Uzbekistan working to strengthen traditional self-governance system

mahallaThe Uzbek authorities told the UN they are working to strengthen civil society. Over a hundred laws are in place regulating the participation of self-governing bodies in various fields in Uzbekistan, with mahalla being one of the unique civil society institutes in the country.

This week, the UN headquarters hosted a ceremony, where Uzbekistan passed chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to Cote d’Ivoire. During its last session as Chairman, the Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan held a briefing titled “Mahalla: a Unique Civil Society Institute in Uzbekistan.”

Recently, the UN General Assembly circulated a report on the mahalla, an institute of citizens’ self-governing body, as an official document at its 71st session in New York.

“The mahalla’s role and significance have always been invaluable in the careful preservation of national and universal values as well as culture, lifestyle, thinking and spirituality of the Uzbek people,” the document says.

It states that Article 105 of the republic’s Constitution enshrines citizen assemblies as territorial units of self-governance.

“As part of the efforts to implement the concept ‘From a Strong State to a Strong Civil Society’, over 100 laws stipulate participation by self-governing bodies in specific social fields,” the document says. It also states that over 10,000 active citizen assemblies are currently successfully fulfilling over 30 social and economic tasks that previously were within the purview of the local authorities.

The Government of Uzbekistan believes that the mahalla should turn into a more effective body, “a real helper of the Uzbek people” – an institution where people could express their views, voice their concerns and come up with proposals. This self-governing institution is actively supported by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.