Gay and Bisexual Men Face Abuse, Prison in Uzbekistan

(Berlin) – Men in Uzbekistan who engage in consensual same-sex sexual conduct face arbitrary detention, prosecution, and imprisonment as well as homophobia, threats, and extortion, Human Rights Watch said today. Uzbekistan should guarantee rights to personal security, privacy, and nondiscrimination by decriminalizing consensual sexual conduct between men.

Uzbekistan, a current member of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, has undertaken key human rights reforms since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, but the criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct remains a significant stain on Tashkent’s record. Article 120 of the current criminal code punishes consensual sexual conduct between men with up to three years in prison.

Transcript

ACTOR’S VOICE, Muzaffar
My boyfriend and I got caught by police kissing in the park.
 

We were detained for questioning. An officer forced us to hand over and unlock our phones.
 

When the police found photos and videos of us kissing, he threatened us with criminal prosecution.

 

VOICEOVER

In Uzbekistan, consensual same-sex relationships between men are illegal.  

 

Article 120 of the criminal code punishes consensual sex between males with up to three years in prison. 

 

Gay and bisexual men experience discrimination, violence, blackmail, and extortion from both state and non-state actors. They have almost no protections. 

 

ACTOR’S VOICE, Muzaffar
My mother had to bribe the police to get us out.

 

VOICEOVER

Uzbekistan’s president claimed respect for human rights is “central” in reforming Uzbekistan.

 

As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Uzbekistan should uphold international human rights standards and decriminalize consensual same-sex conduct.

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