The birth of a new nation and its eventual transformation into a modern society is usually accompanied by tumultuous and often tragic events. In the case of Uzbekistan, the extensive changes that have taken place since the country’s independence on 1 September 1991 have been peaceful and amazingly vibrant.
As Uzbekistan celebrates its 25th anniversary of independence, it is worth noting that the country’s quarter-century of independence fades in comparison to its remarkable history of over 3,000 years. Cities such as Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent were centers of governance, scientific studies, flourishing trade and high culture, thousands of years before such social and civil structures gained traction in the Western world.
The country’s first and incumbent President Islam Karimov, speaking about Uzbekistan’s independence once stated: “From the first days of our independence the revival of the huge, priceless, spiritual and cultural heritage, created by our ancestors in the course of many centuries, was the most important task, raised to the level of state policy. We regard the revival of spiritual values as an organic, natural process of growth of national consciousness, a return to the spiritual beginnings of our nation, to its roots.”
He noted that the independence for the Uzbeks is the opportunity to be in charge of their own destiny, the destiny of their country, its natural, economic and intellectual resources and to use the enormous material and spiritual potential for the benefit of the people while taking a notable place among the international community.
This internalizing and externalizing of its beliefs and values have led the country to formulate a foreign policy that aims to develop friendly relations and cooperation with countries around the world. Uzbekistan pursues these policies while steadfastly maintaining stances that include resolving all conflicts through peaceful negotiations, non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, and non-alignment with and non-participation in military blocs under any circumstances.
Demonstrating its openness to the world and its commitment to the universal principles of human rights, Uzbekistan joined the United Nations on 2 March, 1992. Since then the country has been promoting its peaceful policy and firm determination to follow the principle of international law. It is party to all major international agreements in the field of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and has been actively promoting UN efforts to ensure global and regional security.
Following its joining of UNESCO in 1993, the country has embarked on cooperating with the UN organization to preserve and develop the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. Sites and monuments in historical cities such as Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara have been included in the list of World Heritage Sites, while the cultural space of Boysun, Navruz and Kattaashula have been identified as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.
Today, the country is a full participant in over one hundred respected and influential international structures, including the organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The SCO is a platform that aims to strengthen stability and security, as well as develop economic cooperation in Central Asia through open and constructive dialogue and partnership among the six countries of the bloc and countries in the region.
In 2015-2016, Uzbekistan has for the third time been chosen for the presidency of the SCO, and, at the organization’s meeting in Ufa in 2015, President Karimov vowed to help fight all forms of terrorism, separatism and extremism in all their manifestations; strengthen and develop mutually beneficial cooperation among the six countries and ensure the steady growth of the organization’s credibility on the international arena.
Throughout its 25 years of independence, Uzbekistan has held firm to its humanistic and moral values. The country’s constitution asserts that "democracy in the Republic of Uzbekistan shall be based upon common human principles, according to which the highest value shall be the human being, his life, freedom, honor, dignity and other inalienable rights."
Respect for human rights and diversity is not only enshrined in the constitution but is an integral element in the daily life of the country’s multi-ethnic population. Equal rights and opportunities for development of their ethnic identity, language, customs and traditions, as well as opportunities for cultural exchanges are provided to all people living in Uzbekistan. The state’s policy to ensure the preservation and strengthening of the historical multi-ethnicity of the country is enshrined by its Constitution and upheld by other legal documents such as the country’s Declaration of Independence and its Law on Citizenship and Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.
Since independence, Uzbekistan has established diplomatic relations with more than 130 countries worldwide. Through bilateral and multilateral agreements with these countries and by complying with all international agreements and initiatives aimed at peace, security, stability and sustainable development around the world, Uzbekistan has cemented its role as an important and integral part of the international community.
Uzbekistan’s move forward along a path of democratization and liberalization of its society and economy, as well as the country’s dynamic growth and its achievements in assuring a high quality of life for its citizens and ensuring the well-being of the population, have earned the country respect and appreciation from the world body and earned it the right to be counted as a reliable and influential member of the global community.
Mr. Bakhromjon ALOEV
Head of Mission of the Republic of
Uzbekistan to the State of Kuwait