Länderberichte und aktuelle Informationen: Uzbekistan

Last revision: 28 Apr. 1998
28 Apr. 1998

1 Conscription

conscription exists

Conscription is enshrined in art. 51 of the 1994 Constitution, which states: "The defence of the Republic of Uzbekistan is the duty of every citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan. All citizens are obliged to perform military service or alternative service in the way as detailed in law."

Its legal basis is the 1992 Law on Defence. [4]

military service

All men between the ages of 18 and 27 are liable for military service. [5]

The length of military service is 18 months; 12 months in the case of university and college graduates. [1]

postponement and exemption

Exemption is possible for domestic reasons (being the only or the youngest son) and in the case of shepherds. [1] [5]

Certain groups are exempt from military service, but must perform substitute service: those with four under-16-year-old children, those with a father or brother who become handicapped through performing military service, and members of certain religious groups. [6]


Call-up for military service takes place twice a year. [2]

2 Conscientious objection

legal right

The right to conscientious objection is enshrined in art. 51 of the 1994 Constitution, according to which all citizens are obliged to perform either military or alternative service in the way as laid down by law. (see above).

In 1992 the Law on Alternative Service was passed. This law gives only limited recognition to the right to conscientious objection as it entitles only members of religious groups that forbid their members to bear arms to perform substitute service. Those who are exempt from military service for certain domestic reasons (see above) can also be assigned to substitute service. [6]

procedure and practice

Detailed information on the application procedure is not available.

Members of religious groups that forbid their members to bear arms may perform substitute service, but it is not known which religious groups this applies to. Nor is it known whether anyone has attempted to apply for other than religious reasons, or how the authorities would deal with any such applications. According to a statement made by the government in 1996, 'free choice between military and substitute service is still a distant goal'. [6]

substitute service

The length of substitute service is two years; 18 months in the case of university and college graduates.

Substitute service is run by the Ministry of Defence, and may be performed in state organisations, such as government ministries and local government institutions. It may involve relief work when disasters occur. [6]

Continuing with one's normal job may also be regarded as substitute service, in which case one's normal salary is reduced with 20 per cent which then goes to the state. [1]

Substitute service has a military character. It entails two- months' basic military training courses, including training weapons use. According to the Ministry of Defence, in 1996 these courses were very highly successful and those performing substitute service "demonstrated a good knowledge of basic rules, military drill and the use of shooting guns." [6]

3 Draft evasion and desertion

No information available.

5 History

Uzbekistan was the first central Asian post-Soviet state to create its own armed forces and is the least dependent on Russia, being the only central Asian state without Russian border guards on its territory. The first call-up for military service in the Uzbek armed forces took place in late 1992. [5]

In the Soviet army Uzbeks rarely served in combat units but mainly served in the construction battalions. Because of the lowly role of Uzbeks in the Soviet army and the lack of any recent military history, the Uzbek government, after independence, had to construct a "tradition" of military service. Defence Minister Akhmedov promoted military service by publicly announcing after a military parade: "Our people have honoured their defenders as far back as the never-conquered Sogdiana and Bactria, Maracanda and Khorezm" - empires that existed more than a thousand years ago. [2]

The armed forces have rapidly created an officer corps comprising ethnic Uzbeks. In 1992 six percent of the officer corps consisted of ethnic Uzbeks; in 1996 this figure was 60 percent. [3] [7]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are estimated to be 65,000 to 70,000-strong - about 0.29 percent of the population. [7]

Every year about 225,000 men reach conscription age. [7]


[1] European Bureau for Conscientious Objection 1996. Conscientious Objection in Central and Eastern Europe and the European Institutions, seminar 3-10 May 1996. EBCO, Brussels, Belgium. [2] Kangas Roger D. 1996. 'Taking the Lead in Central Asian Security', in: Transition, 3 May 1996. [3] Kangas, Roger D. 1996. 'With an Eye on Russia, Central Asian Militaries Practice Cooperation', in: Transition, 9 August 1996. [4] Brown, Bess 1993. 'Central Asian States seek Russian help', in: RFE/RL Research Report, 18 June 1993. [5] Amnesty International 1992. Concerns in Europe: November 1991 - April 1992. AI, London. [6] Pravda Vostoka, 31 December 1996. [7] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Uzbekistan

01 Nov. 2002

In keinem Land im Kaukasus oder in Zentralasien ist es bisher möglich, sich frei zwischen Militär- und Zivildienst zu entscheiden.

Meistens besteht noch nicht einmal die Option eines alternativen Dienstes. Die wenigen Staaten, in denen ein entsprechendes Gesetz verabschiedet wurde, haben es keineswegs nach internationalen Standards umgesetzt. So gibt es in Georgien faktisch gar keinen Ersatzdienst, in Kirgisistan und Usbekistan sind hohe Bestechungsgelder nötig, um ihn ableisten zu können.