Some of the women human rights defenders in Tajikistan for their work, especially protection of the rights of critics and opponents, reporters and cultural activists, are under criticism or pressure and threats and become silent, and others leave the country. Some groups continue their activities despite difficulties.
November 29 is International Women’s Day. We talked to some of them.
“Now there are about 800-900 people left”
Dilrabo Samadova, head of the “Office of Civil Liberties” organization, has been working as a human rights defender in Tajikistan for almost two decades. In 2005, together with seven young lawyers, he founded the “Amparo” Association. This organization was active in three sectors – youth, disabled and soldiers – and every year it monitored the recruitment of young people to the army and the state of military service in Tajikistan.
After it closed, he founded the Office of Civil Liberties, which advocates for the rights of soldiers and young men of military age. He says that his work has not been easy all these years, but the need of the society for the help of the defenders of the rights gives him strength.
“Before the reform, we had almost 2,500 lawyers. Now there are about 800 to 900 people. In some districts there are no lawyers. Citizens go to court without a lawyer and are not aware of their rights. Another problem is, of course, reduced mutual understanding. There will be pressure,” he added.
Dilrabo Samadova and her colleagues defend the victims of violations in the army in court cases. This year, for the first time, she took part in a march for women’s rights and freedom around the world, including Tajikistan in Mexico.
Like Dilrabo, there are not many female rights defenders in Tajikistan. Their number is decreasing, but they still continue to work.
“They ask, are you not bored?”
Raihona Hakberdiyeva, manager of the social organization “Dilafruz” in Bokhtar city, mostly defends the rights of abused women. Both with good words and with the letter of the law. The fruit of his work gives him enthusiasm.
They say, teacher, you hear women crying and wailing for so long, doesn’t your heart ache? I say, it hurts, but I don’t want women to be in such a situation. I want to help such women. Of course, this affects the mood,” he emphasized.
Domestic violence in Tajikistan is usually considered an internal family affair. With this excuse, the problem of women is not addressed and NGOs are the only place where the abused knock on their door.
Tajik lawyer Shakirjon Hakimov says, “Women are more compassionate.” No matter who their client is, a woman or a man. Regardless of the difference in age, social status and human values and worldview, civil status and religious criticism, women can pay more attention to topics as mothers.”
“In some cases, in any case, prosecutors or other authorities refrain from repressing or threatening women, but it is regrettable that in recent years, depending on the motive and essence of the case, women are not given the same opportunity.” – – he added.
Tajik lawyers say that the situation has reached a point where some lawyers are forced to mediate between the victim and the prosecuting authority and lead their lives.
There is also the fact that some women human rights defenders in Tajikistan write good projects and receive support, but they are not always ready to help the unemployed. Mostly they are the ones who refuse to express their opinion with the media and raise the legal awareness of the society. Others don’t want their important work to be noticed by the authorities and cause pressure and harassment or even closure of their organization.
Source : Радио Озоди