Linda Aguilar,
Executive Director
Human Rights Matter

Human Rights Matter (HRM) released earlier today a joint statement along with Office of Civil Freedom (a Tajik organization working on protecting the rights of Military conscripts) criticizing the government’s Law Draft on Military duty and Military service. Although the focus of the statement on many provisions in this law draft there biggest concern is what is being regulated in Art. 36 sec. 5. According to the thorough legal analysis done, Art. 36 Sec. 5 attempts to put as an extra duty to the family of potential draftees, by requiring them to be legally responsible for the deliver of the conscript summon. This poorly drafted article delegates the unrealistic responsibility for family members of age to sign a summon which they are to deliver to the draftee. In contrary to the previous section (Ar. 36 sec. 2) of the same article which requires only the draftee to sign the summon. Article 36 sec.5 follows that if the summon is signed by the family member and the draftee fails to answer to the call of the summon, then law enforcement authorities are able to without a warrant go and pick up/ detain the missing draftee.

It is the opinion of HRM and OCF that such a drafting would legalize a well-documented human rights violation known by locals as “Round up Raids”. This practice consists of law enforcement, military commissariats, and local administration (the latter two being against the law) to go and raid places including private facilities and public spaces such as homes and schools, where young men of both legal and illegal age are taken to military commissariats and are made to serve in the military of Tajikistan. These rounds ups are seen as illegal due to their nature and in the form that people are taken. Furthermore, these rounds ups are done in an unorganized and arbitrary manner which produces a lot of false conscripts (underage, foreigners, and those who have been excluded for a variety of reasons from military service). Many victims of these round ups end-up being hospitalized due the physical violence used against them. Many family members also suffer from the sudden raids, both in an emotional and physical manner.

Another weakness of this Law Draft is that it fails to take into account the existing law and regulations found in the administrative and criminal procedural code of Tajikistan. By making vague provisions this draft law allows the law enforcement to bypass the necessary safe guards found in these codes. Just one example is the lack of mention in Art. 36 Sec. 5 of the place where the draftee or potential draftee should be taken. By failing to mention the exact place, the draft law allows for immediate transfer of those in custody to go to the military recruitment camps, without an identity or summon check as is required if you are picked up for a potential offence. In fact there is no penalty imposed if a draftee fails for the first time to show up the recruitment office. It is only after the second attempt if any sanction can be imposed.

In short, this new law draft attempts to legalize this horrific human rights violation. What is being recommended by civil society organizations is that this law nullify the requirement imposed on family members and that instead of vaguely legalizing round ups and raids that a provision be introduced to protect draftee from being forced to serve. In line with this improvement, it is recommended that any new provision take into consideration that if draftee fails to show up to his conscript duty with out a valid reason that due account should be given to the safeguards provided in the legislation of Tajikistan.

The following Human Rights organizations supported the statement:

Association Promo-Lex, Moldova

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Centre for Development of Democracy, Russia

Foundation  “Public Verdict”, Russia

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor office

Helsinki Committee, Armenia

Human Rights Centre, Azerbaijan

Human Rights Centre “Kalim Shami”, Kyrgyzstan

Human Rights Group “Citizen. Army. Law”

Human Rights Matter, Germany

Human Rights Movement “Bir Dun’yo Kyrgyzstan”

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law

Kharkov Public Foundation “Громадська Альтернатива”, Ukraine

Mejdunarodnoe Partnyorstvo za Prava Cheloveka, Brussel

Moscow Helsinki Group

Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Office for Civil Freedom, Tajikistan

Perspective Plus

Public Foundation “Legal Initiative”

Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Union of Solders’ Parents, Tajikistan

 You can find statement in Russian in the following link:

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