The constitution states that all citizens are equal, regardless of ethnic background, and provides equal protection by the courts to all residents irrespective of national, racial, or ethnic origin. The country has significant Tajik (5 percent) and Russian (5.5 percent) minorities and smaller Kazakh and Kyrgyz minorities. There also was a small Romani population in Tashkent, estimated at less than 50,000 individuals. Complaints of societal violence or discrimination against members of these groups were rare.
The constitution also provides for the right of all citizens to work and to choose their occupations. Although the law prohibits employment discrimination on the bases of ethnicity or national origin, ethnic Russians and other minorities occasionally expressed concern about limited job opportunities. Officials reportedly reserved senior positions in the government bureaucracy and business for ethnic Uzbeks, although there were numerous exceptions.
The law does not require Uzbek language ability to obtain citizenship, but language often was a sensitive issue. Uzbek is the state language, and the constitution requires that the president speak it. The law also provides that Russian is "the language of interethnic communication."
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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