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Report documents brutal oppression of LGBTIQ persons in Tajikistan

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Report documents brutal oppression of LGBTIQ persons in Tajikistan
Report documents brutal oppression of LGBTIQ persons in Tajikistan

Members of sexual minorities in Tajikistan face harsh discrimination, ill-treatment by police, and humiliation in society, according to a new report, entitled Rights for all? LGBTIQ persons in Tajikistan systematically denied human rights by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR). According to the organization, these types of abuse “illustrate Tajik authorities’ lack of political will to commit to countering the glaring discrimination faced by LGBTIQ people.”

In Tajikistan, LGBTIQ people whose sexual orientation or gender identity becomes known to relatives, neighbours, employers, teachers or others are at risk of being chased from their homes, dismissed from their jobs, being unemployed and/ or exposed to ridicule, intimidation and abuse.

LGBTIQ people’s specific vulnerability and lack of recourse to justice became apparent when authorities removed “gender”, “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” as prohibited grounds for discrimination from the draft Law on Equality and Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination (Anti-Discrimination Law) before its adoption in July 2022. Instead, representatives of the authorities present the lifestyle of LGBTIQ people as alien to Tajikistani culture and values, and position the government as the upholder of morality and tradition.

During raids in 2022 and 2023, police subjected numerous LGBTIQ persons to forced HIV testing. Those who tested positive were charged with “putting another person at risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus” (Article 125, part 1 of the Criminal Code) or made to pay large bribes to the police in exchange for being released. This happened even in cases where the accused was not infectious due to regular antiretroviral treatment or where sexual partners did not complain about the accused.

IPHR has documented dozens of credible cases of police intimidating, physically or sexually abusing or arbitrarily detaining LGBTIQ people and of extorting money from them.

“Although human rights violations against LGBTIQ persons including police abuse, arbitrary detention and discrimination in all spheres of life have repeatedly been raised by United Nations treaty bodies and international human rights groups in recent years, the Tajikistani authorities have failed to address them”, IPHR Director Brigitte Dufour said.

Officials who perpetrate human rights violations against LGBTIQ people typically escape punishment – but by contrast civil society organisations that defend the human rights of LGBTIQ people risk reprisals from the authorities. This means that there are no groups in Tajikistan that publicly defend LGBTIQ rights.

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