The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal


TITLE:  TAJIKISTAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                           
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Tajikistan was ruled in 1993 by a coalition of regional and 
clan groupings which won a clear-cut military victory in a 
civil war racking the country, particularly its southern 
regions, during 1992.  The winning coalition was supported by 
Russian, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Uzbek 
forces.  The Supreme Soviet (parliament) elected Imomali 
Rahmanov, Kulyab regional executive chairman, as its Chairman 
and Head of State in November 1992.  Much of Rahmonov's support 
came from the victorious People's Front forces which originated 
in Kulyab and Kurgan-Tube, the Uzbek-dominated Hissar region 
which aided in the battle of Dushanbe, and members of the 
traditional northern economic elite of Leninabad.  The defeated 
opposition comprised a coalition of self-declared democratic 
and Islamic groups and Islamic fundamentalists, a plurality of 
whom originate from the Garm-Kartogin region of the country, 
and Pamiris, who were traditionally underrepresented in the 
ruling coalitions during Soviet and pre-Soviet rule.

The new Government gradually extended its control over all 
major towns and most roads throughout the country except in the 
Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) where, by agreement 
with the regional authorities, its security forces did not 
enter.  In return, the regional authorities pledged to control 
their own territory and to preclude operations by opposition 
forces.  Although the Government by and large respected the 
agreement, the GBAO officials were unable to prevent armed 
opposition elements and their foreign allies (Afghan mujahedin) 
from using their territory for antigovernment attacks.  

Opposition forces, based in Afghanistan and supported by mostly 
fundamentalist Afghan forces, posed a serious military 
challenge to the Government and to CIS (principally Russian) 
units by staging frequent raids across the border in southern 
Khatlon province and western GBAO.  Although these raids and 
incursions did not threaten central government control outside 
the border areas, they caused casualties, blocked roads, and 
interfered with the movement of relief supplies and refugees.  

The Government worked to reconstitute the principal elements of 
the former security forces:  the Ministry of Interior, the 
National Security Committee, and the new Ministry of Defense.  
It sought to incorporate elements of the progovernment People's 
Front militia into these security organs, with limited 
success.  Many People's Front units remained outside of central 
government control.  These units, as well as the Ministry of 
Interior forces, committed numerous human rights abuses.  The 
National Security Committee's forces and those of the Ministry 
of Defense were also responsible for abuses, though less 

The national economy, centrally planned and highly dependent on 
cotton exports, continued to suffer from the effects of the 
civil war, the severing of traditional economic ties to other 
republics of the former Soviet Union, and a series of natural 
disasters.  The Government was unable to stem its collapse.   

Human rights violations were widespread in 1993.  The Rahmonov 
Government was unable to follow a consistent policy to 
eliminate regional abuses and bring about reconciliation and 
political reform.  While some senior government officials 
personally intervened when advised of human rights abuses, 
others reportedly acquiesced in or were complicitous in 
violations.  Among the most serious reported abuses were 
government security forces' beating and torturing of detainees; 
vigilante torture and killing of civilians of Pamiri or Garm 
origin; government actions to curb political rights and a free 
press; and opposition intimidation and killing of civilians.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Extrajudicial Killing

Complete data on the number of political or extrajudicial 
killings are not available, but international agencies recorded 
at least 80 murders or disappearances in the period between 
March and October 1993, and the number is certainly higher.    
There is credible evidence that the progovernment People's 
Front militias, which after the civil war were to a limited 
extent incorporated into special battalions of the Ministries 
of Defense and Interior and the National Security Committee, 
were responsible for many deaths and disappearances.

No government or security official has been prosecuted for an 
extrajudicial killing.

During the civil war and until the consolidation of the 
Government's control over the capital, Dushanbe, in February, 
hundreds of fighters and civilians on both sides of the 
conflict disappeared or were murdered.  The death toll was 
estimated at over 20,000.  Paramilitary forces loyal to the 
Government were responsible for a pogrom against Pamiri and 
Garm-origin males in Dushanbe from December 1992 to February 
1993 which resulted in the death of scores of persons.  

In the south, the locus of the civil war, fully armed special 
battalion members, although technically subordinate to the 
Ministries of Interior and Defense or National Security 
Committee, dominated local civilian and security authorities.  
The Government made no real effort to disarm the former militia 
fighters.  In at least one instance, regular army troops of the 
Regar battalion were involved in the murder in Kabodian of 
three returnees from Afghanistan.  Field workers of the United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in southern 
Tajikistan reported 28 known cases of death or disappearance of 
returnees since May 1993.  The rate of deaths and 
disappearances increased in the latter half of the year.

Opposition fighters, still active in the mountains to the 
northeast of Dushanbe, along the Tajik-Afghan border, and in 
the Gorno-Badakhshan region, conducted cross-border raids, 
culminating in the deaths of several score Russian and Tajik 
border guards.  On July 13, 200 Tajik opposition and Afghan 
mujahedin forces brutally murdered 26 Russian border guards and 
several Tajik civilians in a raid.  In addition, several local 
officials in regions that were former strongholds of the 
opposition were assassinated, presumably for cooperating with 
the Government.  

     b.  Disappearance

The disappearance of Pamiri and Garm-origin men from Dushanbe 
and, in southern Tajikistan, of returnees from Afghanistan 
continued throughout 1993.  Disappearances which occurred 
before March were referred by the international community to 
the Ministry of Interior's Committee on Disappeared 
Individuals.  The Committee does not make public the number of 
missing recorded on its list.  

After February, law and order were gradually established in 
Dushanbe; however, Pamiri and Garm-origin men continued to 
disappear at the rate of one or two a month from the capital.  
There has so far been no successful prosecution for the 
disappearance or death of a returnee, though several arrests 
were made and trials were pending at year's end.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Credible reports indicate that Ministry of Interior forces used 
torture, degrading treatment, and excessive force against 
suspected supporters of the former opposition-dominated 
government, despite repeated statements of senior government 
officials to the contrary.  Eyewitnesses and victims reported 
credibly on beatings administered by Ministry of Interior 
officials on the grounds of the Ministry of Interior complex in 
Dushanbe, specifically in the basement of the old Ministry of 
Interior building.  In some instances, collaboration is 
suspected between Ministry of Interior forces and local armed 
groups, whereby Ministry of Interior forces avoid direct 
involvement in the administration of beatings.

In southern Tajikistan, local police officials conducted 
nighttime raids to search for weapons and ammunition.  
Typically, police took people into custody and beat them until 
they revealed the location of a hidden weapon. 

Former chairman of the Tajikistan State Committee on Television 
and Radio Mirbobo Mirakhimov (see Section 1.d.) accused the 
Government of mistreatment during his pretrial detention.  The 
Government refused to permit Moscow-based Helsinki Watch 
representatives to view Mirakhimov's colleagues without their 
shirts on, raising suspicions that charges of physical 
mistreatment were well founded.

Government forces, progovernment militias, and opposition 
forces used rape as a weapon.  During the February-March 
battles between government and opposition forces in the lower 
and upper Garm Valley, including the village of Nowabad, there 
was credible evidence that both sides were guilty of rape. 
Female refugees who returned to the southern districts of 
Kabodian and Shaar Tuz were particularly vulnerable. 
Progovernment militias kidnaped and raped scores of returnees, 
and returnee women remained afraid to leave their collective 
farms or villages.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Criminal Code has not been significantly amended since 
independence, and abuses endemic to the Soviet legal system are 
still evident.  The system allows for lengthy pretrial 
detention and provides few checks on the power of prosecutors 
and police to arrest individuals.  In addition, the Government 
arbitrarily arrested political opponents and frequently held 
prisoners in incommunicado detention.  The breakdown of public 
order during the civil war and continued immunity of armed 
militia groups to prosecution further eroded the integrity of 
the legal system.

Legally, police may detain persons arbitrarily and without 
arrest warrants for a period of 72 hours, and the prosecutor's 
office may do so for a period of 10 days, after which the 
accused must be officially charged.  At that point, the 
Criminal Code permits pretrial detention for up to 18 months.  
The first 3 months of detention is at the discretion of the 
local prosecutor, the second 3 months must be approved at the 
regional level, and the Prosecutor General must sanction the 
remaining period in detention.  There is no requirement for 
judicial approval or for a preliminary judicial hearing on the 
charge or the detention.  In criminal cases, detainees may be 
released and restricted to their place of residence pending 

In southern Tajikistan, international observers reported that 
police did not adhere to the 3-day detention rule; instead, 
police arbitrarily detained persons, failed to notify families, 
and released detainees or brought charges against them only in 
those cases in which international workers or influential 
friends of the detained intervened.  In theory, detainees have 
the right to counsel after 24 hours of detention, with counsel 
to be provided free to the indigent.  In practice, access to 
legal counsel varies widely.  

Officials of the former opposition-dominated government were 
arrested on politically motivated charges of treason, with 
indictments for the theft of state property added.  Tajik and 
Turkmenistan security forces arrested Mirbobo Mirakhimov, 
Chairman of the State Committee on Television and Radio, in 
Ashgabat on January 8, 1993, charging him with treason.  Three 
other television officials--Akhmadsho Kamilov, Khayradin 
Kasymov, and Khurshed Nazarov--were seized in Kyrgyzstan on 
January 17 and charged with conspiring in the violent overthrow 
of the 1991-92 Nabiyev government by using the mass media to 
promote the interests of the opposition.  All four continued to 
be held at year's end; no trial date has been set.  In June a 
Helsinki Watch delegation attempted unsuccessfully to visit 
these four.  It rejected the Government's restrictions on the 
distance at which the prisoners could be viewed and the 
Government's refusal to permit a visual examination of the 
defendants to check for obvious injuries.  

Another politically motivated arrest was that of well-known 
poet Bozor Sobir, charged with inciting interethnic hatred and 
provoking the seizure of members of Parliament in April 1992.  
Sobir, the author of a poem denouncing Russian imperialism, 
allegedly criticized the Nabiyev government at a series of 
April rallies.  In December Sobir was convicted and given a 
4-year suspended sentence.

In September the Government formally denied requests by the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for access to 
persons in pretrial detention, except on a case-by-case basis.  
The Criminal Code prohibits access to those in pretrial 
detention, which the exception of immediate family members, 
except by special permission of the presiding judge.  In highly 
politicized cases, judges have denied regular access by family 
members to those in pretial detention.

The issuance of arrest warrants for moderate members of the 
opposition remaining in Tajikistan prompted the flight to 
Moscow of deputy chairman of the Rastokhez Movement Abdukikir 
Kholiqzoda and deputy chairman of the Democrat Party Abdunabi 
Sattorov.  The Procurator General, following international 
community interventions with Head of State Rahmanov, quashed 
these two warrants, as well as a third issued for the arrest of 
former Democrat Party stalwart Saghib Nazarov.  The warrants 
culminated in the arrest of a fourth colleague, Democrat Party 
executive member Oniho Bobonazarova, who was released from 
prison and placed under house arrest following the personal 
intervention of Head of State Rahmonov.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The court system remains unmodified from the Soviet period.  
There are several tiers of courts:  the city, district, 
regional, and republic levels, with a separate but parallel 
military tribunal.  Higher courts serve as appellate courts for 
lower ones.  Local, regional, and republic-level judges are, 
for the most part, poorly trained and lack an understanding of 
independent judicial function.  At all levels of the court 
system, officials are under the strong influence of local 
political leaderships and armed paramilitary groups.

According to the law, trials are public, except in certain 
cases involving national security or the protection of minors. 
The court appoints an attorney for those who do not have one. 
Defendants are permitted to choose their own attorneys but are 
not necessarily permitted to choose among court-appointed 
attorneys.  Former opposition political leaders, including 
Mirbobo Mirakhimov (see Section 1.d.), charge they were denied 
access to an attorney.  Officials dispute this, stating that 
the prisoners had rejected the court-appointed attorneys.  
Mirakhimov has since acquired counsel, although the courts 
sentenced to death opposition commander Mullah Ajik without the 
benefit of counsel after he refused the court-appointed female 

The procurator's office remains responsible for conducting all 
investigations of allegations of criminal conduct.  In theory, 
the defendant and counsel have the right to review all 
government evidence, to confront witnesses, and to present 
evidence and testimony.  No groups are barred from testifying, 
and all testimony is given equal weight, regardless of 
ethnicity or gender.  Ministry of Justice and procuracy 
officials contend that defendants benefit from the presumption 
of innocence despite the unmodified Soviet legal statute which 
presumes the guilt of someone who has been brought to trial.  

In practice, the judiciary is subject to interference from 
armed vigilantes and members of paramilitary groups whom the 
Government is not able to control.  Officials candidly admit 
that many verdicts are decided "at the point of a 
Kalashnikov."  In southern Tajikistan, three chiefs of police 
were murdered, and in the relatively stable region of 
Tursunzade one judge was killed, presumably for their refusal 
to bow to the demands of armed progovernment militias.  In the 
GBAO, armed opposition elements regularly intimidate local 
authorities who lack the strength to defend themselves.  
Throughout Tajikistan, the fact and fear of armed intimidation 
affects the outcome of legal proceedings.

Opposition members and international human rights monitors, 
including Helsinki Watch, charged the Government with abusing 
the judicial system.  For example, while gross abuses by 
members of the progovernment militias have gone uninvestigated 
and unpunished, two opposition political party officials in the 
northern region of Leninabad were arrested and sentenced to 4 
and 7 years, respectively, for the possession of bullets.  
Opposition supporters further charged that police planted the 
evidence implicating the arrestees.  In January 1994, an 
appeals court overturned the guilty verdict of one defendant.  

Estimates of the number of political prisoners range from a 
high of 200 to a low of 15.  However, many persons currently in 
self-imposed exile in the CIS are wanted by the Government on 
charges that are political in nature

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Criminal Code provides for the inviolability of the home 
and prohibits interference with correspondence.  Police may 
enter and search a private home with the approval of the 
procurator.  In some cases, police may enter and search without 
permission, but they must inform the procurator within 24 
hours.  Police are permitted to enter and search homes without 
permission if they have compelling reason to believe a delay in 
obtaining a warrant would impair national security.  There is 
no judicial review of police searches conducted with or without 
a warrant. 

The procurator's office ordered thousands of random nighttime 
raids on homes in Dushanbe, using as justification the 
continued instability within Tajikistan.  The raids were 
ordered without prior evidence of wrongdoing.  On many 
occasions, officers conducting the raids reportedly extorted 
money or goods from innocent people.  Official sources stated 
that government monitoring of correspondence also increased.

At the end of the war, members of the local population with 
ties to the victorious special battalions, special battalion 
members, and ethnic Kulyabis occupied thousands of homes 
belonging to displaced persons and refugees.  The Government is 
working slowly to evict occupants and return homes to their 
rightful owners.  Nevertheless, at the district level, local 
warlords have thwarted procurators' efforts and have even 
offered armed protection to unlawful inhabitants.  
International workers estimate that hundreds of homes remain 
illegally occupied in the south and in the capital.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

During the final phase of the civil war, both the Government 
and opposition were responsible for extensive violations of 
human rights, including summary executions of captives, 
disregard for civilian and noncombatant status, hostage-taking, 
torture, rape, looting, and forced labor and conscription.  The 
Government entered the capital in December 1992, but fighting 
between government and opposition forces continued until March 
1993 when government forces ousted the opposition from the Garm 
Valley.  In the battle to retake the Garm, government forces 
indiscriminately bombed and shelled city centers and villages, 
killing and injuring civilian noncombatants.  For its part, the 
opposition brutally exploited the local civilian population.  
In the Garm village of Nowabad, opposition leader Redzuan and 
Afghan mujahedin forcibly conscripted young males and stripped 
food and medicines from a local mental institution, resulting 
in the death of 50 of its 300 patients.  

The March truce with GBAO authorities, whereby government 
forces were to remain outside the autonomous province in 
exchange for provincial government assurances that opposition 
forces would not be permitted to cross from Afghanistan or 
conduct operations in the province, broke down in August.  
Reacting to the opposition's buildup of Tajik opposition and 
mercenary fighters (including volunteers from Afghanistan and 
other states), the opposition's blockade of humanitarian 
convoys from the capital to the GBAO, and the continued 
military raids of opposition and Afghan mujahedin in the Darwaz 
valley, the Government launched a 2-week offensive, with 
Russian assistance, against opposition forces in the Darwaz.  
According to credible reports, government forces, angered that 
opposition forces would benefit from international assistance, 
also turned back at least one humanitarian aid convoy.  

In areas under its control, the Government moved quickly to 
permit international aid agencies, including the UNHCR, the 
ICRC, Doctors Without Borders, the Aga Khan Foundation, and the 
World Food Program, access to the displaced and refugee 
populations.  Opposition forces closed the primary supply road 
to the GBAO for several months.  Once that route had been 
opened, the Government resumed supply convoys into the 
province.  Opposition forces in the province continued to fire 
on these relief convoys.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

In theory, a 1991 law protects freedom of speech and press, 
including the right to establish independent newspapers, 
magazines, and radio and television centers.  In practice, 
freedom of expression is severely restricted.  Journalists, 
broadcasters, and individual citizens who disagree with 
government policies cannot speak freely or critically.  
Government control was exerted over the media through:  the 
dismissal of journalists and broadcasters even tangentially 
associated with banned political parties; the criminal 
prosecution of independent journals; self-censorship by editors 
fearful of armed elements loyal to the Government; government 
control of printing presses, the supply of newsprint, and 
broadcasting facilities; and government subsidies for virtually 
all publications.  

In 1993 the number of daily and weekly publications was 
dramatically reduced.  Most of those still being published are 
government publications.  While deteriorating economic 
conditions may have played a role in the closing of 
publications, the fact that most publications no longer 
circulating favored the opposition indicates that political 
motives were a major factor in the closings.  

Since the formation of the Rahmonov Government in December 
1992, at least 30 journalists and broadcasters have fled 
Tajikistan due to well-grounded fears of political persecution 
or physical threats by armed members of militia forces.  Since 
January at least 7 journalists disappeared and are presumed 
dead.  None of the deaths can be linked directly to government 
forces, but the journalists' political orientation clearly 
suggests the involvement of government supporters.  The 
Ministry of Interior has not successfully investigated any of 
these deaths.  The local procurator's office initiated formal 
investigations but did not bring charges in any of the cases.

The criminal investigation of the independent journals Charogi 
Ruz, Adolat, Najot, Oriyon, Bomdod, Bokhtar, and Oinai 
Sikandart followed the June decision of the Ministry of Press 
and Information to suspend their publishing permits.  In 
addition, the Procurator General's office undertook a review of 
all newspapers and journals to assess culpability in the 
September 1992 overthrow of the previous government.  Due to a 
well-founded belief that criminal charges would be brought 
against his paper, the certainty of his arrest, and threats 
against his life, Charogi Ruz editor Dodojon Atuollo decided to 
publish his journal from exile in Moscow.  Faidmurodi Yoriyon, 
a journalist for the opposition-oriented publication Farhang, 
was arrested in January, and no information has been made 
available on his legal status.  Journalists for publications 
believed to be sympathetic to the opposition who remain in 
Tajikistan have regularly been called in for interrogation at 
the procurator's office.

Generally, Soviet-era restrictions on criticism of government 
figures apply:  central newspapers may upbraid regional 
officials; and the mass media may criticize those government 
officials whom the Head of State, the Prime Minister, or their 
deputies criticize.  When a major daily, Evening Dushanbe, 
attempted to print an article detailing the Procurator 
General's charges of corruption against Prime Minister 
Abdullajanov, however, armed senior supporters of the Prime 
Minister destroyed the newspaper's linotype and all copies of 
the article.  Since that incident, armed men threatened the 
family of editor Javohir Kobilov during nighttime visits.  The 
Procurator General agreed to investigate the case but forbade 
the newspaper to use the charges.  

There are no independent broadcast media in Tajikistan.  The 
State Committee on Television and Radio oversees the Republic's 
television and radio channels and is subordinate to the 
Ministry of Press and Information.  The Dushanbe city 
television network is subordinate to the city executive 
committee, and regional television services fall under the 
control of regional executive committees.  Strict 
self-censorship is practiced, and no news or programs critical 
of the Government are broadcast.

Current political divisions and fear of retribution by the 
Government's armed supporters limit academic expression.  The 
Government dismantled the Academy of Science's Institute of 
Oriental Studies which was suspected of fomenting Islamic 
"fundamentalism."  However, Institute employees were not 
prevented from finding employment with other Academy of Science 
institutes and departments.  In October arrest warrants 
reportedly were issued for four leading opposition political 
party figures who had retained senior positions at Tajik State 
University despite strong pressure from the Attorney General 
and the university rector to resign.  Two of the professors, 
deputy chairman of the Rastokhez movement Abdukokir Kholiqzoda 
and deputy chairman of the Democrat Party Abdunabi Sattorov, 
fled to Moscow.  A third, Oinihol Bobonazarova, was later 
arrested but then released and placed under house arrest 
instead after the personal intervention of Rahmonov.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly.  
However, following imposition of a city curfew in January, only 
the city commandant, who was originally the Minister of 
Interior but is now a Ministry officer within the city 
executive committee, has the power to grant permission for 
public demonstrations.  Freedom of association is circumscribed 
by a requirement that all organizations must register with the 
Ministry of Justice.  In practice, strict control is exercised 
over organizations and activities of a political nature, while 
free assembly and association are permitted for nonpolitical 
associations, including trade unions.  No permits were issued 
for antigovernment demonstrations in Dushanbe.  A spontaneous 
antigovernment demonstration took place in the city of Kulyab 
following price increases in basic commodities, and similar 
smaller demonstrations took place in the mountainous districts 
of Leninabad.  There was no government response to these 

Since the formation of the Government in December 1992, the 
only political organization to operate freely is the Communist 
Party.  On June 21, the Supreme Court formally banned the 
political parties that supported the former regime, including 
the Democrat Party, the Islamic Revival Party (IRP), the 
Rastokhez National Movement, and the Lali Badakhshan Movement 
for the Autonomy of the Pamirs.  Members of banned political 
parties are carefully watched and periodically called in for 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Church and state are separate in Tajikistan, and the Government 
places no restrictions on religious worship.  According to the 
law on freedom of faith, the Committee on Religion under the 
Council of Ministers registers religious communities.  Among 
those active in Tajikistan are the Islamic, Russian Orthodox, 
Jewish, German Roman Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventist, Baptist, 
and Baha'i.  Islam is freely practiced by more than 90 percent 
of Tajikistan's residents.  All religious communities are 
permitted to provide religious education, publish religious 
materials of a nonpolitical nature, and maintain international 
contacts and travel.  Conversion is permitted and missionaries 
are free to operate.  Religious faith confers no particular 
advantages in civil, political, economic, or military 
structures.  However, Muslims identified as adherents of the 
IRP or more broadly supportive of political Islam have been 
purged from government and military employment.

There are no official restrictions against any religious 
group.  The Qaziate (the Islamic Center and seat of the chief 
Islamic judge--and senior cleric--in Tajikistan) was closed 
from October 1992 to February 1993, at which time it was 
elevated to the rank of Muftiate.  The closure of the Qaziate 
was related to the involvement of its former leaders in the 
overthrow of the Nabiyev government and its overt support for 
the opposition during the civil war.  Akbar Turajonzoda, the 
former "Qazi Kalon" (chief judge), was a leader of the 
opposition.  His position was abolished, and he was replaced as 
the senior Islamic figure in Tajikistan by the new mufti.  

The largest religious school (madrasah), reopened in the fall 
of 1993, and other such schools operate around the country.  
However, several schools accused of open support of the IRP in 
the civil war were closed.  Qaziate and IRP newspapers were 
banned, and their editors are in exile.  Mullahs openly 
sympathetic to the IRP either fled the country following the 
civil war, assumed a very low profile, or were arrested by the 
Government.  The Government announced the trial and death 
sentence of mullah Ajik for his alleged torture and murder of 
civilians and combatants during the civil war.  It permitted 
one mullah, who openly supported the opposition but did not 
serve as a commander, to return from Afghanistan with his 
extended family.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Government has stipulated two restrictions on travel within 
Tajikistan.  Tajiks and foreigners alike are prohibited from 
travel within a 25-kilometer zone along the Republic's borders 
with China and Afghanistan.  In practice, international aid 
workers and diplomats have traveled freely in these regions 
without the Government's prior authorization.  

On October 1, the Government announced that all residents of 
Dushanbe and any travelers planning to stay longer than 3 days 
in the capital would have to register with central authorities 
and receive a permit.  The move serves to prevent the migration 
of refugees and internally displaced persons to the capital 
from their homes in areas disrupted by civil war.  Opposition 
supporters accused the Government of attempting to discriminate 
selectively in the issuance of Dushanbe residence permits 
against suspected opponents of the Government.

With the exception of residence in Dushanbe, there are no legal 
restrictions on changing residence or workplace.  Current 
regulations require registration at the local Ministry of 
Interior office upon arrival and departure.

Tajik nationals who wish to travel abroad must obtain an exit 
visa.  There is no evidence these are withheld for political 

Tajikistan has no law on emigration.  For the time being, 
persons who wish to migrate within the former Soviet Union must 
simply alert the Ministry of Internal Affairs to their 
departure.  Persons wishing to migrate beyond the borders of 
the former Soviet Union must receive the approval of the 
relevant country's embassy prior to the issuance of an 
international passport.  Persons settled abroad who do not 
intend to return are required to inform the Tajikistan 
interests section of the nearest Russian embassy or consulate.  

Persons who have emigrated to countries within the former 
Soviet Union may return freely to Tajikistan.  Those who wish 
to return to Tajikistan after residing elsewhere must submit 
their request to the Tajikistan interests section.  The 
Government adjudicates each request on a case-by-case basis.  
Reports indicate that persons, other than those who fled 
Tajikistan for political reasons at the end of the civil war, 
are freely permitted to return.  

Some 80 percent of Tajikistan's 15,000-strong Jewish community 
has emigrated to Israel through a travel program coordinated 
between the Governments of Israel and Tajikistan.  Several 
hundred Jews who were disappointed with living conditions and 
the cultural climate in Israel have returned to Tajikistan, 
primarily to the Leninabad region.  

Tajik citizenship is not known to have been revoked for 
political reasons.

Approximately 90,000 Pamiri and Garm-origin nationals fled to 
Afghanistan during the fall and winter of 1992, fearing 
persecution by victorious progovernment militia forces.  
Repatriation of the refugees commenced in the late spring, 
following government amnesty decrees absolving all but the 
opposition's political leadership from responsibility for acts 
committed during the war.  Approximately 40,000 refugees remain 
in Afghanistan.  Repatriation proceeded slowly due to continued 
incidents of harassment, murder, and discrimination against 
those returning to the southern Khatlon district and to the 
capital.  In addition, armed opposition elements in Afghanistan 
sought to prevent refugees from returning, even threatening 
death to those wishing to return.  

Approximately 30,000 internally displaced Pamiris and Garmis 
remain in the Gorno-Badakhshan region.  Many of these are 
fearful of retribution by vigilante groups and paramilitary 
forces.  In the southern region of Khatlon, particularly in the 
districts of Kabodian and Shaar Tuz, confrontations erupted 
between the local population and the displaced people, 
resulting in widespread harassment, beatings, and tens of 
deaths during the March-April period.  

As a result of conflict and instability, as many as 90,000 
Russian-speaking citizens left Tajikistan in 1993, and tens of 
thousands of ethnic Tajiks moved to the northern region of 
Leninabad.  In September the Government permitted the UNHCR to 
issue refugee documents for Afghan nationals residing in 

The Government does not force refugees to return to countries 
where they fear persecution.  However, in March it unexpectedly 
forced the return of approximately 50,000 internally displaced 
persons from Dushanbe to their home regions in the south.  
Progovernment paramilitary groups, including the special 
battalions, and groups of local men who objected to this 
decision for ethnic or economic reasons resisted the 
Government's efforts to return these displaced persons to their 
home areas.  In addition to harassment, beatings, and rape, 
several returnees were abducted and later found murdered.  The 
paramilitary groups are believed responsible for most of the 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens do not have the right to change their government 
peacefully.  Opposition political parties were banned, and 
opposition political leaders were arrested and jailed or driven 
into exile (see Section 1.d.).  No parliamentary elections have 
been held since independence, and only progovernment supporters 
ran in the elections held in June 1993 to fill the seats of 
parliamentarians who had been killed or were in exile, although 
all but one of the seats was contested.

The Government, installed in December 1992 when the Parliament 
voted to eliminate the presidential system, is composed 
principally of Kulyab, Leninabad, and Hissar regional political 
interests but has representation from all regions.  Abdul Malik 
Abdullajanov, who became Prime Minister in the Iskandarov 
regime in the fall of 1992, retained his position, as did 
several officials who served in both the Nabiyev and Iskandarov 
administrations.  Under the Rahmonov Government, the Cabinet of 
Ministers and Presidium of the Supreme Soviet quickly polarized 
into opposing bodies representing Leninabad and Kulyab regional 
interests, resulting in a paralysis of the central Government.  
In December Prime Minister Abdullajanov was forced to resign; 
however, his replacement by fellow Leninabad native Deputy 
Prime Minister Abdujalil Samadov ensures that the rivalry 
between the two branches of government will continue.

The Parliament was last elected in February 1990 under Soviet 
election laws and prior to the emergence of opposition 
political parties.  It reflects the Communist-era, old guard 
power structure to a significant degree.  The Parliament met 
only twice after the December 1992 election of the Rahmonov 
Government, in June and December 1993.  At the June session, 
senior government officials criticized the Nabiyev and 
Iskandarov regimes' economic reform efforts and the work of 
certain ministries.  Former opposition leader Sohibnazarov, in 
turn, criticized senior government leaders and was then 
denounced by other deputies.  Opposition deputies still 
resident in Tajikistan were in attendance at the Parliament 
session, including former acting president Iskandarov, and the 
Government promised to ensure their security.  However, deputy 
S. Shoyev, a resident of Garm, was abducted along with his 
brother from Dushanbe at the conclusion of the session.  Their 
bodies have not been found, but they are presumed dead (see 
Section 1.b.).

In June the Supreme Court banned four opposition parties and 
movements (see Section 2.b.) on the grounds that they had 
formed armed units and conspired to overthrow the Nabiyev 
government.  The political parties were not represented by 
lawyers, and only one opposition political member was permitted 
to testify.  The banning of the parties appears to have been 
motivated by a desire to supress and harass political dissent.

There are no legal barriers to female participation in the 
electoral process, although the elimination of Soviet-era 
quotas has resulted in proportionate declines in women's 

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Fear of armed, vigilante elements suppressed nascent human 
rights organizations.  Local citizens who served as de facto 
human rights monitors in the past, including the former 
director of the Women and Children's Hospital Sofia Hakimova, 
received anonymous threats.  The only local organizations that 
are able to monitor human rights in Tajikistan are ethnic-based 
groups which focus on freedom of emigration of minority 
populations.  These organizations enjoyed good working 
relations with the Rahmonov and previous governments.  

The Rahmonov Government discussed human rights and humanitarian 
issues with representatives of international organizations, 
including the United Nations Mission of Observers to Tajikistan 
(UNMOT), the ICRC, and the UNHCR, all of which have offices in 
Dushanbe.  In addition, the Government held discussions with 
Helsinki Watch and the Conference on Security and Cooperation 
in Europe.  In May senior government officials participated in 
an UNMOT-sponsored human rights seminar which attracted more 
than 100 participants.

In June a full-page attack on Amnesty International (AI) by the 
Ministry of Interior was published in the Tajik and Russian-
language dailies.  The Government was harshly critical of AI's 
report on Tajikistan, charging that the organization was guilty 
of biased reporting for not indicting the record of the 
opposition government in 1992.  The Ministry of Interior 
accused AI of conspiring with opposition forces to overthrow 
the Nabiyev government and of collaborating with opposition 
figures in exile.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


One legacy of the Soviet era is the widespread participation of 
women in the work force and in institutes of higher education.  
There is no formal discrimination against women in employment, 
education, or housing and in urban areas women can be found 
throughout government, academic institutes, and enterprises.  
In rural areas, women marry young, rarely receive university 
education, and are less likely--due to the large family 
size--to work outside the home.  Conservative Muslim traditions 
and ignorance in some villages result in an unknown number of 
cases of wife beating going uninvestigated; however, women's 
groups maintain that police officials and government organs 
responsibly prosecute those complaints that are filed.  No 
official information is available on the prevalence of spousal 
abuse, or prosecution of offenders, nor do nongovernmental 
organizations exist which monitor this problem.  


The Government has an extensive, if crumbling, security net for 
children.  Women are provided with 3 years' maternity leave and 
monthly subsidies for each child.  Health care is free.  In the 
aftermath of the civil war, children returning from Afghanistan 
suffered from malnutrition and experienced high mortality rates 
in settlement camps.  The Government has facilitated the work 
of international relief organizations in areas affected by the 
civil war, and public health officials reaffirm that maternal 
and children's health remains a top government priority.  
According to official figures, approximately 28 percent of the 
budget is devoted to social welfare expenditures.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

In southern Tajikistan, Kulyabi-origin Tajiks dominate local 
administrative and security offices, having displaced local 
Tajiks and ethnic Uzbeks.  Pervasive discrimination against 
refugees returning from Afghanistan is perpetrated by some 
local officials, collective farm directors, and the local 
warlords technically subordinate to the Ministries of Defense 
and Interior and the Committee on National Security.  The 
overwhelming majority have not been given their jobs back, 
despite assurances from the Government of both employment and 
back pay.  Local government officials in the south have 
informed international aid representatives that political 
tensions preclude the return of the refugees to white-collar or 
factory jobs.  In practice, most refugees remain without a 
source of income and subsist on international aid deliveries.  

The Government's intervention has been insufficient and 
inadequate to the task of reintegrating the returning 
refugees.  Government pledges to provide reconstruction 
supplies and ensure physical security have not been fulfilled.  
Returnees seeking to use the legal system to evict squatters 
from their homes are shunted from office to office and lack the 
material and financial resources to overcome bureaucratic 
inertia.  Local prosecutors willing to investigate militia 
members suspected of the harassment or murder of refugees are 
not provided with qualified staff, resources, or political 
support.  The murders of seven returnees in the Kabodian and 
Shaar Tuz districts during the June-August period were 
investigated only after international attention was brought to 
bear, and even so no suspects have been arrested.  

The language law promoting Tajik, the civil war, and the 
unresolved border conflict with Afghanistan resulted in the 
continued outflow of the Russian-speaking population which now 
numbers approximately 250,000, down from 600,000 at the 
beginning of 1992.  In contrast to the attitude of the prior 
opposition regime, however, government officials have 
encouraged the Russian-speaking community to remain.  The 
school system has retained its trilingual (Tajik, Russian, 
Uzbek) structure.

The Rahmonov Government, like governments which preceded it, 
has discriminated against Afghan nationals by not affording 
even minimal police protection to Afghans who are the victims 
of criminal elements.  In August the security guard at the 
Afghan Consulate was murdered while on duty.  Despite frequent 
official protests, security organs did not seriously 
investigate crimes against the Afghan community.  In one case, 
police ruled as suicide the case of an Afghan found hanging in 
his apartment, despite the fact his arms were bound together.

     People with Disabilities

The Law on Social Protection of Invalids adopted on January 1, 
1992, stipulates the rights of the disabled to employment and 
adequate medical care.  However, employers are not required to 
provide physical access to the disabled.  High unemployment and 
the absence of even basic technology to assist the disabled 
results, in practice, in widespread discrimination.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

According to the Law on Social Organization and the Law on 
Trade Union Rights and Guarantees, all citizens are guaranteed 
the right of association.  Included in this guarantee is the 
right to form and join associations without prior 
authorization, to organize territorially, to form and join 
federations and affiliate with international organizations 
freely, and to participate in international travel.  

Although there in no longer any requirement for a single labor 
union structure, the Communist-era Confederation of Trade 
Unions remains the dominant labor organization.  It has, 
however, shed its subordination to the Communist Party.  
Virtually all nonagricultural workers are members.  The 
Confederation consists of 20 professional trade unions and 
claims 1,689,000 members.  The separate Labor Union of Private 
Enterprise Workers has registered 3,000 small and medium 
enterprises, totaling 40,000 members, some of whom have dual 
membership in the Confederation.  Both labor unions are 
formally consulted by the Cabinet of Ministers during the 
drafting of social welfare and worker rights legislation.

The law on tariff agreements and social partnerships mandates 
that arbitration take place before a strike can legally be 
called.  Depending on the scale of the labor disagreement, 
arbitration can take place at the company, sector, or 
governmental level.  In the event that arbitration fails, 
unions have the right to strike.  Both labor unions publicly 
disavowed the utility of strikes in a period of deepening 
economic crisis and high unemployment and espoused compromise 
between management and workers.  According to the 
Confederation, there were no strikes in 1993.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to organize and bargain collectively is codified in 
the Law on Trade Union Rights and Guarantees, the Law on Social 
Partnerships and Collective Contracts, and the Law on Labor 
Protection.  Participating in collective bargaining at the 
company level are employees, members of the trade union, and 
management.  Negotiations involving an industry sector include 
officials from the relevant ministry and members of the trade 
union's steering committee for that particular sector.

Antiunion discrimination or the use of sanctions to dissuade 
union membership is prohibited.  Any complaints of 
discrimination against a labor union or labor union activist 
are immediately raised to the level of the Supreme Court and 
investigated by the Ministry of Justice. Any employer found 
guilty of firing an employee based on his union activity is 
compelled to reinstate the employee.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There is no explicit injunction in the Law on Labor Protection 
or the Law on Employment prohibiting forced or compulsory 
labor.  However, these laws provide that a person has the right 
to find work of his own choosing.  Labor inspectors within the 
local trade union structure enforce this principle.  The Soviet 
practice of compelling students to harvest cotton was outlawed 
in 1989; in January-March 1993, however, students and other 
state workers were used to pick cotton not harvested during the 
civil war.  The UNHCR received credible reports that local 
officials and collective farm directors were responsible for 
instituting forced labor of returnees and other presumed 
supporters of the former government in the district of 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

According to labor laws, the minimum age for the employment of 
children is 16.  With the concurrence of the local trade union, 
employment may begin at the age of 15.  While official data are 
lacking, children from the age of 7 routinely perform 
agricultural work, which is classified as "family assistance."  
Trade unions report any violation in the hiring of minors for 
work in enterprises.  

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

In consultation with trade union representatives, the 
Government raised the minimum wage three times in 1993.  The 
minimum wage, however, does not provide a decent standard of 
living for a worker and family.  By December 1993, the minimum 
wage was valued at only $1.25 (8,000 rubles) per month at the 
official exchange rate; on the black market, the dollar value 
would be about $0.82.

The legal workweek is 40 hours.  The Government's established 
occupational health and safety standards fall below 
international standards and are not actively enforced.  Work 
standards are enforced by the state technical supervision 
committee under the Cabinet of Ministers.  According to 
official data, more than a fifth of industrial workers worked 
in substandard conditions.  

[end of document]


Department Seal

Return to 1993 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.