UPR of Tajikistan: Even with moratorium, concerns over capital punishment remain
Monday, 10 October 2011 14:38


On 4 October 2011, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Tajikistan. The delegation was led by Mr Khudoyarov Bakhtiyor, Minister of Justice, who was accompanied by six other delegates. In his opening statement the Minister asserted that Tajikistan has made significant progress in the area of freedom of the press, religious tolerance, and education – particularly with regard to women’s education. He also responded to several advance written questions concerning the Government's use of the death penalty: although the court system will continue to have the death penalty as a potential sentence, there is now a moratorium on all punishments of this severity, and life in prison is now the accepted substitute for capital punishment. The interactive dialogue largely focused on this issue, however also covered child labour, corruption in the judiciary, and domestic violence.


Specific recommendations, comments, and questions focused on the following issues:

  • Calls for Tajikistan to formally abolish capital punishment and move toward the international standards found in article 1 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT).  This includes the ratification of CAT’s optional protocol, which provides a mandate for both an independent national preventative mechanism for torture and regular inspections of detention facilities.
  • Concerns over the need for tighter monitoring and enforcement of child labour laws, particularly in areas of the country with a high percentage of low-income families. Tajikistan was called on to raise its legal standards to the levels set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
  • The need to address the continued Government crackdown on freedom of the press, including the recent attacks against two foreign media journalists held in custody without charges.
  • Calls for a more specific classification of domestic violence in the penal code , so that it is treated as a specific crime rather than, as is currently the case, falling under a general assault or degrading human dignity charge.
  • Requests that Tajikistan step up efforts in targeting and arresting human traffickers, particularly those abusing women and young girls.

Mr Bakhtiyor reiterated that he and his delegation would respond in written form to any question they had not been able to answer due to time constraints. Generally, the delegation responded frankly and openly to the questions posed by the States. In particular, the delegation acknowledge that Tajikistan is a 'transit' country for human traffickers, and currently does little to deter this illegal practice due to budget constraints within law enforcement. In defence of their record on domestic violence, the delegation argued that reports of incidents have dropped significantly since the 1990s. However, they admitted more work needed to be done and informed States that a new law was currently being drafted by the Government. Of the recommendations made, 70 were immediately accepted, 7 were rejected, and 50 required further review. The delegation will give their position on this last set at the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 October 2011 15:00
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