UN experts on racial discrimination discussed situation in Tajikistan

On August 10-11, 2017 experts of UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) reviewed the official state report of Tajikistan on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The only alternative report submitted to the Committee was that of ADC “Memorial” and it reflected on the issues, which were raised by the Committee members. The official state report was criticized for the lack of statistical data related to the situation of ethnic minorities, while Tajikistan also failed to provide its interim report to the Committee.

UN experts drew attention to the lack of a comprehensive strategy for improving the rights of the Jugi, a Romani minority in Central Asia, and insisted on the need to introduce and implement measures to support this vulnerable group. During the meeting the experts noted the difficulties in the use and preservation of Roma language, the problems of the lack of proper identity documents for Jugi people, the lack of access to healthcare and quality education, the problem of early marriages that adversely affects Jugi women and girls.

The situation of other ethnic minorities in Tajikistan, especially the Pamiris and the Yaghnobi, was also of interest to the members of the UN CERD. Experts on combating racial discrimination noted the lack of measures to preserve and develop the languages and culture of these ethnic groups. Members of the Committee expressed concern that differences between Pamiris and Tajiks, such as those of traditions, language and religion, could be a source of infringement on the rights of residents of the Bartang Valley, which belong to ethnic minorities.

The Committee was concerned about the lack of data concerning court cases related to hate crimes and complaints on racial discrimination. It was noted that the non-provision of data on these matters does not mean that there is no actual problem. Tajukistan’s action plan concerning adoption of national legislation on combating racial discrimination, which was presented by the government of Tajikistan to the UN CERD, did not contain concrete proposals. At the same time experts of the UN CERD insisted on the need for a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that incorporated provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The problems of ethnic minorities in Tajikistan, including Uzbeks, Kirghiz and Russians, were also mentioned.

The problems of documenting refugees and stateless persons became a subject of discussion with representatives of the official delegation of Tajikistan.

Recommendations of the UN CERD Committee for the next reporting period will be submitted to Tajikistan in late August this year.

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