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April 9 – Karakalpakstan Consitution Day

April 9 marks the 31st anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Karakalpakstan. This constitution was ratified on April 9, 1993, during the second session of the Parliament of Karakalpakstan. Article 1 of the Karakalpak Constitution declares Karakalpakstan as a sovereign democratic republic, within Uzbekistan.

Mutual relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Karakalpakstan within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan are regulated by treaties and agreements concluded between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

The Republic of Karakalpakstan has the right to secede from the Republic of Uzbekistan on the basis of a referendum of the people of Karakalpakstan.

Karakalpakstan saw a positive change this year in its ability to celebrate this day. On 9 April, 2024, for the first time in 31 years, this day was celebrated across several municipal districts in Karakalpakstan. The leaders of Karakalpakstan, members of the Joqargi Kenes (National Parliament), heads of ministries, departments and organizations, educational institutions, students, youth, public organizations and mass media gathered for celebrations in Karakalpak State Academic Musical Theater named after Berdak.

Amanbay Orynbaev, Chairman of the Joqargi Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, congratulated the participants on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. During the event, it was said that Constitution is an important document in determining the rights and freedoms of people, along with establishing the basis of the national legal system.

On this significant occasion, it’s important to remember the events of July 1-2, 2022, when thousands of Karakalpakstan residents gathered for a peaceful protest to defend their Consitution and their right to sovereignty and secession from Uzbekistan which Uzbek authorities tried to abolish through consitutional changes while at the same time extending current president Myrziyoyev’s term in office until 2040. Many activists paid a high price to defend the Karakalpak Constitution. Some were arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences in sham trials. Some died.

Since then, over a hundred Karakalpaks, including those residing outside of Uzbekistan, have been detained and face extradition on Uzbekistan’s request. Among those arrested abroad and facing the extradition requests are prominent Karakalpak activists, Nietbay Urazbayev, Akylbek Muratbai, Rasul Jumaniyazov, Rinat Utambetov, Zhangeldi Djaksymbetov, Tleubike Yuldasheva, Ziuar Mirmanbetova, Raisa Khudaibergenova, Koshkarbai Toremuratov, Nauryzbai Menlibayev, Zhetkerbai Abrdamanov.

Notably, Dauletmurat Tajimuratov, a human rights defender who defended the Karakalpak Consitution and publicly opposed amendments proposed by the Uzbek Government to abolish Karakalpak sovereignty rights, is currently serving a sixteen-year prison sentence in strict supervision prison. Torture, persecution, denial of fair trial, crackdown of freedom of speech are rampant with Uzbek authorities denying Karakalpaks the rights established in the Constitution of Karakalpakstan. 

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