Annual Report: Tajikistan 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Tajikistan 2010

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Head of state Emomali Rakhmon
Head of government Okil Okilov
Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 7 million
Life expectancy 66.4 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 83/74 per 1,000
Adult literacy 99.6 per cent

The authorities failed to adequately address violence against women. Freedom of expression remained restricted. The government continued to exert tight control over the exercise of religion. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officers continued.

Violence against women

Between a third and a half of women in Tajikistan have experienced physical, psychological or sexual abuse by husbands or other family members. Despite some initial steps by the government to combat domestic violence, women's access to the criminal justice system was restricted, and services to protect victims of domestic violence such as shelters and adequate alternative housing were virtually nonexistent. Women massively under-reported violence against them, fearing reprisals or because of inadequate response by the police and judiciary, resulting in virtual impunity for the perpetrators. Domestic violence was widely justified as a "family matter" by the authorities wishing to promote traditional gender roles. Women and girls were even more vulnerable to domestic violence because of early and unregistered marriages and an increased early drop-out rate from school. The draft law on protection from domestic violence, in preparation for several years, was still not presented to parliament.

Freedom of religion

The Jehovah's Witnesses remained banned across the country and members of the Sunni missionary group Jamaat-ut Tabligh came under increased pressure. In March, President Rakhmon signed a new law, making it mandatory for religious groups to register with the authorities before 1 January 2010. To obtain the registration the applicant must prove that the group has existed in Tajikistan for at least five years. The law also states that all published or imported religious literature must be approved by the government. The Muslim community is singled out for special restrictions, with limits imposed on the number of mosques and state approval required for the appointment of imams. Cathedral mosques are only permitted in towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants. Religious organizations now require the permission of the Ministry of Culture's Religious Affairs Committee before attending religious conferences abroad or inviting foreign visitors.