Europe and Central Asia

Uzbekistan: Repeal Article 120

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President Islam Karimov
Republic of Uzbekistan
Dom Pravitelstva
Tashkent 70000

Dear President Karimov,

The conviction of human rights defender and journalist Ruslan Sharipov has raised concerns about the Soviet-era law against consensual homosexual conduct between men that remains in force in Uzbekistan. This law violates both the right to nondiscrimination and the right to privacy.

Article 120 of Uzbekistan’s Criminal Code derives from a provision banning male homosexual conduct that was introduced during the Stalin era. Most successor states to the Soviet Union have repealed this provision. Most states in Europe and around the world that had comparable laws have also repealed them.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has found that laws punishing consensual homosexual acts between adults violate the ICCPR. As you are aware, Uzbekistan ratified the ICCPR in 1996.

We urge you to bring Uzbekistan’s legislation into line with international norms by repealing Article 120 of the Criminal Code.

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