Legislative Trends and New Developments
last updated August 2013
According to UN Wire, Tajikistan’s Lower House of Parliament passed a new law to combat trafficking in persons on 2 July 2004. The law provides the terminology required to effectively prosecute traffickers and assist victims. The law also divides responsibilities, such as prevention, assistance, and reintegration of the victims among different government agencies, as well as defines the role of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Security, the Ministry of Education, and the State Border Guard Committee. It is the first such anti-trafficking law to be enacted in central Asia. For its final approval, the law must be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed by President Emomali Rakhmonov before it becomes effective.
According to Amnesty International, the Tajik Parliament approved a bill proposed by President Emomali Rakhmonov that would abolish the death penalty for women. Approved in July 2003, the law entered into force in August. In September of 2011, the government provided an amnesty for all female juvenile prisoners, and no more were jailed during 2012.
In February 2005, the Tajik Parliament approved a law on state guarantees of equal rights for men and women and equal opportunities in the exercise of such rights. The law is comprised of five chapters that guarantee equal opportunities for women and men in the implementation of election law, in the sphere of state service and in the social economic sphere. The law also lays out enforcement mechanisms that allow the state to ensure compliance with the law’s provisions. Enforcement mechanisms include: the development of a united state gender policy, the direction and supervision of executive organs and hukumats (city councils) in the selection and appointment of women to higher government posts, the supervision of compliance with the law by the general prosecutor, the creation of rights for trade unions to participate in decisions regarding gender equality, and the authority of juridical entities to assess violations of the law. The law became effective on 1 March 2005 upon publication.
The Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights was created in March of 2008. Tajikistan passed a law in 2009 permitting ethnic groups to use their own language without restriction. In 2010, the new Criminal Procedure Code created an explicit requirement that criminal proceedings be conducted in manner that is not discriminatory.
The President of Tajikistan issued a decree in 2012 that increased the legal age of marriage from 17 to 18. However, the law still permits a court to issue an order allowing a 17 year old to get married. In the Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Tajikistan was urged to pass legislation protecting women from domestic violence. This Committee further points out concerns that medical personnel and police officers are not sufficiently trained to investigate claims of rape and domestic violence. On July 28, 2011, the United Nations Women Office in Tajikistan hosted hearings to discuss the draft law. The coalition also worked to raise public awareness of domestic violence. These efforts culminated in December, 2012, when Tajikistan passed its first law to combat domestic violence. According to news sources, the law draws on the experience of Indonesia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova, as well as suggestions from Tajik civil society. The law provides for free medical and legal assistance to domestic violence victims. Those convicted of domestic abuse will be fined and sentenced to 5-15 days in jail.