For the 87 th pre-sessional working group meeting of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), partners IPHR, Nota Bene and the NGO Coalition against Torture and Impunity of Tajikistan prepared a briefing paper highlighting concerns regarding the issue of abuse and violence against women and girls by police and law enforcement officials.
Over the past decade, the Coalition of Civil Society against Torture and Impunity in Tajikistan has documented numerous cases indicating that women and girls are regularly victims of torture, sexual coercion, insults, humiliation, beatings, and other inhumane treatment by police and law enforcement officials. Between 2019 and 2022 the Coalition documented 26 cases of torture and ill-treatment of women in Tajikistan. For the same period the Coalition provided rehabilitation support to 73 women, including 26 victims and 47 relatives of victims of torture. However, these figures do not reflect the reality of what happens to women in closed institutions. According to lawyers, many women are subjected to sexual violence, but because of severe societal stigmatization of such issues, these cases largely go unreported and victims prefer to remain silent. In its concluding observations, the CEDAW Committee has repeatedly recommended that Tajikistan prioritise measures for eliminating violence against women and ensure that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress and protection, and perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished.” However, despite the high level of violence against women, both domestic and custodial, to date no complaints have been submitted to the Committee. The state’s reluctance to register and properly investigate all cases of violence against women has resulted in these cases not being heard in higher courts. Although Tajikistan acceded to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in 2014, to date no complaints have been submitted to the Committee, because it is difficult to exhaust all remedies at the national level. As a result, perpetrators enjoy almost absolute impunity, making law enforcement officials feel untouchable and above the law.
More information on CEDAW’s 87 th pre-sessional working group meeting, taking place on 30 May-2 June 2023, is available here.