Общество и Армия
Международная сеть правозащитных организаций в поддержку призывников, военнослужащих и альтернативнослужащих: действия по обеспечению верховенства права
The authorities restrict freedom of movement for persons liable to military service and forcedly collect money from young Uzbek labor migrants for drafting them into military service

Beginning February 2012 the Uzbek authorities began putting special stamps on the passports of young people liable to military service.
The existence of such stamps on the passports would set enough ground for denial of exit to abroad for the bearer of the passport at the border control check-up points by the Committee on Protection of State Borders of the National Security Service. The district level military departments put those stamps on the passports of the persons liable to military service. The stamp has printed word "Liable to military service" in Uzbek or Russian and comes with a signature of the responsible representative of the local military department.

Such method of restriction of freedom of movement is now applied to young Uzbek citizens who are leaving to those countries of the Commonwealth of Newly Independent States which have a non-visa regime with Uzbekistan (which means no need for exit visa from the Uzbek authorities to visit such countries) - e.g. Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Massive exodus of the Uzbek population to those countries is related to labor migration because of increasing unemployment and small wages in the Uzbek economy. Young labor migrants without special stamps on their passports are now denied exit and just sent back to their homes from the border control check-up points of Uzbekistan.
While doing so the border control officers demand they undergo military service of a type of "Mobilized Draft of Reservists" for one month (MDR).

Such restrictions on freedom of movement of the labor migrants have a reason. A military service of MDR type obliges each serviceman to make a payment of a solid amount to the government. Forcing hundreds of thousands of Uzbek labor migrants to undergo an MDR military service might bring huge amounts of money to the government budget which has
been hit by a strong deficit at the moment. We are receiving information almost from all areas of Uzbekistan that representatives of the local military departments are visiting houses of young labor migrants liable to military service and either by explanations or pressure forcing their parents to sign a contract on sending their children to an MDR military service for one month and make a payment of 1,800,000 Uzbek sums (approximately 642 USD under the black market rates) to the government budget. Very often the person undergoing the MDR military service is himself outside the country in labor migration but his parents are still forced to sign a contract on the MDR military service on behalf of their children and make a payment.
Nobody raises a question of how a young serviceman who is outside of the country would accomplish the MDR military service for a month.
Obviously in this case the major goal of the authorities is collection of money for a declining state budget but not military training of the population and improving the defense capacity of the country.

Term "liable to military service" has two meanings: 1) a reservist of the Armed Forces; 2) and in this case young male population liable to military service and registered by the local military departments in their permanent places of residence. According to existing regulations
persons liable to a fixed-term military service and not eligible for a due adjournment of the military service or waiver from the military service and not called up for a fixed-term military service will be assigned to the MDR type of military service for one month. The MDR
military service will be organized based on the territoriality principle for a month and imply making a special money payment to a bank account of the Ministry of Defense of Uzbekistan. A person liable to military service will be assigned to the MDR military service until he reaches 27 years old and will be called up for his service during annual draft periods. In case of emergency situations or military aggression against Uzbekistan the servicemen of the MDR military service are called up for a fixed-term military service under general terms. Upon reaching 27 years old persons who have undergone the MDR military service will be assigned to the military reserve of the Armed Forces. According to independent observers up to 60 % of the persons liable to military service in Uzbekistan undergo the MDR military service.

The described practice grossly violates freedom of movement of the Uzbek citizens. It exists in parallel with an old system of demanding an official permit on adjournment of the military service for young Uzbeks who are under 27 years old and want to apply for an exit visa and leave abroad for different reasons. It is not a secret that very often citizens can receive an official permit on adjournment of the military service after giving bribes to the representatives of the local military departments.

Article 28 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan reads: "Any citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan shall have the right to freedom of movement on the territory of the Republic, as well as a free entry to and exit from it, except in the events specified by law".

Uzbekistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1995. Article 12 of the Covenant reads:

"1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.
4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country".

In 2005, 2007 and 2010 the official delegations of Uzbekistan have continuously promised from the tribunes of the UN Committee on Human Rights and Committee against Torture to abolish exit visas and all remaining restrictions on freedom of movement in the country very soon. But instead of redeeming their promise the authorities have been increasing restrictions on freedom of movement for the last several years. On 7 July 2011 the Uzbek Cabinet of Ministers approved a Decree № 200 adopting eight new types of restrictions on receiving exit visa.
On 15 February 2010 the Uzbek Ministry of Health approved its own Decree № 178 which introduced new types of restrictions for travel of the medical personnel abroad. Beginning late 2010 under the calls of fighting human trafficking the authorities have introduced new restrictions and burdensome requirements for women of 17-40 years old who plan to leave abroad. Most military and law enforcement officers, government public officials are living under the ban of exit outside the state borders of Uzbekistan without any worthwhile reason and have to endure it because they do not want to lose their job or damage their government career.

The Expert Working Group calls on the Uzbek authorities to abolish all existing restrictions for exit except those imposed under the court decision, decisions of investigation bodies on criminal cases and for unfulfilled civic obligation.

The Expert Working Group, 2012.04.20

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