Uzbekistan - Social development

The social security system includes old age, disability and survivor's pensions, in addition to sickness, maternity, work injury, and unemployment benefits. Pensions are provides at age 60 for men and age 55 for women. The program is financed by a 32.5% contribution from employers and a 1% contribution by employees. Women are entitled to 126 days of maternity benefits plus three years unpaid maternity leave. Unemployment benefits are paid for entirely by employers. Benefits are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks. First-time job seekers are entitled to 50% of minimum wage for 13 weeks, 75% if they have dependents.

Although nominally equal under the law, women hold few high-level positions. Traditional customs decree that women generally marry young, bear many children and confine their activities to the home. This is particularly evident in rural areas. There is a reported increase in the incidence of suicide by self-immolation by women. The number of women enrolling in higher education is on the decline. Violence against women and spousal abuse continues to be a common problem with little or no governmental intervention.

Human rights violations are prevalent. Security forces arbitrarily arrest and detain individuals, torture and beat prisoners, and confine them to unsafe prisons and labor camps. Freedom of speech and press are tightly restricted. Religious groups are closely monitored. The activities of human rights organizations are restricted, and human rights activists are frequently harassed.

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