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The record of government actors described above constitutes a systematic failure on the part of the Uzbek state to protect women from domestic violence. As such, it contradicts Uzbekistan's own domestic statutory obligation to protect the right to life and security of all persons, regardless of their sex. Uzbekistan is also clearly in violation of its international obligations under the ICCPR and CEDAW.

Certain aspects of state policy, such as the encouragement of community involvement in cases of family abuse, are positive in that they remove the question of domestic violence from the private sphere of the family and implicitly recognize the social harm caused by this crime. However, the fact that mahalla officials, effectively representatives of the executive branch, consistently block women's access to legal remedies, to divorce, or to criminal justice, means that the state permits the existence of discriminatory barriers to women's equal protection under the law. Further, government policy ostensibly aimed at preserving the family provides a clear disincentive for mahalla officials and others to pursue or allow the criminal prosecution of abusers, or divorce. Such officials clearly fear that this would reflect badly on their community or bring upon them the censure of their superiors because of their failure to effect "reconciliation." Similarly, the failure of the police to respond effectively to women's complaints also indicates a clear breach by the state of its obligation to ensure legal equality to women. And judicial indifference to evidence of domestic violence provided by women seeking divorces also effectively blocks women's access to civil remedy, and displays a striking disregard for their rights.

The situation for women victims of domestic violence is undeniably bleak. It requires urgently to be addressed. While public education carried out by the women's committee, insofar as it addresses the impermissibility of domestic violence in all cases, is positive, it is clearly an insufficient response to the problem. In particular, the Uzbek government has an obligation to revise fundamentally its approach to battering and other forms of domestic abuse, and to ensure that at all levels of government and the criminal justice system it is recognized that domestic violence is inadmissible and will be punished with the full rigor of the law. This, however, will require leadership from the highest level and intensive action to ensure that mahalla and other officials, as well as police and others in the criminal justice system, are clearly charged with upholding the law and with protecting the rights of women.

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