017-2019 Action Plan ("Roadmap") on the further development of cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNODC. As part of this roadmap, the Government of Uzbekistan and UNODC have agreed to partner on prison reform in the country.