Located north of Afghanistan and west of China, Uzbekistan neighbours Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. 88% of the
Uzbekistanis are Muslim, while 9% identifies themselves with the Eastern Orthodox Church. The majority (74.3%) of the
populace speaks Uzbek, 14.2% speak Russian and 4.4% speak Tajik.
Uzbekistan was conquered by Russia in the late 19th Century. In 1924, a socialist regime was put in power after
resistance to the Soviet Union and the Red Army was suppressed. Uzbekistan has been independent since 1991.
The Uzbekistani Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion; however this is restricted. The state and church are
also officially separate in Uzbekistan, though the government favours Islam. Religious extremism is not tolerated in
In order to operate legally, all religious groups must register and fulfill strict criteria. Each faith group has been
denied registration based on technicalities at some point; yet, the rejection of applications is most often targeted
towards non-Muslim groups. Deregistration is also prevalent in Uzbekistan.
The activities of Non-Governmental Organizations have been limited by the registration process. Any religious freedom
or right that may conflict with national security, such as proselytizing, and religious education in public and private
schools, is restricted.
Before religious literature can be distributed in Uzbekistan, licences must first be acquired.
International Treaties Signed by Uzbekistan
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Canada-Uzbekistan Diplomatic Relations
Information about Canada’s relationship with Uzbekistan
Canadian representatives in Uzbekistan
(Canada’s Ambassador to Russia is responsible for Uzbekistan)
For prayer requests, see the alerts, or the general page of prayer for the Persecuted
General information about Uzbekistan
Information about human rights in Uzbekistan
Information about the persecuted Church in Uzbekistan (from the Voice of the Martyrs Canada)
Related EFC Religious Liberty Commission Alerts
Note: Alerts are in reverse chronological order, beginning with most recent.
Persecution Escalates in Uzbekistan
(Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the former Soviet countries have been struggling to survive and re-organize
their societies without communism. Many of them have been democratizing and part of that process has been a relaxing of
laws regarding religious freedom and the right to worship. However, many of these countries, still dealing with
economic and social problems caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, are falling back into patterns of repression.
The leaders of these countries need prayer, as do the Christian leaders and members of the Church. Here is a summary of
some of the situations in the region)
The situation in Uzbekistan is very similar to that of other Eastern European nations. There are laws restricting the
registration of religious groups and unregistered religious groups face fines, they are often shut down by force and the
members of the community face discrimination. On September 7, officials broke up a Sunday worship service at a
Protestant church because of “illegal activity”.
Another church was stripped of its registration after they organized a
day camp for the children of poor families; the government said the church was doing missionary activity, which is
banned under Uzbek law, because some of the children were ethnic Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Karakalpaks – groups that were
traditionally Muslim. In another situation, a Protestant school teacher was fired because of his Christian beliefs.
An official stated that Protestants should not be allowed to teach in the country because, as a nation, Uzbekistan was
moving towards Islam.
• For the leaders of these countries – that God would work in their hearts and that they would change the laws to
allow for religious groups to function
• That the leaders of the Christian communities would have wisdom in knowing how to deal with the government and
in knowing how to lead their congregations
• That believers would be strengthened in their faith in spite of the restrictions they are facing and that the
gospel would be spread far and wide
• That in spite of the government situation, the Church would grow and become a light in dark countries