Uzbekistan

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

13

Refugees

2019

1,168,384

International migrants

2019

33,500,000

Population

2020

Overview

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

18 November 2020

B. Pannier, “Uzbekistan’s Coronavirus ‘Success Story’ Rapidly Falls Apart,” RFERL, 30 July 2020, https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistan-s-coronavirus-success-story-rapidly-falls-apart/30756514.html
B. Pannier, “Uzbekistan’s Coronavirus ‘Success Story’ Rapidly Falls Apart,” RFERL, 30 July 2020, https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistan-s-coronavirus-success-story-rapidly-falls-apart/30756514.html

Prior to the pandemic, between two and three million Uzbek nationals worked overseas--primarily in Russia, as well as in countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkey, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. Hard-hit by the repercussions of the pandemic and with many losing their sources of employment, significant numbers of Uzbek migrant workers have sought to return home.

While former Uzbek president Karimov was notoriously disdainful towards Uzbek labour migrants--“Those people who go to Moscow to clean the streets are just lazybones” he stated in June 2013--current president Mirziyoyev has adopted a more favourable stance, appreciating labor migrants’ importance to the Uzbek economy. His government won praise from some for its work assisting stranded migrants to return home during the pandemic (arranging several repatriation flights, trains, and buses). According to Uzbekistan’s Deputy Labour Minister, at least 500,000 had returned as of 29 May, with more returning since. On 21 September, the country’s Ministry of Transport reported that it had arranged for a further 1,800 migrant workers to be returned by train from Samara and Novosibirsk.

On the other hand, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the government’s efforts to repatriate migrant workers have been, at best, erratic, with many thousands remaining trapped outside the country’s borders. Many have been forced to camp out at airports in Russia (see our 24 July Russia update on this platform). Others have attempted to return by bus or car through Russia, often having to spend time in makeshift camps at the Russia-Kazakhstan border as they await transport and permission to cross.

One such camp, near the Kinel train station in Samara Oblast, is designed for 900 people. However, according to HRW, in September some 4,000 migrants, including at least 43 children, were stuck there. No medical care is reported to be available in the camp, and persons are not tested for COVID-19. Journalists from Novaya Gazeta, who visited the camp in September, allege that the camp management has sought to prevent camp residents from speaking to the media about the conditions they face. An additional camp has also been established in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky (Rostov Oblast), from where occasional trains leave for Uzbekistan.

With Covid infection rates significantly higher in labour migration destinations such as Russia than in Uzbekistan, persons who have managed to return have faced quarantine in hastily-erected state run facilities--some of which are no more than cargo containers placed together in rows. In the largest reported site--the “Urtasary” facility in the Tashkent region--3,467 containers were placed together, each containing four beds. In July, the facility was the site of protests, as returnees demanded their release from the carceral-style facility. According to the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, some had been held for more than 30 days without any explanation, far exceeding the recommended 14-day quarantine period. In a video shared by Ozodlik (RFE/RL’s Uzbek service), detainees penned into the camp by iron fencing can be seen calling for their release. Allegations of police brutality also surfaced, and one returnee is reported to have committed suicide following his placement in the facility. The Uzbek Forum for Human Rights has confirmed to the GDP, however, that the Urtasary facility is now closed. Returning migrants are instead instructed to quarantine in their own homes.


Last updated:

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2017
Criminal prison population
43,900
2014
42,000
2012
42,000
2009
48,000
2003
63,900
2000
60,000
1996
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
150
2014
152
2012
153
2009
184
2003
263
2000
258
1996
Population
33,500,000
2020
29,893,000
2015
International migrants
1,168,384
2019
1,170,900
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
3.9
2015
Refugees
13
2019
14
2018
21
2017
26
2016
118
2015
Stateless persons
79,942
2018
85,555
2017
86,524
2016
86,703
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
2,036
2014
Remittances to the country
5,587,700
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
324.4
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
114 (Medium)
2015

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Civil law
2017

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1995
1995
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
1/6
2017
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2009
2017
No 2013
2017

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS