Today, interethnic peace and stability prevailing in the territory of Uzbekistan — is the result of a rational national policy implemented in our country. The level of democracy in any country is determined by ensuring the equal rights, irrespective of nationality, race, religion, social origin and status. Since Uzbekistan goes towards the creation of a democratic state, a free and fair civil society, this issue has been receiving special attention from the very first days of independence.
Uzbekistan has always distinguished with the spirit of international respect and harmony in multi-ethnic and multi-religious conditions. If we look at history, according to the census in 1897 representatives of more than 70 nations and nationalities lived in Uzbekistan. According to the census in 1959, 113, and according to the census in 1989, 123 nations and nationalities lived in Uzbekistan. Obviously, in our land multi-nationality has been formed since ancient times, all the time in the country compared with other countries there have been developed values of mutual respect, peace, friendship and tolerance. The historical memory of our people and the state boasts the lack of anti-Semitism, racism, ignoring another nation, and shameful pages exhibiting other forms of disrespectful relations [1. p. 81].
As you know, the difficult social relations appeared in political system of Uzbekistan in90 years of the twentieth century have led the leadership of the country to the serious tests. Independent state policy, the tranquillity of social life in the country, and responsibility for the establishment of inter-ethnic relations in the country were the most important tasks. In such a situation, our nation’s own strong position and solidarity, and the well-thought-out and scientific based rational policies carried out under the guidance our president I. A. Karimov prevented severe forms of flammable situation. In particular, at that time the former Soviet government deliberately tried to create national conflicts among the people of different nationalities in Fergana, Buka and Parkent, and such conflicts were reasons for big sensations. In fact, these events “... did not happen with the will of Uzbek people. Internationalism, hospitality and good heart, generosity have always been the unique qualities of Uzbek people. Our people have no hostility to the other nations” [2. p. 51].
We know from the former Soviet-era history that not concerning about satisfaction of the social, spiritual and educational needs of the representatives of the various nationalities in multi-ethic conditions eventually leads to serious consequences. Because, at that time, a growing interest of each nation in the study of its own history, culture, language and traditions was assessed as the growth of nationalism. In fact, “any nation, no matter how small it is — is human wealth and destruction of national unity, its language, cultural and other features will lead to impoverishment of cultural and genetic capabilities on the earth”.
At the same time, the stability of internal political situation, national security and socio-economic development depend on the parity basis of interethnic relations. Historical and international experiences show that multi nationality will serve as a motivating factor in the development of the society in countries where provided harmony in inter-ethnic relations. On the contrary, there are also examples showing that the wrong approaches to inter-ethnic relations, the lack of equality and harmony among them lead to social and political disaster and even to wars. This issue requiring vigilance and flexible approach is also very important for our Republic. Today, more than 130 nations and nationalities live in our country. More than 75 percentages of the population are Uzbeks; about 20 percentages are Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Tatars, Karakalpaks, Koreans, Kyrgyz and Turkmens. In the content of the remaining 5 % we can see more than 120 nationalities and ethnics [3. p. 82].Therefore, the leadership of our countrymade new way of conceptual analysis for theoretical and methodological problems in national issue and the issue of inter-ethnic relations in the conditions of independence, and has developed a new national policy.
The first steps in this direction have been started since 1989. In the same year, the public organizations — national and cultural centers were being built up. On January 13, 1992, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted the decision “On the Republican International Cultural Center”. It defines that the center, through the coordination of activations of national and cultural centres will contribute to promotion of ideas of friendship, peace and harmony among the various ethnic groups;instila sense of common interest; develop the culture of inter-ethnic relations. These principles are the main directions of national policy, and national cultural centers is one of the main mechanisms for its implementation.
In addition, on October 21, 1989, there was accepted the low of the Republic of Uzbekistan “State language”. It gave the status of State language for the Uzbek language, and identified the respect and guarantee of the prosperity of the languages of other nations. The basic principles ofthe national policy of Uzbekistan were reflected in the Declaration of Independence adopted in the second session of the Supreme Council on June 20, 1990, and in the laws “On the Protocol of Supreme Council on the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan” and “On the State Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan” adopted on August 31, 1991.
In particular, the Declaration of Independence adopted on June 20, 1990states: “The Supreme Council of Uzbekistan, on the basis of general discussion, announces about the decision to establish a democratic state, gives guarantee to the legal, political, economic, ethnicand cultural rights of of all nationalities and ethnic groups living inUzbek SSRas well as to the development of their native languages” [4. p. 6].
And the “The Protocol of the Supreme Council on the State Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan” states that the government of the countryendeavoursto build a democratic statethat ensure decent life for every person, the honor and dignity of the human living in the territory of the republic regardless of their religious beliefs and social background.
The law “On the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan” is givenmuch attentionto this issuetoo. In particular, it notes that the stateis partial to socio-political, economic, especially, cultural development of all nations and ethnic groups living in country. These provisions were further developed and strengthened in theConstitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted on December 8, 1992.
Thus, in the initial period of independencea solid legal foundation of national policy carrying out inter-ethnic relations was created. And this presented real opportunities tosolvenational issue without any political interferenceanddiscrimination of representatives of other nationalities.
In development of national policy of Uzbekistan in the conditions of independence and its implementation, by taking into accountthe past history, spirituality and education, concentration on the world experience and approach to national issues taking place in the process of globalizationwith serious attention have got the decisive role. Therefore, at the presentday the issues of interrelationship within nationalities are getting strategic importance.
In the period when the process of the establishment of democratic legal state and a fair civil society, to ensure regional peace and interethnic tranquillity has a very important role. In such conditions, as the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov noted that is important to consider the following realities:
First, the presence of certain non-antagonistic conflicts in the field of the inter-ethnic relations is the real event for the formation period of the new independent states. Further, the national interests and needs come near the interests of civil and democratic societies.
Second, the existing conflicts should not be allowed to become inter-ethnic conflicts which lead to the tragic consequences posing a threat to the security of the peoples and states.
Third, the current socio-political situation, the inevitability and necessity of peaceful coexistence of nations, their common aspirations and wishes should be taken into account. And this should be expressed through the clearly targeted ethnic policy of the government and the formation of public opinion [5. p. 477].
So, obviously, firstly, although the growth of the national interests is natural process, taking into account the national interests of other nationalities and ethnic groups, creation of a culture of respect and ensuring common goals and interests among the representatives of different nationalities so that this process will not become a factor causing conflicts serve for the development of the society. Secondly, it is important not to be indifferent to any national problem taking place not only within the country, but also in the region and in the international arena in the conditions of globalization. At the same time, the rational national policy regarding theinter-ethnic relations is the main instrument of ensuring the peace and security in the country, and it aims the national problems which has occurred or may occur to be practically solved.
The main rules of the national policy of independent Uzbekistan have been announced in the following manner:
- The equal rights of all citizens of the republic regardless of nationality, race and religious beliefs;
- The priority of the human rights which determines the priority of the person and social justice in the society among all other rights;
- Paying attention to the rights of minorities, respecting their languages, traditions and customs, preserving their identity, as well as creating the necessary conditions for the all-round development;
- Focusing on highly developed and social-oriented market economy which provides social protection regardless of nationality of every person, every family;
- Finding out the social-political and peaceful solutions for the conflict situations in theinter-ethnic relations [6. p. 130].
The exact mechanism has been developed in our country for implementation of each principle of this national policy. First of all, its solid legal basis — the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was adopted. The Constitution is legal guarantee to ensure the equal rights, recognisethe supremacy ofa person, maintain ethnocultural diversity, carry out strong social protection and implement the socio-political and peaceful solutions for the conflict situations in theinter-ethnic relations.
Implementation of tolerance — based national policy, first of all, calls for the development of the education systemwhich is based on this principle. Because the education is the most effective instrument impregnating the ideas of tolerance and internationalism. In addition, to raise the youth which constitutes a significant part of the population of the country with the spirit of internationalism and tolerance is also an important condition to prevent the occurrence of national conflicts in the future.
Conduction of educationin seven languages in our country, particular attention to provide educational institutions with textbooks and training manuals in different languages mean that our country’s education system is also based on tolerance. The law “On Education” adopted in 1992, states that every person has an equal right to education regardless of the religion, language, race, place of residence, nationality, origin and work place . Along with education anyone has an opportunity to show his/her talent regardless of nationality, language, race and religion too.
According to the existingnational policy in Uzbekistan, there have been created wide opportunities for thedevelopment of the freedom of religious belief and spiritual world of every citizenregardless of nationality [8. p. 76]. A guarantee of freedom of conscience which includes rights of anyone to have or not to have religious belief isenshrined in the Article 31 of the current Constitution. At the same timelegislation related to strengthening the freedom of religious belief and religious tolerance have been improved too. The law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” was adopted in 1991, and had been in practiceuntil 1998with some additions and modifications which were introduced in 1993. During the last years introduction of radical changes in this law was necessaryin accordance with the requirements ofthis period, and on May 1998, the new edition of the Law was adopted by the Parliament (Oliy Majlis) of the Republic. In the legal documents adopted in our country,all necessary measures for ensuring the basic rights which belong to freedom of conscience of citizens are being implemented. Today’s lifestyle is a bright example. At present, 16 representatives of confessions live in our country, and more than 2000 religious organizations have been registered.
Today, representatives of the titular nationalities together with representatives of other nationalities have been contributing to development ofcountry by effective work in various sectors of society, and their work has been getting an appropriate assessment [9. p. 94]. The presence of compatriots — Russian, Tajiks, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Koreans and Arabians among the heroes of Uzbekistan is a clear proof of this. In addition, on May 5, 1994, a medal of “Friendship” was established in our country under the initiative of our President. Persons who contribute to strengthenfriendship, mutual understanding and tranquillity among the representatives of all nationalities and ethnic groups living in Uzbekistan, and persons who take an active part in strengthening the friendship and comprehensive cooperation between people of Uzbekistan and people of other countries are awarded with this high reward. Awarding persons who are not citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan with a medal of “Friendship” is of particular importance.
In conclusion, we want to say that implementation of the above mentioned principles constituting a base of the national policy has been resultedin formation of of specific “Uzbekistan’s model” of inter-ethnic relations. This process ensures internal political stability, peace and progress in the country, and is being recognizedwith a deep interest and recognition by the international community. Such a recognition was done by the participants of the international conference: “Inter-religious equality, intercultural communication: the experience of Uzbekistan” held in the UN headquarterson September — October 2007.
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