HRC 49: Tajikistan Statement

Human Rights Council - 49th Session

Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review- Tajikistan

Federation for Women and Family Planning

Thank you, President

The Federation makes this statement on behalf of an independent activist in Central Asia and the Sexual Rights Initiative.

We welcome the government of Tajikistan’s acceptance of recommendations on HIV, the right to health including sexual and reproductive services, domestic and gender-based violence and torture. Although abortion is legal, there are currently no national guidelines for induced abortion, post-abortion care, nor approval for medical abortion. Additionally the Ministry of Health’s Strategic Plan on Safe Abortion Services has not been implemented - indeed no funds have been allocated for implementation.

Tajikistan must ensure confidentiality around accessing medical services and HIV treatment. Sex workers are often denied confidentiality, barred from accessing health services and face discrimination due to the partial criminalisation of sex work, compounded by the criminalisation of HIV transmission. All this results in sex workers avoiding sexual and reproductive health services.

Additionally, violence against LGBT people is rife. Transgender people and non-heterosexual women routinely experience domestic and sexual violence from relatives to “correct” their sexual orientation or gender identity whilst gay men are killed under the guise of protecting family honour. Sexual and gender minorities are pathologised and conversion therapies are commonplace. Organisations who work with LGBT clients are vulnerable to discrimination and violence.

Although Tajikistan decriminalized consensual homosexual relations between (male) adults in 1998, law enforcement views homosexuality as a “disturbance of public order.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Prosecutor General's Office of Tajikistan compiled a list of about 370 so-called “proven” LGBT people, citing national security, public order, and public health. The MIA continues to expand the list by blackmailing, threatening and torturing LGBT people.

The government must urgently:

  • Introduce legislation and programmes to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
  • Ban conversion therapies.
  • Update education curricula for medical professionals on LGBTI people to prevent pathologisation.
  • Abolish “morality” raids and lists of LGBT people and sex workers.
  • Fully decriminalize sex work.
  • Ensure universal and affordable access to abortion and sexual and reproductive healthcare

Thank you.