The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) will review and assess Tajikistan’s record on women’s rights at its session in Geneva, which begins on 29 January 2024. Public Foundation Notabene, Vash Vybor (Your Choice) and International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) have submitted a joint report for the review on the topic of domestic violence against women in Tajikistan.
CEDAW will examine Tajikistan’s seventh periodic report on its implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
When assessing the situation in Tajikistan, the Committee will also draw on information received from civil society organisations.
Our joint report covers the following major issues:
Despite some positive steps taken to combat domestic violence (DV) since the last CEDAW review, DV against women remains a pervasive problem in Tajikistan.
10 years after the adoption of the Law on the Prevention of Violence in the Family many survivors of DV remain without effective protection and support.
Despite the massive scale of the problem, the authorities have not adopted a victim-centred approach and there are many obstacles to justice for victims, including the failure to classify domestic violence as a separate crime and to ensure perpetrators are prosecuted.
According to women’s rights activists, underreporting is a serious problem as most DV victims do not trust the police. In cases where victims do report their experiences, the authorities often do not support them in taking action against perpetrators but advise them to reconcile with the abuser, thereby prioritising family unity over women’s safety. DV victims do not receive free legal aid during court hearings, and judges have not yet been adequately trained on domestic violence. As a result, perpetrators are rarely successfully prosecuted and impunity for DV is the norm.
The state prosecutes only those DV offences which result in serious injury, leaving DV victims with less serious injuries to pursue complaints as private prosecutions. In these cases, they have to find and pay for a lawyer to file a complaint with court and gather the necessary evidence themselves, including medical examination records and witness statements. This difficult process discourages victims from fighting for justice.
Another key problem is that an integrative, coordinated victim response is still lacking and most services for DV victims are not funded from the state budget.
There are a woefully insufficient number of shelters for victims of DV; and most victims don’t have access to psychosocial and legal counselling and other vital services.
IPHR, Notabene and Vash Vybor call on the Tajikistani authorities to step up their efforts to respect, protect, fulfil and promote the rights of women to lead a life free of violence. To this end, they should as a matter of priority:
For more information, download the full report submitted by IPHR, Notabene and Vash Vybor for the review.