Tajikistan: Amnesty Report Urges Tajik Government to Combat Violence Against Women
Friday, December 4, 2009 9:55 AM

2 December 2009


In November, 2009,  Amnesty International published a report entitled Violence Is Not Just a Family Affair: Women Face Abuse in Tajikistan, which reviews the status of violence against women in Tajikistan and recommends steps for addressing such violence.


Violence against women is common in Tajikistan.  The report states that one-third to one-half of Tajik women have experienced physical, psychological or sexual violence on a regular basis perpetrated by husbands or in-laws.  Despite these high numbers, perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.  One reason is that authorities tend to blame the victim for the abuse and are reluctant to interfere in private family affairs.  "By writing off violence against women as a family affair the authorities in Tajikistan are shirking their responsibility to a large part of the population.  They are allowing perpetrators of such crimes to act with impunity and, ultimately, denying women their rights," stated Andrea Strasser-Camagni, Amnesty International's expert on Tajikistan.  Amnesty International,  Women Face Abuse in Tajikistan, (24 November 2009).   


Another issue is that women in Tajikistan often live with their husbands' families and can experience abuse from not only their husbands, but from their in-laws as well.  Sometimes the abusive mother-in-laws are women who themselves were abused as young married women.  Women experiencing domestic violence are often treated like servants or property, but because they are economically dependent on their husbands and unable to get outside help, many women have few resources and some may commit suicide to escape abusive situations.  Dropping out of school early and entering into unregistered or polygamous marriages are also common and further increase a girl's dependency on her husband and his family. 


Additionally, Tajikistan’s judicial and medical services lack training and resources to handle domestic violence cases.  Services that do exist are mostly provided by internationally-funded local non-governmental organizations. 


Amnesty International recognizes that Tajikistan is party to several international human rights treaties, but finds it has failed to fulfill its obligations toward women’s rights. The Amnesty report recommends that the Tajik government establish national domestic violence legislation and support services, improve educational opportunities for women and girls, and raise awareness about the illegality of polygamous and early marriages


Compiled from:  Women Face Abuse in Tajikistan, Amnesty International (24 November 2009).