Dec 232014

On the 21st of December, elections were held for Uzbekistan’s “Oliy Majlis” (Parliament) and Local Councils.  Unfortunately, as a human rights defender I can’t say it’s been democratic one.

Here is a quote from the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan that was adopted in 1992:  “Uzbekistan is a sovereign democratic republic. Both names of the state – the Republic of Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan – shall be equivalent”.

The goal was to build a democratic and free state. 23 years later and Uzbekistan still lacks democracy and freedom. [1]

Why did it turn out like this? What kind of mistakes did we commit to fail in such manner as to not have free and democratic society?

In my opinion, there are 4 reasons:

  1. Islam Karimov has been ruling Uzbekistan since 1989 and usurped the government. Here is an extract from the 90th article of constitution:

    “A citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan not younger thirty five, being in full command of the state language and permanently residing on the territory of Uzbekistan for at least 10 years, immediately preceding the elections, may be elected the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. One and the same person may not be the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for more than two consecutive terms”.

     Despite his 2nd term ending in 2010 Karimov is still the president as a dictator. Corruption, brutality, bribery and violation of human rights is widespread.  Karimov’s daughters, Gulnara Karimova and Lola Karimova owns over billions of dollars from corruption and brutality.

2.   Opposition parties as “Birlik” (Unity), “Erk” (Liberty) and “Birdamlik” (Solidarity) which are against Karimov’s regime lack democracy themselves.

Abdurahim Polatov was the leader of “Birlik” movement from 1989 to 2003 and of the “Birlik” party since 2003 totaling over 25 years in leadership. [2]

    Muhammad Salih is the leader of “Erk” since 1990 totaling 24 years.  He’s also the main body for “O.H.H.” (National Movement of Uzbekistan) since its creation in 2011.  Originally, the elected body should leave after 1 year, but new regulation was introduced in 2012 that changed the duration from 1 to 3 years.  I can assuredly say he usurped the position of leadership in “O.H.H.”.  Their next assembly is in 2015 and I’ve no doubt Muhammad Salih will be re-elected once again.

  Regarding the “Birdamlik” and its leader Bahodir Choriev, I had a faith that at least he would live up to his party’s democratic principles.  For this reason I was an active member of this movement since 2011.  On the 26th and 27th of April of 2014 “Birdamlik” had their regular assembly in the city of Saint Louis, USA. [3]. In this assembly “Birdamlik” was changed from a movement to a political party. According to its regulation, the leader of the party would be elected every 3 years. But this regulation doesn’t state how many times this can be done.  In his interview to radio “Sahviy” Bahodir Choriev said that there are no limits. [4, 5] In other words Bahodir Choriev also took the path of Islam Karimov, Abdurahim Polatov and Muhammad Salih. I left the movement since it became a political party.

3.  Such parties as “Hizb ut-Tahrir”, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamic Jihad Union, prohibited in Uzbekistan, want to enact a “Sharia law” also known as “Caliphate”.  Members of these Islamic organizations (except Hizb ut-Tahrir) are actively fighting in the fields of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.

4.  Citizens of Uzbekistan have never lived in free, democratic society and also lack the experience of political activity. For this reason, they aren’t active in any civil societies as opposition movements, political parties, human rights organizations and so on.

What’s interesting is dictator Islam Karimov has been claiming for 23 years that he created free and democratic society. He and secular opposition leaders Abdurahim Polatov, Muhammad Salih, Bahodir Choriev claim democracy and freedom, but in reality they do the opposite. Considering the fact that Muhammad Salih and majority of members of his movement are very religious, I highly doubt they would pursue a secular society.  It is nonsense that religious parties will pursue free and democratic society. Regarding these 4 reasons, we should not be surprised that ruthless regime was established instead of free and democratic society.

What is to be done?  It’s obvious that Islam Karimov won’t do any political, social or economic reforms for they contradict to his aims. It’s unlikely that the opposition leaders will give up their seats for the youth.  “Hizb ut-Tahrir”, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamic Jihad Union are unlikely to respect the following 2 articles from the Constitution:

Article 41: Everyone shall have the right to education. The state shall guarantee free secondary education. Schooling shall be under state supervision.

Article 61: Religious organizations and associations shall be separated from the state and equal before law. The state shall not interfere with the activity of religious associations.

Also they probably won’t even co-operate with secular opposition. In such situation, it is nonsense to expect Uzbekistan citizens to be active for creating a free and democratic society.

For us, Uzbeks, I think Turkish model of free and democratic society is the correct example to follow.  Like in Uzbekistan religion is separate from the state and education since the times of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  GDP per capita is $3 800 for Uzbekistan and $15 300 for Turkey based on the statistics of 2013.  Uzbekistan’s economic progress level is of that of Turkey in 1985.   [6, 7]

In parliament elections of 2002, Turkish political party Justice and Development that was founded in 2001 won the elections with big margins. They managed to earn more than ⅔ of the 550 seats. At the time GDP per capita was $7000.  Nowadays it’s at $15 300 as stated earlier.  As we can see since coming to power this party has achieved tremendous success in both social and economic growth.  It has 7,500,000 members as of 2013.  Their ideologies are economic liberalism and social conservatism.  [8]

Political party like Justice and Development is necessary for Uzbekistan society, too. It all depends whether forward thinking and modern intelligent people among Muslims can create such a party.

Radio stations “Ozodlik” (Liberty), BBC,  “Amerika Ovozi” (Voice of America) don’t produce broadcasts about topics like: leaders of secular opposition not being democratic, what’s necessary for building democracy in Uzbekistan,  arguments and discussions about mistakes, achievements, shortcomings of the opposition.

  There are no direct, live communication with the leaders of opposition Abdurahim Polatov, Muhammad Salih and Bahodir Choriev.  Instead BBC and “Ozodlik” radio stations are busy trying to show Muhammad Salih as the only one and worthy leader. 

The only way out is if radio stations BBC, “Radio Liberty”, “Voice of America” inform the public about social, economic and political situation in Uzbekistan as well as secular and religious opposition’s views. Discussing Muslim countries’ experience on building democratic society and widely covering world experience, we can find a way out from this difficult situation.

Abdujalil Boymatov

President of Human Right Society of Uzbekistan

23rd of December, 2014

Dublin, Ireland


1. Ўзбекистон Республикасининг Конституцияси. (

2. Ўзбек мухолифати етакчилари Абдужалил Бойматовнинг танқидига қандай жавоб беришди!?. 21.08.2011.(

3. Баҳодир Чориев демократми?! 04.05.2014. (

4. Баҳодир Чориев радио тингловчилар саволларига жавоб берди. 01.12.2014.(

5. Ҳуқуқбон ташкилотлар ичида нега ёшлар йўқ? (Давра суҳбати). 02.12.2014. (

6. Turkey GDP – per capita (PPP).(

7. Uzbekistan GDP – per capita (PPP).(

8. Justice and Development Party (Turkey).(

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