Comments on Article 154 of the Draft Criminal Code of Uzbekistan

This briefing note sets out the clear opportunity presented by the reform to Uzbekistan's criminal code to decriminalise same-sex conduct between men in Uzbekistan, in line with international human rights standards and Uzbekistan’s own Constitution.

On 22 February 2021, Uzbekistan’s draft Criminal Code was published by the Prosecutor General’s Office. Article 120 of the existing Criminal Code prohibited same-sex activity between men. The introduction of draft legislation offered the opportunity to remove this provision. However, the criminalising provision was retained and moved to Article 154.

Article 154 was included in Chapter V, entitled ‘Crimes against family, children and morality’. The wording of the article was unchanged from its Article 120 predecessor.

This briefing note was submitted by the Human Dignity Trust and ILGA-Europe and sets of the clear global and regional trend towards decriminalisation, the human rights breached by the retention of this law and the impacts criminalisation has on LGBT people. Notably, the briefing note states that the existence of Article 154 violates the rights to privacy, dignity, equality before the law, non-discrimination, and freedom of expression- all protected under the Constitution of Uzbekistan and the international human rights treaties to which Uzbekistan is party.

This submission urges the Uzbekistan government not to include Article 154 in its new Criminal Code and to repeal Article 120 as it is in the current Criminal Code. In doing so, Uzbekistan will be acting in accordance with its Constitutional and international human rights obligations.

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