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Tajikistan: Joint Coalition NGO submission to the UN CESCR – Non-discrimination, vulnerable groups
Tajikistan: Joint Coalition NGO submission to the UN CESCR – Non-discrimination, vulnerable groups

This submission provides information on the observance of economic and social rights in Tajikistan since the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights last reviewed Tajikistan in 2015. The document focuses on Articles 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the Covenant and highlights the situation of vulnerable groups such as women, LGBT, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV, homeless and stateless people.

This submission was jointly prepared by the following NGOs: International Partnership for Human Rights, Notabene, Human Rights Center, League of women with disabilities “Ishtirok”, Association of Parents of Disabled Children, NGO Law and Prosperity, NGO Diyor.

Our suggested recommendations to the authorities of Tajikistan are as follows:

GENERAL NON-DISCRIMINATION

  • In the new version of the new Criminal Code transfer the burden of proof to the state in discrimination cases, as well as to widen the definition of discrimination so as to strengthen the protection of victims.

WOMEN

  • Publicly and officially condemn DV and make it clear that the state supports a zero-tolerance approach.
  • Criminalize all types of gender-based violence, including DV, sexual harassment and psychological violence and ensure the punishments for DV are commensurate with the crimes committed and that the punishments are equivalent to corresponding crimes committed outside the home.
  • Amend the Criminal Procedure Code so that DV cases fall under the category of public prosecution cases and be initiated by the investigation, and not by the victim herself through the courts.
  • Provide victims of gender-based violence with a lawyer at the expense of the State.
  • Exclude from the Family Code the provision that permits the marriage of minors in certain cases.
  • Increase the number of state-funded shelters available for victims of DV, esp. in rural areas, and where possible ensure that such shelters are run in cooperation with CSO.
  • Publish comprehensive statistics on all criminal and administrative cases related to gender-based violence.

LGBT PEOPLE

  • Prohibit discrimination of LGBT persons in domestic legislation.
  • Establish a government programme counteracting discrimination of LGBT persons and identify a body responsible for its implementation.
  • Refrain from targeting LGBT people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and erase government registers on LGBT people.
  • Ensure that all civil society activists, including those working on human rights, health and other issues affecting LGBT people, can go about their peaceful activities without undue interference. Restrictions on their freedom of association must not be applied in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner.
  • Engage with human rights/ LGBT activists in Tajikistan to develop training programmes for law enforcement agencies and prosecutor’s offices on the human rights of LGBT people, and non-discrimination.
  • Develop comprehensive legislation and legal mechanisms governing the confirmation and change of sex of trans people in identity and other documents that is in line with international human rights standards.
  • Discard the condition that they must undergo surgery, before they can change their legal gender.
  • Adopt a modern, evidence-based curriculum on sexual and reproductive health and SOGI awareness for children in schools.
  • Introduce issues of sexual orientation and gender identity into the compulsory curriculum of medical students of all specialties.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

  • Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Provide comprehensive statistics on court cases involving allegations of discrimination against persons with disabilities, detailing the outcomes.
  • Investigate allegations of human rights violations against persons with disabilities in semi-closed facilities including forced abortions, forced administration of drugs, indiscriminate measures and restraint and denial of marriage, and publish the results.
  • Ensure equal opportunities for persons with disabilities on the labour market, in the education and the health systems.

PERSONS LIVING WITH HIV

  • Limit criminalization of transmitting HIV to cases of intentional transmission i.e. where a person knows his or her HIV positive status, acts with the intention to transmit HIV, and does in fact transmit it.
  • Repeal the government decrees of 1 October 2004 and 25 September 2018, prohibiting HIV+ people from obtaining a medical degree, adopting a child or being a legal guardian.
  • Ensure compliance with safety standards for each patient and each member of the medical personnel, regardless of their HIV status.
  • Revise the law “On Legal Aid” so that legal aid, both primary (legal advice) and secondary (counsel at the investigation stage and in court), will be provided at the expense of the State to vulnerable groups such as PLHIV, and that public associations can participate in State tenders for the provision of such services.

HOMELESS AND STATELESS PEOPLE

  • Accede to the Conventions Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 1954 and on Reduction of Statelessness of 1961.
  • Extend the time period during which stateless people can legalise their status in Tajikistan and obtain a residence permit without facing criminal or administrative charges for two more years to achieve the goal of reducing statelessness.
  • Bring the Constitutional Law “On citizenship of the Republic of Tajikistan” (2015) in compliance with international standards.
  • Bring national legislation into line with international standards so that all children born in Tajikistan are registered immediately after birth and have the opportunity to obtain a birth certificate, regardless of their parents citizenship and whether they can present identity documents and residence permits (residence registration).

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