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Fixing Tajikistan’s DV Law


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The English-language version of my presentation on behalf of ABA ROLI at the round table sponsored by UNIFEM, OSCE, OHCHR, and OSI in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 24 November 2009, This presentation grew out of my analysis of and recommendations for the draft law on the protection against family violence in Tajikistan. The draft law was initially proposed and drafted in 2006, but has not yet been considered by the country’s parliament.

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Fixing Tajikistan’s DV Law

  1. 1. Recommendations to Bring the Draft Family Violence Law Into Compliance with International Norms Presented by Joshua E. Friedman Legal Specialist American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative – Tajikistan
  2. 2. Violence Against Women in Tajikistan Is a Real and Serious Problem <ul><li>50% of Tajik women suffer from Domestic Violence from the family and boyfriends </li></ul><ul><li>47% of Tajik women suffer from sexual violence from their husbands </li></ul>Source: World Health Org., Violence Against Women: Report on the 1999 WHO Pilot Survey in Tajikistan (2000)
  3. 3. U.N. Special Rapporteur Observed: “ Today, women in Tajikistan are caught within a web of poverty, patriarchy, and a weak protective infrastructure, resulting in increased vulnerability to violence and discrimination inside and outside their homes.” . . . the issue of violence against women is a national priority and the elimination of all forms of violence against women is the most important task not only of government bodies, but also of public organizations and the entire population of Tajikistan. Pres. Rahmon Declared:
  4. 4. Existing Law Is Not Enough <ul><li>No specific references to Domestic Violence in existing law </li></ul><ul><li>Police hesitant to investigate, and prosecutors hesitant to prosecute cases involving the “family scandal” </li></ul><ul><li>State Program “Main Directions of the State Policy on Ensuring Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for the Years 2001-2010” recognizes that equal rights for men and women are guaranteed by Article 17 of the Constitution, but not effectuated </li></ul>
  5. 5. Proposed Revisions <ul><li>Domestic Violence not family violence </li></ul><ul><li>Criminalize stalking </li></ul><ul><li>Require offender rehabilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Need a broad definition of “family” </li></ul><ul><li>Stress prohibition of physical and severe emotional violence </li></ul>
  6. 6. Proposed Revisions <ul><li>Require confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a specific burden of proof </li></ul><ul><li>Codify the ability to order the removal of the offender from the family home </li></ul><ul><li>Set forth penalties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure that liability is criminal, not administrative </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Next Steps <ul><li>Review existing draft law </li></ul><ul><li>Make revisions as appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>Ministry review for conformity to existing law and need for regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Debate and vote in parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Implementing the new law </li></ul>
  8. 8. Don’t Leave Tajik Women Behind “ Women hold up half the sky” – Chinese Proverb If Tajik women do not feel safe and secure in their own homes, they will never be able to contribute fully to Tajik society. And if Tajikistan does not utilize all of its human resources, it will never reach its potential.