The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Uzbekistan’s relatively large, youthful population, strategic location north of Afghanistan, and extensive mineral resources, including natural gas, gold and uranium, make it a potential force for economic growth and stability in the Central Asia region. Uzbekistan is the only Central Asian country that shares borders with all the other nations in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) as well as Afghanistan, and is situated on key east-west and north-south trade routes. This makes the country vulnerable to drug trafficking and presents problems in border security. Corruption, law enforcement efficiency, human trafficking, and rule of law issues are challenges to the government that INL helps to address. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s economic and political reform agenda, and his policy of promoting good relations with regional neighbors, have drawn international attention and praise since his election in December 2016.
Goals: INL’s flagship program in Uzbekistan focuses on justice reform and combating corruption in support of the government’s initiatives in an effort to better align Uzbekistan’s legal codes with international standards. Through its foreign assistance programs, INL promotes the key U.S. foreign policy objectives of promoting the security and stability of Uzbekistan and supporting regional connectivity in the security sector. INL’s forensics program supports the rule of law by bolstering the ability of the Uzbek government to present reliable and credible forensic evidence in criminal proceedings. In addition to its justice reform program, INL also supports the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its efforts to work with the government on criminal justice and anti-money laundering. Through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), INL is assisting the government to more effectively address corruption, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights. Capacity-building among criminal investigators and prosecutors includes training and related assistance in combatting trafficking in persons.
- Through INL’s support, three laboratories from the Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs have achieved international accreditation according to ISO 17025 certification for forensic labs, a first in the country.
- INL assistance, along with that of other donors, has helped Uzbekistan achieve a dramatic increase in cooperation among Trafficking in Persons (TIP) NGOs and law enforcement entities focused on victim identification and investigations of TIP crimes.
- INL has fostered partnerships between the United States Federal Judicial Center and Uzbekistan’s government legal training academies and Supreme Court. These programs have provided U.S. and other Western expertise that assists the Government of Uzbekistan in implementing its rule of law reform programs.
- INL is supporting training on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AM/CFT) for Uzbekistan’s Financial Intelligence Unit through UNODC.