Uzbekistan: Salima Kadyrova

The laws of Uzbekistan must serve all of its people. We cannot allow individuals to interpret legislation to serve their own needs at the expense of those too weak to defend themselves.

— Salima Kadyrova

Salima Kadyrova (71) is a lawyer at the Center for Human Rights Initiatives of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. She has been working for the protection of human rights of citizens for the last 24 years and has been a practicing lawyer for the last 40 years. She also works at the Public Legal Consulting Office. Salima is one of few lawyers who defends the human and civil rights of the leaders of the Uzbek opposition. She is a highly respected figure in the human rights movement both within Uzbekistan and abroad.

Salima Kadyrova was born in Bukhara province, Uzbekistan, in 1933. In 1959, she graduated from the Faculty of Law of Tashkent State University. She is now the Deputy Director of the Center for Human Rights Initiatives. She not only defends citizens’ interests, but also highlights legislative shortcomings and contradictions. Salima appeals to the President’s administration, to the Uzbek Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, and the General Prosecutors about every infringement of the law she is made aware of. She does not discriminate when it comes to defending those who come to her for help. She also goes to districts and villages to give legal consultations. Since 1999, the police have targeted and arrested many young people and religious leaders. On one such occasion, Salima defended seven religious leaders from Ishtehan District in the Syrdaryo Province and won their release. She is also one of the few lawyers who have defended a leader of the Uzbek opposition, Mohamad Solikh. She has devoted her professional career to the fight against injustice in her country by endeavoring to protect the helpless. Her credo is simple: “The law must defend the true rights of the people without being sold or bought by those concerned.” Salima Kadyrova, through her tireless and ceaseless efforts, has proved her honesty in the face of her contemporaries and has shown that she is a real defender of human rights, liberties, and freedom. The struggle against corruption and injustice has been long and arduous, but Salima has not shied away from her moral obligations to the people who come to her for help. Salima dares to criticize the shortcomings in Uzbek legislation and is determined to have laws rewritten and improved. She is not deterred by the possible consequences that she might suffer because of her work.

Center for Human Rights Initiatives of Samarkand