"Bureau for Human Rights and Respect for the Rule of Law"
On October 31, 2018 in Geneva, representatives of public associations of the Republic of Tajikistan presented their alternative reports on the country’s implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to the UN Committee of the same name. A hearing of the report was held on October 31, 2018 in Geneva. The Government Working Group was headed by the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Tajikistan. The hearing of the report was attended by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Tajikistan, The alternative reports were presented by the coalition of public organizations “From Legal Equality to Actual Equality” (which includes about forty public organizations of the country), “Bureau for Human Rights and Respect for the Rule of Law”, “Jakhon” NGO, “Inis” NGO, “Ishtirok” League of Women with Disabilities, Public Fund “Your Choice”, “Nachoti kudakon” NGO, “Apeyron” NGO and “Tajik Network of Women Living with HIV” NGO.
Representatives of public organizations during the official presentation of their reports told members of the Committee about the general situation with respect for the rights of women in Tajikistan, as well as about such categories of women as ex-prisoners; women and girls with disabilities; women living with HIV, etc.
In their reports, representatives of public organizations of Tajikistan indicated the problems faced by women in various fields. These include issues related to domestic violence, access toeducation for girls, the position of women living with HIV, and others.
The coalition report of the “Bureau for Human Rights and Respect for the Rule of Law” on the situation of women released from prison, in particular, states that women who have been released from prison are afraid to apply for restoration and receipt of passports in order for their status not to be made public. In addition, they often lack the finances to pay the related fine and the state fee for obtaining a new passport. To register a new passport the registration documents are required. If a person is not registered anywhere, he may encounter problems when applying for a passport.
Another problem pointed out by public organizations in their report is connected to the question of employment. The report notes that the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan provides for administrative responsibility for the unjustified refusal to hire a person who is sent to work by the employment service of the population on account of quota. However, in practice, the released persons face employers’ denial of employment and dismissal, for reasons including their criminal record.
Of the employers surveyed, only about 31% answered that they would hire ex-convicts. 29% would refuse to hire them. 40% found it difficult to answer. When hiring for work, the question of a previous conviction of a candidate or its relatives is a violation of the rights of those who apply for a job (with the exception of certain professions). The Code of Administrative Offenses of Tajikistan prohibits the creation of barriers to individuals and legal entities in exercising their rights and legal interests, including requiring them to provide documents and information, provision of which by these persons is not stipulated by law.
The authors of the report also note that there are no special legislation and special programs to support and re-socialize persons released from prison, including women who have been released; there is lack of temporary shelters and centers where they can receive temporary housing, legal, medical, psychological and other assistance.
The official Instruction on the organization of educational work with convicts in correctional institutions regulates planning, forms and methods of educational work with convicts for their rehabilitation and re-integration into society after discharge.
Section 13 of these Instructions allows public and religious organizations with the permission of the leadership of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan to carry out spiritual and moral work among convicts. Due to this section, public organizations have the opportunity to hold legal consultations among convicts. However, not all public organizations are aware of this document, as access to by-laws in the penal system is limited.
In addition to the raised issues, the authors of the report also presented their recommendations.
· To adopt a state program for re-socialization of persons released from prison with a gender perspective.
- To consider the possibility of adopting at the national level a special law aimed at their re-socialization and adaptation to life in the society after release.
- To create opportunities for temporary registration of the ex-prisoners for acquiring identity documents.
- To assist former convicts in obtaining passports.
- Passport office employees should explain to ex-convicts the rules for obtaining identity documents and registration, and also establish transparency in payment when issuing identity documents.
- Develop use of quotas for jobs for this category of the population.
- Provide for administrative responsibility of employers for denial of employment on discriminatory grounds, and in case of a repeated refusal, provide for criminal liability.
- Bring employers to liability for requesting additional documents not stipulated by the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan when ex-prisoners apply for a job.
After the submission of the National Report of Tajikistan, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will submit its written final recommendations to the country.
Source: website of “Bureau for Human Rights and Respect for the Rule of Law”
Nargis Zakirova, Director of “Bureau for Human Rights and Respect for the Rule of Law