A new report by ADC Memorial and Human & Art Laboratory within the UN UPR of the situation of Human Rights in Tajikistan

The report raised the issues as  of non-recognition and insufficient support for ethnic minorities (Pamir, Yaghnob, Mugat (Jughi)); discrimination against women at work (the list of professions prohibited for women); discrimination against LGBTI+; insufficient support for Tajikistan migrants working abroad and their children; non-compliance of the procedure for the repatriation of migrant children with modern standards of children’s rights.

ADC Memorial and the Human & Art Laboratory raised the problems of ethnic minorities in need of recognition and support measures. The Pamiri peoples represent a specific cultural and linguistic community, but it is not taken into account even during the census; their languages, even those having literacy and developed textbooks, are not included in the education system; not enough is being done to expand the scope of the Pamiri languages (mass media, radio and television broadcasting). The same can be said about the small ethnic group of Yaghnob people who need support both in the places of their historical residence in the highlands, and in the territory where they were resettled in the 1970s. The Mugat (Jughi) remain a marginalized ethnic group and face structural discrimination in all spheres of life: the problems of personal documents, access to quality education and employment, social and medical care, and adequate housing have not been resolved. Improving the situation of Mugat requires systematic state efforts, which, in particular, was recommended to Tajikistan by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2017). The situation of the above mentioned ethnic minorities had been described in an alternative report of ADC Memorial to the UN CERD (2017).

The problem of gender equality, including equal rights of women at work, is acute in Tajikistan. The Labor Code and a special government decree (2017) explicitly prohibit women from working in 326 jobs, including the highly paid transport sector. Such discriminatory prohibitions were inherited by independent states from Soviet legislation, and recently abolished in some countries (Ukraine, Uzbekistan) or reduced (Russia) as a result of the efforts of both women workers and Human Rights defenders.  The #AllJobs4AllWomen campaign of ADC Memorial and its partners on elimination of the lists of prohibited professions is going on.

The report of ADC Memorial and Human & Art Laboratory raises the issue of discrimination against LGBTI + in Tajikistan:  homophobic prejudices widespread in society, hate speech in the statements of public figures and in the media, hate crimes, repressions by law enforcement agencies (special raids, maintaining LGBTI+ lists, violence and arbitrariness). The situation of LGBTI+ in Central Asia is described in detail in the report of the ADC Memorial, the Human & Art Laboratory and other partner organizations: “LGBTI+ in the Central Asian region: repression, discrimination, exclusion” (2020).

Tajikistan is a donor of huge labor migration, while the rights of Tajiks working abroad are not sufficiently protected not only due to the harsh migration policies of the recipient countries (mainly Russia), but also the insufficient response of the Tajikistan authorities to such violations of the rights of labor migrants as non-investigation of hate crimes, police brutality, arbitrariness of employers, refusal to accept children of labor migrants in schools, separation of migrant children from their parents. The children of migrants who remain in Tajikistan without sufficient parental care also require special attention.

The return to Tajikistan of children who left without care abroad is still carried out within the framework of the law enforcement system and is regulated by the outdated Agreement on Cooperation of the CIS member States on the Return of Minors to their States of Permanent Residence (2002). It is necessary to humanize the procedure of the return of children in line with modern standards of children’s rights in order to stop the practice of immigration detention of children in closed institutions. ADC Memorial raises this issue as part of the #CrossBorderChildhood campaign.

The human rights situation in Tajikistan will be considered in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review for the third time (the 39th session of the UPR is expected to be held in October 2021). Within the previous reviews (2011, 2016), there were addressed general recommendations to Tajikistan on support for women and children, on the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation and measures to ensure gender equality, but there were no specific recommendations on the observance of LGBTI+ rights. The problems of ethnic minorities in Tajikistan have not been raised in the framework of the UPR before.

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