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TITLE:  TAJIKISTAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995








                           TAJIKISTAN


The Government of Supreme Soviet Chairman and Head of State 
Emomili Rahmonov, composed of a coalition dominated by Tajiks 
from the Kulyab region who were victorious in the 1992 civil 
war, continued in power.  Fraud and intimidation marred the 
presidential election on November 6; the Government declared 
Rahmonov the winner with 58 percent of the vote.  Also on 
November 6, a new Constitution, a significant improvement over 
the Soviet-era document, was overwhelmingly approved in a 
popular referendum.

The opposition coalition of nationalists and Islamic groups 
defeated in the 1992 civil war boycotted the election and 
continued to wage a bloody insurgency along the Tajikistan-
Afghanistan border and in the southeastern district of 
Tavildara.  Under United Nations auspices, the Government and 
the opposition engaged in several rounds of talks which led to 
a prisoner exchange, a provisional cease-fire, and 
establishment of joint commissions to monitor refugee issues 
and the cease-fire and a United Nations Mission of Observers to 
Tajikistan (UNMOT).  The cease-fire began on October 20 and 
remained in effect through the end of the year, although 
several alleged violations were reported by both sides.

Internal security is the responsibility of the Ministries of 
the Interior, Security, and Defense.  The Russian Army's 201st 
Motorized Rifle Division, part of a Commonwealth of Independent 
States (CIS) peacekeeping force established in 1993, remained 
in the country.  This unit and the Border Guards, composed of 
forces from Tajikistan and several CIS members but dominated by 
Russian border forces, were responsible for guarding 
Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan.  Significant regions of 
the country, however, remained effectively outside the 
Government's control in 1994.  Opposition military units, 
supported by an increasing number of Afghan and Arab Islamic 
mercenaries, used parts of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous 
Region for training and as a base for launching their September 
offensive against the Tavildara district.  The September 
fighting was the fiercest since the formal end of the civil war 
in 1992 and produced a large number of refugees.

The economy, which is centrally planned and highly dependent on 
cotton, virtually collapsed, with up to 70 percent of industry 
standing idle by year's end.  Despite a series of loans from 
Russia, the Government fell months behind in paying salaries 
and pensions.  There were critical shortages of fuel for 
heating, transport, and industry.  Uzbekistan periodically 
suspended natural gas sales to Tajikistan for nonpayment of 
bills.  Shortages of wheat and flour led to social unrest in 
Dushanbe, the capital, and other cities in October and November.

Both Government and government-related forces committed 
widespread human rights abuses, including scores of brutal 
political assassinations and the torture and beating of 
detainees and prisoners.  Progovernment forces allegedly killed 
several mullahs with ties to the Islamic Revival Party (IRP).  
There were credible reports that progovernment militia forces, 
notably the loosely controlled "Faisali Brigade," terrorized 
noncombatants in Tavildara district, beating, raping, and 
killing civilians and looting their homes.  The Government 
prosecuted no one for political or extrajudicial killings in 
1994, and the Procurator General's office closed all cases in 
which alleged murderers were from the same region as the ruling 
Kulyabis.  Opposition forces reportedly murdered several 
Russian army officers and attacked buses carrying dependents of 
Russian military personnel.  Both sides executed prisoners.

The Government severely restricts freedom of speech and press 
freedom and completely controls the electronic media.  No 
genuine opposition media appeared during the year.  Three new 
political parties were allowed to register in 1994; four 
opposition parties affiliated with the armed opposition 
remained suspended.  The Government allowed Human Rights 
Watch/Helsinki and the Conference on Security and Cooperation 
in Europe (CSCE) to open offices in Dushanbe.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Extrajudicial Killing

There were a substantial number of extrajudicial killings, but 
fewer than in 1993.  Newspaper reports and international 
agencies put the number at between 80 and 100.  The primary 
culprits are the paramilitary groups which were not disarmed or 
disbanded after the war.  While the Government has attempted to 
incorporate these groups into the recently created Ministry of 
Defense, many groups operated well outside government control 
as informal militias and private armies.  According to credible 
reports, these groups operated with the tacit approval of some 
high-ranking officials within the Government, including the 
Minister of the Interior and officials at the Ministries of 
Defense and Security.  No government or security official, the 
majority of whom are ethnic Kulyabis, was prosecuted for an 
extrajudicial killing.  If the alleged perpetrator of a crime 
was of Kulyabi origin, the procurator's office dropped all 
charges and closed the cases.

The Faisali Brigade, a militia group consolidated within the 
Ministry of Defense after the war, killed civilians in the 
Tavildara district during the height of fighting between 
government and opposition forces.  The death toll eventually 
reached several score.  The Government withdrew the Brigade in 
September (see Section 1.g.).

Conflict between political rivals and factions within the 
ruling coalition is believed responsible for numerous killings 
of prominent businessmen and political figures.  In February a 
deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, M. Nazershoev, a 
Pamiri, was murdered near his home ostensibly for supporting 
negotiations with the opposition.  He was to have been a member 
of the delegation to the first round of talks.  In April 
unknown assailants, possibly representing hardline government 
elements, riddled the home of the Foreign Minister with 
automatic weapons fire in an unsuccessful attempt on his life.

In several instances, paramilitary leaders escaped even the 
nominal control of the Government and became warlords, 
maintaining private armies and battling over territory and 
economic riches.  At the urging of the international community, 
the Government successfully disarmed one warlord in Hissar who 
had been terrorizing local residents, stealing, beating, and 
killing those who protested.  In the two districts of Gorno 
Badakhshan controlled by the opposition, warlords also operated 
independently.  One warlord hijacked convoys of humanitarian 
aid provided by international nongovernmental organizations, 
killing several drivers.  Others fought among themselves or 
with Russian border guards in defiance of orders from the 
opposition's external political leadership.

In late May and early June, a series of assassinations of 
ethnic Russian military officers in Dushanbe left six officers 
dead.  Many within the Government claim that opposition forces, 
using terror tactics, were responsible for at least some 
deaths.  In June opposition elements fired a rocket launcher at 
a bus carrying the wives and children of Russian border guards, 
killing one pedestrian.  In October they launched a rocket-
propelled grenade into a Russian military bus, killing one 
officer and wounding several others.  Also in October, Deputy 
Prime Minister Munavvarsho Nazriyev was killed in his home 
district of Garm when his car ran over a land mine, probably 
placed by an opposition group.

In September, according to some credible reports, members of 
the Faisali Brigade tortured and killed Mullah Eshon Said 
Ashraf Shah Abdullohadov in Kurgan Tyube prison.  Mullah 
Ashraf, in prison for allegedly supporting those seeking to 
overthrow the Government, was on the opposition's list of 52 
prisoners whom the Government had agreed to release under the 
September 17 prisoner exchange agreement.  The Procurator 
General's office said that the sexagenarian Mullah Ashraf had 
died in prison on September 21 as a result of a heart attack.  
However, his body was never given to the family for burial, nor 
was an impartial autopsy allowed.

Another prisoner on the opposition list scheduled for exchange, 
Mullah Ajik Aliev, was executed in prison, allegedly on 
September 15.  There is strong suspicion, however, that he was 
killed after the September 17 signing of the cease-fire and 
prisoner exchange agreement.  Aliev, former IRP chairman in the 
Khatlon district, had been sentenced to death on August 25, 
1993, for terrorism, treason, and conspiring to overthrow the 
Government.

Progovernment forces are credibly believed to be responsible 
for the murders in February of Mullah Imkomuddin and Mullah 
Abdul Rahim.  Both were active in the IRP, and Imkomuddin, who 
had returned to Dushanbe after hiding in Komsomolobad, died of 
wounds sustained during a severe beating.  

     b.  Disappearance

The disappearance of Garmi- and Pamiri-origin men continued, 
although at a lower rate than in 1993.  The number of returned 
refugees who disappeared greatly decreased.  In many cases, 
those thought to have disappeared had in fact been conscripted 
as part of a government policy actively pursued in August and 
September in response to increased fighting both on the 
Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and in the Tavildara district. 
Young men were rounded up on the streets and in night raids on 
their homes.  Several Dushanbe newspapers estimated that at 
least 60 men and women had disappeared, aside from any 
conscripted, in the first half of 1994.

The Government has been unwilling to investigate claims of 
disappearances seriously, asserting that the Procurator 
General's office does not have sufficient resources for the 
purpose.

In December 1993, unknown assailants abducted Tagobek Shukurov, 
a sitting judge and Supreme Soviet member from Kolkhozobod, who 
had been a member of the People's Front during the war and had 
supported the return of Tajik refugees from Afghanistan.  He 
remained missing throughout the year and is now presumed dead.

The 1993 disappearance of Dr. Ayniddin Sadykov, a noted surgeon 
and chairman of the Dushanbe branch of the Democratic Party, 
remained unsolved throughout 1994.

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

Security officials, particularly those in the Ministry of the 
Interior, regularly beat detainees in custody.  Security forces 
were responsible for the widespread use of systematic beatings 
and, in some instances, the torture of prisoners and 
detainees.  Human rights groups reported that, in some cases, 
mistreatment increased if victims made formal allegations of 
abuse.

Female detainees were frequently subject to rape or the threat 
of rape.  For example, one woman, detained for the alleged 
distribution of antigovernment leaflets, was beaten while in 
custody and eventually forced to confess on threat of being 
raped in front of her young daughter.  Credible sources 
reported that the members of the Faisali Brigade raped women in 
villages under its control during the Tavildara campaign, in 
one instance beating, raping, and then burning one woman to 
death.

Prison conditions in Tajikistan declined markedly, primarily 
due to a shortage of government resources.  Food, never 
plentiful, became even more scarce, leading to an increase in 
malnutrition and disease among prisoners.  Visitors to one 
prison found officials well-intentioned but hopelessly 
ill-equipped to care for the prisoners.  A followup visit to 
the same prison found conditions improved, due to an amnesty 
which relieved overcrowding and medicines donated by 
international relief groups.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Criminal Code has not been significantly amended since 
independence, and it therefore retains many of the defects 
inherited from Soviet times.  The system allows for lengthy 
pretrial detention and provides few checks on the power of 
procurators and police to arrest persons.  The Government 
continued to arrest political opponents arbitrarily and is 
widely known to hold prisoners in incommunicado detention.  
Public order, which broke down during the civil war, has yet to 
be fully restored, and the virtual immunity from prosecution of 
armed militia groups has further eroded the integrity of the 
legal system.

Legally, police may detain persons arbitrarily and without a 
warrant for a period of 72 hours, and the procurator'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 15 months.   The first 3 
months of detention is at the discretion of the local 
procurator, the second 3 months must be approved at the 
regional level, and the Procurator General must sanction the 
remaining time in detention.  The Criminal Code maintains that 
all investigations must be completed 1 month before the 
15-month maximum in order to allow the defense time to examine 
government evidence.  There is no requirement for judicial 
approval or for a preliminary judicial hearing on the charge or 
detention.  In criminal cases, detainees may be released and 
restricted to their place of residence pending trial.

Allegations abounded of illegal government detention, well 
beyond the maximum allowed by law.  In one well-known example, 
security forces arrested four journalists in January 1993--
Mirbobo Mirakhimov, Khurshed Nazarov, Khayriddin Kasymov, and 
Akhmadsho Komilov--and held them for 18 months before their 
trial began in May 1994.  The trial was never completed as the 
four were among those released in the November 12 prisoner 
exchange; the charges against them were presumably dropped.

Once a case is entered for trial, the law states that it must 
be brought before a judge within 28 days.  However, it is 
common for cases to languish for many months before the trial 
begins.  For example, the ongoing case of Oynihol Bobonazarova, 
placed under house arrest in 1993 pending resolution of the 
continuing investigation of alleged antigovernment activities 
during 1992, has not yet been concluded.

The Government routinely uses arbitrary detention against those 
expressing views contrary to official policy.  Security forces 
routinely rounded up members of opposition political parties 
for questioning.  In most cases, they do not obtain arrest 
warrants and do not bring charges.  In August security forces, 
allegedly looking for opposition sympathizers, cordoned off 
streets and conducted house-to-house searches in the Yuzhni and 
Avoul districts of Dushanbe, detaining eight young men (see 
also Section 1.f.).  One remains in government custody, charged 
with possession of two hand grenades allegedly found during a 
warrantless search; six were released; and the last, Dashtov 
Ismanbek, died in detention.  Security forces alleged that he 
died while trying to escape by jumping out of a third-story 
window.  Those released claimed they were mistreated and beaten 
during their detention.

In August security forces detained two journalists, Makhsoud 
Huseinov and Muhammad Rahim Saidar, for allegedly distributing 
the pro-opposition newspaper Charoghi Ruz.  Huseinov and Saidar 
were informed that distribution of Charoghi Ruz was illegal, 
although the Government had never officially banned it.  While 
in detention, Huseinov was reportedly beaten.  Neither man was 
ever charged with a crime, and both were released after several 
days (see Section 2.a.).

Opposition sources maintain that security forces detained 
hundreds of persons unlawfully without charge.  As Tajikistan 
law precludes visits to persons in pretrial detention, it is 
virtually impossible for any independent organization to 
estimate the number of persons detained.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not 
been allowed access to all prisoners falling within its mandate 
according to its standard criteria since the authorities 
claimed, on legal grounds, that they could not guarantee access 
to all nonconvicted prisoners.  Nevertheless, the ICRC was 
able, in a specific context, to register and hold private talks 
with 23 detainees held by the Government and 27 detainees held 
by the opposition who were about to be liberated simultaneously 
in the framework of an agreement achieved under the auspices of 
the United Nations.

The Government proclaimed two amnesties which generally had a 
limited scope and did not affect those detained for political 
crimes.  Article 19 of the new Constitution states that no one 
can be exiled without a legal basis; no laws have been passed 
so far setting out any legal basis for exile.  Forced exile is 
not known to be used.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The court system remains unmodified from the Soviet period. 
There are several tiers of courts:  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.  Judicial officials at all 
levels of the court system are under constant heavy influence 
from both the political leadership and, in many instances, 
armed paramilitary groups.  The new Constitution establishes 
additional courts, including a Constitutional Court, and states 
that judges are independent and subordinate only to the 
Constitution and the law; it prohibits interference in their 
activities.  Provisions of the new Constitution concerning the 
judicial system had not yet been implemented at the end of 1994.

According to the law, trials are public, except in certain 
cases involving national security or the protection of minors.  
The court will appoint an attorney for those who do not have 
one.  A defendant may choose his or her own attorney but may 
not necessarily choose among court-appointed defenders.  
Arrested persons are often denied prompt, and in some cases 
any, access to an attorney.

The procurator's office is responsible for conducting all 
investigations of alleged criminal conduct.  In theory, both 
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 theoretically given equal weight, regardless of 
ethnicity or gender.  Ministry of Justice officials maintain 
that defendants benefit from the presumption of innocence, 
despite the unmodified Soviet legal statute which presumes the 
guilt of all brought to trial.

The pressure exerted on the judicial system by armed 
paramilitary groups and vigilantes who operate outside of 
government control often leads to the dismissal of charges and 
the dropping of cases.  A judge in Kurgan Tyube, Pamiri by 
origin, was forced to flee with his family for attempting to 
try the case of an armed band accused of beatings, murder, and 
robbery.  The Procurator General's order closed the case.  The 
Deputy Procurator General closed another case when it turned 
out that the defendant, a member of a group accused of robbery 
and the murders of 18 people, had fought for the Government 
during the civil war.  While crimes allegedly committed by 
progovernment groups go uninvestigated or unprosecuted, even 
minor infractions by those whom the Government views as in 
opposition are vigorously prosecuted.

Estimates of the number of political prisoners vary widely.  
The armed opposition submitted a list of 29 political prisoners 
at the Tehran round of the U.N.-sponsored inter-Tajik peace 
talks in June.  It later expanded its list to 52 at a September 
session of talks in which both sides agreed to an exchange of 
prisoners for prisoners of war (POW's).  In accord with a later 
agreement reached on November 1, the Government exchanged 27 
political prisoners for 27 POW's captured by the armed 
opposition.  According to an international human rights 
organization, scores of political prisoners remain in 
government custody.

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

Articles 22 and 23 of the new Constitution and the Criminal 
Code provide for the inviolability of the home and prohibit 
interference with correspondence, telephone conversations, and 
postal and communication rights, except "in cases prescribed by 
law."  Police may not enter and search a private home without 
the approval of the procurator.  In some cases, police may 
enter and search a home without permission, but they must then 
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 without a warrant.  In September the 
penalties for the violation of the privacy of correspondence 
were increased to several years in prison.  Also in September, 
the Supreme Soviet raised the maximum sentence for invasion of 
privacy of the home from between 2 and 5 years to between 5 and 
8 years in prison.

Numerous examples of arbitrary illegal search and seizure by 
government forces included the August raid by Interior Ministry 
forces against a predominantly Garmi and Pamiri neighborhood in 
the Yuzhni district of Dushanbe.  Security forces presented no 
warrants as they rounded up young men, apparently at random, 
and took them away.

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

The lower level of conflict in Tajikistan during 1994 provided 
a commensurate lowering of the level of allegations of 
excessive force.  However, the August-September campaign in 
Tavildara saw many excesses committed by both sides in the 
abuse of civilian populations and the confiscation of 
humanitarian aid.  Neither government forces nor the opposition 
have complete control over all elements ostensibly loyal to 
them.  Government forces, most notably the Faisali Brigade, 
swept the countryside in Vanch and upper Garm, according to one 
witness, "like an army of occupation," looting, confiscating 
crops, and beating and killing inhabitants allegedly 
sympathetic to the opposition forces then active in the area.  
On the other hand, government forces (other than the Faisali 
Brigade) who operated further to the west maintained good 
discipline, leaving the homes and property of evacuees largely 
untouched.  Casualties among civilians were lower in 1994 as 
the Government made efforts to evacuate civilians in areas of 
its operations.

Hostilities in the Garm/Tavildara districts closed the only 
road through the area several times, blocking convoys of 
humanitarian aid and the return of refugees and internally 
displaced persons.  Forces loyal to the opposition continued 
indiscriminate raids on convoys of humanitarian aid destined 
for refugees and internally displaced persons in Gorno 
Badakhshan.  A notorious opposition leader named Jumah raided 
convoys of food and medicine belonging to the Aga Khan 
Foundation, World Food Program, Medicins sans Frontieres, and 
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 
September and October.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Despite Article 30 of the new Constitution and the 1991 law 
protecting freedom of speech and press, the Government severely 
restricts freedom of expression in practice.  Journalists, 
broadcasters, and individual citizens who disagree with 
government policies cannot speak freely or critically.  The 
Government exercises complete control over the media both 
overtly through legislation and less obviously through the 
dismissal of journalists and broadcasters for their political 
or ethical convictions and the closing of independent 
journals.  The Government also controls the printing presses 
and the supply of newsprint and broadcasting facilities, and 
subsidizes virtually all publications and productions.  Editors 
fearful of reprisals by armed elements loyal to the Government 
exercise careful self-censorship.

Journalists remained prime targets for violence by both the 
Government and opposition.  Progovernment forces are believed 
to be responsible for the death of Haydarsho Khushvakt, the 
strongly progovernment editor at the newspaper Jumhuriyat.  
Although strongly progovernment himself, Khushvakt had written, 
but not yet published, a series of articles on the 
political-criminal mafia in Dushanbe which upset other 
progovernment elements.  Opposition forces were probably 
responsible for the murder in August of Davlatali Rakhmonov, 
director of programming at the State Television and Radio 
Committee and a strongly partisan Kulyabi.  In November the 
editor in chief of the Uzbek-language weekly Haq Suz was 
murdered at the entrance to his apartment building, probably in 
connection with an internal Uzbek community dispute.  In yet 
another instance, a grenade was thrown into the home of the 
editor in chief of the Uzbek-language Communist Party paper, 
wounding several members of his family.  The Government 
informed the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in 
September that investigations had been opened into all of the 
deaths of journalists during 1992-94.

The Ministry of Security detained two journalists, Makhsoud 
Huseinov of Sadoi Mardum and Muhammad Rahim Saidar, accusing 
them of distributing the pro-opposition newspaper Charoghi Ruz 
in August.  It also questioned several other alleged 
distributors in connection with their activities relating to 
Charoghi Ruz, which the Government has never officially 
banned.  Huseinov and Saidar, against whom formal charges were 
never brought, claimed that they were beaten while in custody 
in an effort to extract information from them.

In September the regional executive committee in the northern 
city of Leninabad closed the independent newspaper Ittihod for 
allegedly printing several articles critical of the 
Government.  The Government did not issue a formal ban but 
simply cut off all supplies of newsprint.  Many journalists who 
displeased the Government were fired.  Lack of pay forced those 
who could to find work elsewhere.  The economic situation 
allowed the Government to hold the newspapers hostage.  The 
Government used the press freely as a vehicle to propagandize 
on its own behalf and discredit its opponents.  For example, a 
two-page article lambasting former Prime Minister Abdulmalik 
Abdullajanov for alleged corruption was printed at the behest 
of anti-Leninabad elements within the Government.

In direct contradiction to the 1991 law, the Supreme Soviet 
passed a decree in February suspending the activity of all 
independent electronic media until it adopted a new law on the 
media.  The ban was ostensibly due to the unregulated amounts 
of violence and pornography being shown on independent 
television, but the effect was to muzzle the independent media 
during a time of political change in the country.  All but 2 of 
the 10 to 15 independent television stations, most of which are 
sponsored either by large enterprises or local executive 
committees, adhered to the ban and remained off the air for 
most of 1994.  This precluded virtually any independent 
television coverage of the inter-Tajik negotiations, the 
military situation, or the election campaign.

Academic expression is limited to a certain extent by fear of 
violent reprisals, but much more so by the complete reliance of 
scientific institutes upon government funding.  Three 
professors from Tajik State University remain either in hiding 
or under arrest, although one, Oynihol Bobonazarova, former 
dean of the law faculty, has been allowed to teach classes.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Article 29 of the new Constitution provides for freedom of 
peaceful assembly.  However, the Government suspended that 
right by the imposition of a state of emergency in all 
districts of Tajikistan except for Leninabad province.  Thus, 
all public demonstrations and gatherings were banned until the 
state of emergency lapsed in August 1994.

Freedom of association is further circumscribed by the 
requirement, in the law on nongovernmental associations, that 
all organizations must first register with the Ministry of 
Justice.  This process is often slowed by the cumbersome 
necessity to submit all documents in both Russian and Tajik.  
The Ministry of Justice's verification of the text inevitably 
delays the final granting of registration.  In practice, the 
authorities exercise strict control over organizations and 
activities of a political nature, while free assembly and 
association are permitted for nonpolitical associations, 
including trade unions.

Once registered, an organization must apply for a permit from 
the local executive committee in order legally to organize any 
public assembly or demonstration.  No permits were issued in 
1994.  In the spring, two work actions, not sanctioned by 
either the trade union or the local executive committee, 
occurred to protest the Government's failure to pay salaries 
and poor work conditions.  The Government's response to these 
actions was for the most part conciliatory, and the workers 
soon returned to their jobs.

The four political parties suspended in 1993--the IRP, the 
Rastokhez National Movement, the Lali Badakhshan Movement for 
the Autonomy of the Pamirs, and the Democratic Party--remained 
suspended.  Senior government officials stated that new 
political parties, including ones with the same names as those 
which were suspended, could be formed provided their charters 
do not conflict with the Constitution and laws of Tajikistan.  
Opposition members were not inclined to form new political 
parties, lest this be interpreted as an admission of guilt or 
wrongdoing by their suspended parties.  Three new political 
parties were registered in 1994, one of which is associated 
with defeated presidential candidate Abdullajanov.  According 
to the law, a political party must have at least 500 members to 
register.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Church and state are separate in Tajikistan, and neither the 
law nor the Government place restrictions on religious 
worship.  However, according to the law on freedom of faith, 
the Committee on Religions under the Council of Ministers 
registers religious communities and monitors the activities of 
the various religious establishments.  While the official 
reason given is to ensure that they are acting in accordance 
with the law, the practical purpose is to ensure that they do 
not become overtly political.

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

The Government has stipulated that Tajikistan citizens and 
foreigners alike are prohibited from traveling within a 
25-kilometer zone along the Republic's borders with both China 
and Afghanistan without permission from the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs.  In practice, however, international aid workers and 
diplomats travel freely in these regions without prior 
government authorization.

Residents of Dushanbe and those travelers wishing to remain 
longer than 3 days no longer need to receive a permit, although 
they must still register with central authorities.  Due to the 
state of emergency which was in place until August, all 
citizens were obliged to carry their identification cards at 
all times.  There are no legal restrictions on changing 
residence or workplace.  Current regulations require 
registration at the local Interior Ministry office upon arrival 
and departure.  Tajikistan nationals who wish to travel abroad 
must obtain an exit visa.  There is no evidence that these are 
withheld for political reasons.

Tajikistan does not yet have a law on emigration.  Currently, 
those wishing to migrate within the former Soviet Union notify 
the Ministry of the Interior of their departure.  Persons 
wishing to emigrate beyond the borders of the former Soviet 
Union must receive the approval of the relevant country's 
embassy in order to obtain their international passport.  
Persons who settle abroad are required to inform the Tajikistan 
interests section of the nearest Russian embassy or consulate.

Persons who wish to return to Tajikistan after having emigrated 
may do so freely by submitting their applications to the 
Tajikistan interests section of the nearest Russian embassy or 
consulate.  The Government adjudicates requests on a 
case-by-case basis.  There is no indication that persons, other 
than those who fled Tajikistan for political reasons after the 
civil war, are not freely permitted to return.

A refugee law passed in June guarantees a person granted 
refugee status the right to work and move freely throughout the 
country.  Following implementation of the law, the Government 
created a central department for refugees, under the Ministry 
of Labor, which worked actively with the UNHCR.  One unresolved 
issue pertains to the right of returnees who married in 
Afghanistan to bring their spouses with them to Tajikistan.  
Credible reports claimed that the Government maintained an 
unofficial policy of denying residence permits to Afghan 
spouses of returnees, thereby allowing the Government to deny 
any official status to these persons or their children.

Due to better cooperation with the Government and an increased 
level of security, the UNHCR increased the rate of return among 
Tajik refugees in Afghanistan in 1994, leaving only 
approximately 22,000 refugees there and another estimated 
16,000 internally displaced persons in Gorno Badakhshan.  
Representatives of the armed opposition in Afghanistan 
continued their efforts to dissuade Tajiks from returning, 
using threats and disinformation in the refugee camps.

One of the significant impediments to refugee repatriation 
remained the occupation of returnees' homes by those loyal to 
the victorious special battalions, special battalion members, 
and ethnic Kulyabis.  The Government is working slowly to evict 
occupiers.  Several factors limited progress on this issue, 
including lack of will among local officials, fear of revenge 
by those who protest, and lack of power among officials to act 
against often armed or well-connected occupiers.

There is no legal basis for forcible repatriation, nor is there 
any evidence to suggest that it was practiced in 1994.

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

The Government severely limits the right of citizens to change 
their government peacefully and freely.  The Government is 
dominated by a coalition composed of Kulyabi regional political 
interests.  The four main opposition parties remained 
suspended, and the majority of their leaders and party 
activists remained either jailed or in exile abroad, although a 
few Democratic Party leaders have returned to Tajikistan.

Two candidates were nominated in the presidential election 
scheduled for September:  parliamentary Chairman Emomili 
Rahmonov and former Prime Minister Abdulmalik Abdullajanov.  
Both waged strong campaigns throughout Tajikistan.  Most 
observers viewed the speed with which the Government called for 
elections in July as a transparent ploy to exclude the 
opposition from nominating candidates.  Under a combination of 
Russian and Uzbek pressure, widely supported by the 
international community, the Government postponed the election 
from September 25 to November 6 ostensibly to allow greater 
time both for the Government to organize fairer procedures and 
for the opposition to nominate candidates.  The opposition, 
however, refused to take part in any elections, claiming that 
free and fair elections were impossible under the Rahmonov 
Government.

Although the Government invited international observers to 
monitor the polls and lifted the state of emergency, people 
remained fearful of free expression.  The ban on the 
independent electronic media remained in force prior to and 
during the election.  The Government controlled all aspects of 
the planning for the election and openly favored the 
incumbent.  Voter registration lists did not fully take into 
account the massive dislocation caused by the civil war.  
Refugees outside Tajikistan were unable or afraid to register, 
thereby effectively excluding a large number of persons who 
might have opposed the government candidate at the polls.  The 
election was marked by open intimidation by government security 
forces who, in some locations, threatened to kill anyone voting 
for Abdullajanov.  The stuffing of ballot boxes and the 
substitution of entire boxes was reported at a number of 
polling stations.  Vote-count rigging was also strongly 
suspected.

No parliamentary elections have been held since independence.  
The Government has scheduled elections for February 1995 when 
the term of the present Parliament expires.  The Supreme Soviet 
adopted a new parliamentary election law in December, 
incorporating some suggestions by the CSCE.  While the new law 
was somewhat better than the presidential election law, many 
outside observers believe the law still allows undue government 
influence in the electoral process.

There are no barriers to female participation in the electoral 
process, although since the removal of Soviet-era quotas the 
number of female deputies has declined.  At year's end, there 
were eight female deputies in the Supreme Soviet, a female 
deputy prime minister, and seven women serving in positions 
with the rank of minister or deputy minister.

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

The Government's record on dealing with international and 
nongovernmental investigation of alleged human rights abuses 
ranged from poor to mixed.  Fear of persecution by government 
or extragovernmental elements has all but precluded efforts by 
Tajikistan citizens to form their own human rights 
organizations.  Nonetheless, one indigenous group has begun to 
work its way through the labyrinthine process of government 
registration.  One official organization, formed at the end of 
1993 by the head of the Writer's Union, works with the 
Government's blessing and serves primarily as a rubber stamp 
for government actions.

The Government worked closely with the UNHCR on behalf of 
refugees and internally displaced persons and with the UNMOT 
and the U.N. Secretary General's special representative in the 
course of the inter-Tajik talks.  The UNHCR reported that, 
while there had been no convictions of individuals accused of 
crimes against refugees, the Government's responsiveness was 
greater than in 1993.  Those cases which the UNHCR brought to 
the attention of local authorities were investigated, albeit 
with varying degrees of enthusiasm (see Section 5).

In February the CSCE opened an office in Dushanbe, and in April 
a permanent representative of Human Rights Watch/Helsinki 
arrived.  These organizations and the ICRC reported a mixed 
level of cooperation from the Government.  The ICRC has not yet 
obtained access to all prisoners but has found the military 
responsive to its program of education on the tenets of the 
Geneva Convention.  The CSCE believed that the Government 
ignored many of its suggestions for the new Constitution and 
the electoral law.  Although it obtained access to the Justice 
and Interior Ministries and the procurator's office, Human 
Rights Watch/Helsinki reported that access did not always lead 
to government responsiveness.

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

     Women

The participation of women in the work force and in institutes 
of higher learning is one of the more positive legacies of the 
Soviet era.  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.  However, in rural areas, women tend to marry 
young, have large families, and only rarely receive university 
education.  Due to the prevalence of large families, women in 
rural areas are also much less likely to work outside the 
home.

Conservative Muslim traditions, especially in rural areas, 
resulted in an unknown number of cases of wife beating going 
uninvestigated.  There is no evidence that police officials and 
government organs do not responsibly prosecute those complaints 
that are filed.  No official data are available on the 
prevalence of spousal abuse, nor are there nongovernmental 
organizations that monitor this problem.

The threat of rape is widespread, and rape or the threat of 
rape is sometimes used as a means of coercion of women 
detainees.  Women rarely go out alone and almost never at 
night.  In the countryside, particularly in Khatlon, women 
seldom leave the security of their cooperative farm to venture 
out unaccompanied.

     Children

The extensive government social security network for child 
welfare continued to deteriorate.  Women are provided 3 years 
of maternity leave and monthly subsidies for each child.  All 
health care is free.  However, the Government's lack of 
financial resources left it unable to fulfill many of its 
obligations for the provision of subsidies and care for mother 
and child health.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

After the civil war, over 90,000 people of primarily Garmi and 
Pamiri origin fled to Afghanistan to avoid reprisals by 
progovernment forces.  The repatriation of Tajiks continued 
during 1994, and the Government encouraged their return.  While 
making a good faith effort to assist with the repatriation of 
refugees, particularly those from Afghanistan, the Government 
did not fulfill many of its pledges, including the payment of 
reconstruction fees for returning refugee families.  However, 
in general security for returnees was adequate, and the UNHCR, 
with which the Government cooperated, accelerated the rate of 
repatriation.

In southern Tajikistan and in Dushanbe, Kulyabi-origin Tajiks 
continued to displace other ethnic groups in local government 
positions and, most notably, in the security forces.  Local 
procurators who attempt to investigate militia members 
suspected of the harassment or murder of refugees do not have 
sufficient qualified staff, resources, or political support.  
In many cases, fear of reprisals and threats result in the 
withdrawal of information and allegations.  The UNHCR reported, 
however, that local officials actively investigated a number of 
cases which the UNHCR brought to their attention and made 
several arrests.

With the exception of the trilingual (Tajik/Uzbek/Russian) 
school structure, neither the Uzbek nor the Russian language is 
afforded any official status in Tajikistan, despite the large 
numbers these ethnic minorities represent.  In practice, 
Russian is still widely used in government, although it is not 
an official language.  Uzbek speakers represent approximately 
26 percent of the population, and Russian speakers an estimated 
2 percent.  The nonofficial status of the Russian language 
contributed to the steady exodus of Russian speakers from 
Tajikistan.  Those remaining see little future for themselves.  
While the Government has repeatedly expressed its desire for 
the Russian-speaking population to remain, economic conditions 
provide little incentive for them to do so.  Russian-language 
schools claimed that they were routinely shortchanged in the 
apportionment of government funds.

During May, June, and July, the Government initiated a campaign 
to disarm the local militias operating outside its control in 
southern Tajikistan.  Kulyabi security forces, who were 
conducting the campaign, engaged in numerous beatings and 
illegal searches aimed mainly at the Uzbek minority.  Human 
rights groups protested, charging that the security forces were 
employing inhumane tactics in searching for weapons and that in 
reality Kulyabi forces were using the campaign to disarm their 
ethnic rivals, the Uzbeks.  Another disarmament campaign was 
launched in December after the presidential election, but it 
did not target Uzbeks in particular and relied on voluntary 
surrendering of weapons.

The Rahmonov Government, like governments before it, 
discriminated against Afghan nationals by not giving Afghans 
who are the victims of criminal elements even minimal police 
protection.  Although the Government signed the 1951 Convention 
on Refugees and passed a national law on refugees in 1994, 
international groups, in particular the UNHCR, charged with the 
protection of Afghan refugees in Tajikistan, lodged frequent 
protests with the Government over its treatment of Afghan 
refugees.  The UNHCR registered some 600 Afghans as refugees in 
Tajikistan during 1994.  An unresolved problem stems from the 
unofficial government policy of denying official status to the 
Afghan spouses of returning Tajik refugees (see Section 2.d.).

     People with Disabilities

The Law on Social Protection of Invalids adopted in 1992 
stipulates the right of the disabled to employment and adequate 
medical care.  In practice, however, the Government does not 
require employers to provide physical access for the disabled.  
The absence of basic technology or the financial means to 
implement the technology available to assist the disabled 
results, in practice, in high unemployment and widespread 
discrimination.  There is no law on accessibility for the 
disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Law on Social Organization and the Law on Trade Union 
Rights and Guarantees provide all citizens with the right of 
association.  This includes 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.

The Confederation of Trade Unions, a holdover from the 
Communist era, remains the dominant labor organization, 
although it has since shed its subordination to the Communist 
Party.  The Confederation consists of 20 professional trade 
unions and currently claims 1,500,000 members--virtually all 
nonagricultural workers.  The separate Trade Union of Private 
Enterprise Workers has registered 3,241 small and medium-sized 
enterprises, totaling 60,000 members, some of whom have dual 
membership in the Confederation.  The Council of Ministers 
formally consults both labor unions 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 union may legally call a 
strike.  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, but both labor unions have 
publicly disavowed the utility of strikes in a period of 
deepening economic crisis and high unemployment and espoused 
compromise between management and workers.

The state of emergency, in place in all regions of Tajikistan 
except Leninabad until August, restricted the right of workers 
to strike.  While there were no official, union-sanctioned 
strikes, several wildcat strikes occurred.  A combination of 
government capitulation and intimidation quickly settled two 
walkouts in April.  Newspaper workers and journalists and, 
separately, the teachers in one secondary school refused to 
enter their workplaces to protest the lack of materials and 
salary payments.  The Government met quickly with the newspaper 
workers, reaching a compromise in which the workers were back 
at their jobs the next day.  Several teachers reported that 
Interior Ministry officials had ordered them back to work under 
threat of reprisal, although the Ministry also made 
conciliatory efforts with the teachers, who soon returned to 
work.

Since the expiration of the state of emergency, teachers again 
walked off the job in September, this time in much larger 
numbers.  Teachers in the Frunze district of Dushanbe refused 
to continue classes in protest over salaries that had not been 
paid in more than 6 months.  The teachers formed a strike 
committee independent of the union, and the Government 
negotiated with it about a return to work.  Also in September, 
some local residents in the southern town of Nizhni Pyanj 
refused to pick cotton until the local bakery provided them 
with bread.

None of the strikes have had the sanction of the labor unions 
and were, hence, illegal.  Despite the unsanctioned nature of 
the September strike, the union intervened with the Government 
on behalf of the teachers to prevent any from being fired.  The 
Ministry of Labor recognized that nonpayment of salaries to 
workers was a violation of International Labor Organization 
regulations.

     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 union's 
steering committee for that particular sector.  As the economic 
situation worsens, it is becoming increasingly difficult for 
enterprises to engage in effective collective bargaining.

The law prohibits antiunion discrimination or the use of 
sanctions to dissuade union membership, nor may a worker be 
fired solely for his or her union activity.  Any complaints of 
discrimination against a labor union or labor union activist 
are first considered by a local labor union committee and, if 
necessary, raised to the level of the Supreme Court and 
investigated by the Ministry of Justice. The law compels an 
employer found guilty of firing an employee based on union 
activity to reinstate the employee.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Neither the Law on Labor Protection nor the Law on Employment 
specifically prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  The Soviet 
practice of compelling students to pick cotton was officially 
banned in 1989.  However, due to the lack of fuel and 
mechanical harvesting equipment, in the fall students were 
again sent to the fields to pick cotton, as they were in 1993.  
In parts of Khatlon province, press gangs randomly dragooned 
people on the streets and sent them to the cotton fields.  
There were also credible reports that young men of families who 
had returned to Khatlon were forced to work on the private farm 
plots of ethnic Kulyabis.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

According to labor laws, the minimum age for the employment of 
children is 16, the age at which children may also legally 
leave school.  With the concurrence of the local trade union, 
employment may begin at the age of 15.  Workers under the age 
of 18 by law work no more than 6 hours a day and 36 hours per 
week.  However, children as young as 7 years of age participate 
in agricultural work, which is classified as "family 
assistance."  Trade unions are responsible for reporting any 
violations in the employment of minors.  Cases not resolved 
between the union and the employer may be brought before the 
Procurator General, who may investigate and charge the leader 
of the enterprise with violations of the Labor Code.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The President, on the advice of the Ministry of Labor and in 
consultation with trade unions, sets the minimum monthly wage, 
which in 1994 was approximately $3.20 (8,000 rubles) at the 
rate of exchange in late 1994.  This wage falls far short of 
providing a decent standard of living for a worker and family.  
In January, in response to the continuing economic crisis and 
the shortage of banknotes, the Government introduced a maximum 
monthly salary of $25.60 which could be paid in cash.  The 
remainder of all workers' salaries are paid on account, meaning 
a credit that the worker could then theoretically use to 
purchase goods at any state-run shop.

Tajikistan's economy virtually collapsed in 1994, with 60 to
70 percent of its industry standing idle by the end of the 
year. As factories and enterprises shut down, workers were laid 
off or put on compulsory vacation for weeks and months on end.  
Some establishments, both governmental and private, compensated 
their employees in kind with food commodities or the output of 
that particular concern for which the employee worked.  The 
employee could then sell those products in local private 
markets.

The legal workweek for adults (over age 18) is 40 hours, with a 
weekly 48-hour rest period.  Overtime payment is mandated by 
law, with the first 2 hours of overtime to be paid at one and 
one-half times the normal rate and the rest of the overtime 
hours at double time.

The Government has established occupational health and safety 
standards, but these fall far below accepted international 
norms, and the Government does not actively enforce them in 
practice.  The enforcement of work standards is the 
responsibility of the State Technical Supervision Committee 
under the Council of Ministers.  While new statistics were not 
available, it is virtually certain, given the continuing 
economic decline, that 1993 statistics, which reported that 
over one-fifth of the population worked in substandard 
conditions, greatly underreport the number working in 
substandard conditions in 1994.  Workers can leave their jobs 
with 2 months' notice but, given the bleak employment 
situation, few choose to do so.
(###)

[end of document]

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