The Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU) has joined the OSh campaign devoted to Uzbekistan’s Constitution Day and has started distributing copies of the constitution in Tashkent.
The OSh (Ommaviy Shodlik or Mass Joy in Uzbek) campaign, devoted to the 20th anniversary of the Uzbek constitution’s adoption and marked on 8 December, is extremely important society’s union, HRAU’s leader Elena Urlayeva believes.
She is confident that the main objective of this campaign, initiated by the opposition Birdamlik movement, is not about wearing white clothes and scarves between 1 and 10 December or is not about a photo competition or prizes, but about “increasing people’s awareness of constitutional provisions”.
“Birdamlik’s leader Bahodyr Choriyev in his work stresses the constitution which
|We decided to distribute copies of the constitution every day”"|
is why we like the current OSh campaign,” Urlayeva said.
She said most Uzbeks only knew that the constitution existed but did not know about its contents.
Everyone is welcome to join Mass Joy
In support of OSh, HRAU activists issued an appeal inviting everyone who wished to join Mass Joy and after making 40 copies of it and putting white scarves on, they went to a square in front of Tashkent’s Alay market.
There they managed to distribute only 30 copies when half an hour later police officers invited activists to a police station but they managed to avoid arrests.
Urlayeva believes the distribution of appeal had positive significance.
“Several people telephoned us and said they found our fight for the rule of law useless but alliance activists managed to dissuade them,” Urlayeva said.
For example, activists spoke about their fight for the abolition of child labour in the cotton industry which ended victoriously this year because there were fewer schoolchildren in cotton fields this season compared to the previous seasons.
Copy of the constitution for everyone
The current “white” campaign aims to distribute copies of the Uzbek constitution on Constitution Day but the HRAU decided to speed up this process.
“We decided to distribute copies of the constitution every day,” Urlayeva said.
However, the alliance immediately faced difficulties with acquiring these copies. Urlayeva managed to buy only three copies of the constitution despite looking for them in seven newspaper kiosks.
Activists solved the situation by photocopying the constitution.
“We picked all chapters and articles in the constitution that concern human rights and freedoms,” Urlayeva said.
Activists distributed 20 copies yesterday and plan to double this figure today.