Tajikistan | Freedom House

Nations in Transit

Tajikistan

Tajikistan

Nations in Transit 2007

2007 Scores

Democracy Score
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

5.96

National Democratic Governance
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

6.25

Electoral Process
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

6.50

Civil Society
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

5.00

Independent Media
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

6.25

Local Democratic Governance
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

5.75

Judicial Framework and Independence
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

5.75

Corruption
(1 = best, 7 = worst)

6.25
Executive Summary: 

In 2006, Tajikistan culminated 15 years of independence and nearly a decade of societal and political peace brought about by a June 1997 accord signed in Moscow between the government and the armed opposition. The bloody civil war (1992–1997), which entailed the loss of roughly 50,000 lives, massive damage to infrastructure and the economy, and the displacement of up to one million people within and outside the country, is undoubtedly the lowest point in Tajikistan’s contemporary history. On the other hand, the peace accord brokered by the United Nations, Russia, and Iran and the consequent achievement of substantial stability and macroeconomic growth are among Tajikistan’s major achievements in its short history as an independent state. There remains room for progress, however. For though in the first half dozen years of its independence, some amount of political pluralism was achieved as required in the signing of the peace accord, in the past few years there has been little real progress in furthering the democratization process, political openness, and human rights.

The most important event of 2006 was the presidential election held on November 6. As was predicted by all observers, the incumbent, President Emomali Rahmonov—who changed his name to Rahmon in 2007 during the editing of this report—saw a landslide victory. Although five political parties fielded candidates in the race, the major opposition parties—Islamic Renaissance Party, Democratic Party, and Social Democratic Party—either refused to participate actively in the election or boycotted the process altogether as a sign of protest.

Resource-rich and petrol-poor, Tajikistan’s rough geography has prevented the ready processing and export of a variety of commodities, and despite the improving economy, the country remains largely dependent on foreign aid and investment; and substantial increases in the latter, especially from Russia and China for infrastructural projects, were seen during 2006. However, increased attention to Central Asia, including from Western states after 9/11, though encouraging, has not come with much improvement in the capacity of government structures and the nascent civil society of Tajikistan. And though the government made some efforts in formulating a new anticorruption agency toward the end of 2006, no real progress in combating the all-encompassing scourge of corruption has been made.

National Democratic Governance. Despite semblances of political pluralism, opposition voices have been largely stymied for the past few years. Genuine political parties have not been formed, and during the November 2006 presidential election, key opposition parties refused to nominate candidates or participate actively in the election. President Rahmon has, in turn, taken his third-term victory at the polls as a mandate for a stronger presidency. He has continued to implement a de facto patronage and clan-based policy when staffing his cabinet and various positions of power throughout the republic. The Parliament remains largely a rubber-stamp entity, with many of its members either appointed or elected through an uncompetitive semi-democratic process. Though the country remains stable and peaceful, given the lack of pluralism and improvements in the democratization process, underlying frustrations and unspoken dissent are present. Owing to the lack of improvement in political pluralism, genuine engagement, and power sharing, Tajikistan’s score for national democratic governance remains unchanged at 6.25.

Electoral Process. The result of the November 6, 2006, presidential election was no surprise as the incumbent, President Rahmon, was well expected to be victorious and in the end reportedly took nearly 80 percent of the vote. Despite the genuine popularity of his administration (based on anecdotal evidence that his administration is associated with peace and economic development), Rahmon made sure that real rivals to his rule would not be running in the election. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which sent over 120 election observers to the November election, also determined that despite the peaceful nature of the poll, there were a series of violations mostly related to Tajikistan’s general commitments to democracy under the OSCE 1990 Copenhagen Document. The November 2006 presidential election lacked genuine competitive spirit, with several key parties having chosen not to participate. Though opposition candidates were given limited airspace on radio and television, the government was in near full control of the media, resulting in a disproportionate campaign opportunity for the incumbent. For these reasons, Tajikistan’s rating for electoral process worsens from 6.25 to 6.50. 

Civil Society. The dynamics of civil society in Tajikistan remained unchanged during 2006. Over 2,500 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were thought to be registered, with less than 10 percent active in varying degrees. Furthermore, donor support for programs remained relatively constant, and the government neither allowed free rein to existing groups nor further restricted their activities. A draft law to restrict the activities of NGOs was introduced, but it had yet to be voted on by the end of 2006. Given both the lack of progress in developing a more vibrant civil society in Tajikistan and the government’s distrustful and stagnant attitude toward the activities of this sector in 2006, Tajikistan’s rating for civil society remains unchanged at 5.00.

Independent Media. During 2006, the work of independent media in Tajikistan was characterized largely by stagnation, as the government did not engage in any heavy-handed attacks on existing media outlets as in years past. At the same time, it did not allow new independent media to function. During the weeks leading up to the 2006 presidential election, the state media were used heavily as a source of campaign propaganda for the incumbent government candidate, while opposition candidates were nonetheless each given nearly an hour of airtime on radio and television. Fearing repercussions from the authorities, journalists continued to generally practice their well-polished skills of self-censorship and avoidance of controversy. Given the stagnant status quo of the media, where practically no outlet was banned for a long period of time and no new independent media outlets were allowed to register, Tajikistan’s rating for independent media remained at 6.25.

Local Democratic Governance. Democracy in Tajikistan did not progress in 2006, especially at the subnational province, district, city, town, and jamoat levels. Though overall poverty continues to fall, the country’s economic growth appears primarily to aid citizens in major cities, and an increasing mostly urban-rich/rural-poor income gap has been developing. Cotton farming continues to be a de facto government policy, with thousands of farmers not having control over the types of crops they prefer to grow. Despite the supposedly “strategic” nature of the crop, cotton farmers have far worse living conditions than non-cotton farmers. Given the lack of progress in local and democratic decision making and near nonexistent elections at the subnational levels, Tajikistan’s rating for local democratic governance for 2006 remains unchanged at 5.75.

Judicial Framework and Independence. Despite attempts to reform the judicial system, little progress has been achieved in the past few years. In its 2006 report, the UN committee overseeing the Convention Against Torture asked the government to ensure prompt and objective investigations of violations of due process, look into all instances of deaths in custody, shorten the current pretrial detention (doznanie), and establish an independent health examination service aside from those of the Internal Affairs and Justice Ministries. Likewise, the 2005 recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers remain in place including, among other things, Tajikistan’s Office of the Prosecutor must abide by international standards to promote equality of judicial powers in proceedings, for independent legal counsel to be allowed, and the discarding of confessions extracted via torture and abuse. Given the continuing problematic and unreformed justice system and lack of access by objective international bodies (namely, the International Committee of the Red Cross) to state prisons and detention centers, Tajikistan’s score in judicial framework and independence remains unchanged at 5.75.

Corruption. Impressive macroeconomic growth (averaging about 9 percent) in the past five years, though resulting in a measurable reduction in the poverty level, has not resulted in any known or perceived reduction in the level and extent of corruption in Tajikistan. Corruption remains possibly the most pervasive problem in Tajikistan’s post-Communist transition. Given the continued entrenchment and ubiquitous nature of corruption in all aspects of public life in Tajikistan and the fact that the government’s efforts in 2006 to establish a centralized anticorruption agency were not sufficient to produce real results, Tajikistan’s score on corruption remains unchanged at 6.25.

Outlook for 2007. The tenth anniversary of the Tajik peace accord will be held in June 2007. Both the government and many in the international community agree that greater emphasis must now be put on economic progress in Tajikistan—namely, investment in a variety of projects and opportunities for credit, business start-ups, and joint ventures. The year is thus likely to see substantial attention paid to the economic sphere and the signing of new multilateral and bilateral deals. Yet given the government’s state of denial regarding major problems in human security, human rights, and democratization, and the international community’s haphazard engagement in these sectors, a growing gap is expected. As was the case in 2006, a lag between progress in Tajikistan’s macroeconomic growth and achievements for the average citizen, especially on issues of law and justice existed. This gap cannot be alleviated unless both the authorities and the international community—including financial institutions—insist on progress in democratization and human rights as preconditions to, or concurrent activities alongside, economic progress.

National Democratic Governance: 

Political pluralism was alive in Tajikistan in the first years following the signing of the 1997 General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord (“the peace accord,” signed in Moscow between the Tajik government and the armed opposition) ending the 1992–1997 civil war, which resulted in 50,000 deaths. The government had allowed opposition parties and appointed close to 30 percent of high-ranking positions from among opposition figures. For all practical purposes, however, pluralism in the diversity of representation and ideas among real political parties has for the past few years been in short supply. Indeed, leading up to the November 2006 presidential election, a “shrinking space for alternative political voices”1 was noticeable, as a reversal had already taken place in the progress made by the peace accord. Several obstacles were reimposed on dissenting voices, discouraging active political opposition.

The power base in Tajikistan comprises traditional, “patriarchal clan-based” figures relying on “patronage and consanguineal networks,” which came to the fore immediately after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union.2 As one of the victorious ex-Communists, President Emomali Rahmon—appointed head of state in 1992, and later winning three controversial elections in 1994, 1999, and 2006—has indulged in the same tradition: He has enforced a de facto policy of “Kulobization,” or the appointment of trusted individuals from Kulob, the home region of the president, to key governmental positions. At the same time, other ethnic groups, such as the country’s substantial Uzbek population, have been largely left out of the central government.

Tajikistan’s 1994 Constitution provided for a directly elected executive, though with a broad authority to appoint and dismiss officials. Constitutional amendments adopted in 1999 created a bicameral Parliament and further increased the powers of the president by extending his term in office from five to seven years. The amendments also granted the president discretion to determine the general direction of domestic and foreign policies, establish the monetary system, and appoint diplomats and all court judges (nominated by the Council of Justice, itself a body formed under the president). In 2003, a public plebiscite (the details of which were rarely discussed in the media) overwhelmingly approved 56 additional constitutional amendments, including a formal end to state guarantees for free education and health care and an amendment allowing the president to stand for election in two additional seven-year terms as interpreted by the government.

Though the principle of separation of powers is enshrined in the Constitution, in practice the Majlisi Oli (Parliament) acts as a rubber stamp for decisions made by the executive. According to Article 27 of the Constitution, the public and members of civil society have the right to introduce new bills to the Parliament through their elected representatives and to participate as invited observers during parliamentary committee discussions on new and draft laws when the proposed legislation “requires open discussion.”3 Such a right, however, is seldom practiced by the public or encouraged by the government.

Like many of the states in the region, Tajikistan has exploited the post-9/11 environment of fear and suspicion in order to suppress the country’s legitimate opposition, such as the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP), which remains the only legal Islamist organization registered as a political party in the former Soviet Union. At one point, the government accused the IRP of indoctrinating extremism and implied a link between the IRP and the banned panregional Islamist extremist groups Hizb ut-Tahrir (Freedom Party) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).4 The IRP itself has faced an internal struggle. In August 2006, it lost its conciliatory leader, Sayed Abdullo Nuri, while disagreements remain about the party’s mandate among its overtly religious and secular-minded wings. As a sign of worsening relations between the state and the IRP, the news of Nuri’s death was not broadcast on state television, nor was his body allowed to be buried at the location indicated in his will: near the mausoleum of his mentor, Muhammadjon Rutamov. Rutamov, also known as Mawlavi Hindustoni, was the spiritual leader of the Islamic Movement youth group, which was banned in the 1970s.5

In March 2006, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Rahmatullo Zoirov, accused the government of having imprisoned at least 1,000 political figures. He also claimed that the authorities are holding up to 500 alleged members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, imprisoned mostly on fabricated terror charges. Soon after Zoirov’s comments, the prosecutor general of Tajikistan cautioned him that he could face prosecution unless he produced evidence to back up his claims.6 Zoirov, a former adviser to the president on constitutional affairs, challenged Rahmon’s eligibility to run in the November 2006 election and thus will likely continue to be sidelined by the authorities. Zoirov claims that an unconfirmed attempt on his life by poisoning was related to his political outspokenness.7

The year was not without its share of political violence. In January 2006, the head of the Defense Ministry’s military academy, Hakimshoh Hafizov, was mysteriously assassinated. A month later, gunmen stormed a jail in the northern Sughd province, killing the prison head and freeing at least one prisoner, an act the authorities blamed on the IMU. Similar to the previous year, the authorities arrested dozens, if not hundreds, of people during 2006 on charges of membership in radical Islamist groups.8 In May, Sadullo Marupov, an activist of the IRP in the northern town of Isfara, died while in police custody, with the police initially claiming that he had committed suicide by jumping from the third story of the detention facility. The IRP rejected the idea of Marupov’s suicide, claiming that he had been physically mistreated while in custody.9

It has been argued that the post-Communist transition states are not facing not a lack of, but too much stability, brought about by an entrenched elite that benefits from rent seeking and economic distortions.10 In the case of Tajikistan, the current stability is a precarious one. Poverty has been reduced, but not eradicated, and a growing income disparity is on the rise, both being destabilizing factors.11 The drop in poverty is an effect of the trickle-down benefits from Tajikistan’s impressive economic growth of recent years, owing in part to the government’s prudent macroeconomic policies but also to the ongoing drug trade and massive incoming remittances, mostly from Russia.12

Electoral Process: 

The November 6, 2006, presidential election was a foregone conclusion in favor of incumbent president Emomali Rahmon, still genuinely popular among the majority of citizens, who view his administration as a stabilizing factor. In addition to seeing Tajikistan through its post-independence civil war, Rahmon has been credited with presiding over the country’s significant economic recovery, average real gross domestic product growth of around 9 percent for 2001–2005, accompanied by gradual decreases in overall poverty.

Despite his overwhelming popularity, Rahmon and his highly skilled administration took no chances with the 2006 election and stacked the cards in their favor. Among other things, as early as 2003, a campaign of intimidation and arrests was launched against selected individuals. Three figures were systematically taken out, starting with Yaqub Salimov, a former close friend and colleague of the president, who together with Rahmon served as one of the commanders of the Popular Front (armed bands that sided with the former Communists during the civil war) and served later as interior minister, ambassador to Turkey, and director of the National Customs Agency. Salimov was lured to Moscow from his self-exile in the Persian Gulf and subsequently arrested, rendered to Tajikistan, and eventually tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Soon after, Ghaffor Mirzoyev, also a former commander of the Popular Front, later in charge of the presidential guard and director of Tajikistan’s antidrug agency, was arrested in Dushanbe, tried, and sentenced to life imprisonment in July 2006. A potential presidential contender and head of the Democratic Party (DP), Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, was also snatched in Moscow in 2004 (just prior to the February 2005 parliamentary elections), extradited to Tajikistan, and later sentenced to 23 years in prison. At the same time, however, Rahmon and his aides made sure that the composition of the 2006 presidential race was large enough (five candidates) to satisfy the mostly Western critics, yet weak enough among the opposition candidates to serve as a platform for a highly predictable victory.

Days prior to the November 6 election, the outspoken leader of the SDP, Rahmatullo Zoirov, called the election “illegitimate.” He further claimed that the election was not constitutionally valid since the election law was passed several months prior to adoption of Tajikistan’s current Constitution in November 1994. Zoirov also criticized the composition of the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) for being politically monolithic and announced that Rahmon, who had already served two presidential terms, had no legal right to run for a third term.13 Constitutional amendments on the terms of the presidency passed in 2003 were interpreted by the government as allowing Rahmon to serve for two additional seven-year terms. This made him eligible to run for the 2006 and the 2013 elections, thus possibly remaining in power until 2020. According to the CEC, 88.5 percent of eligible voters, equivalent to 3.2 million people, took part in the November 2006 election. To no one’s surprise, Rahmon, leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won the race with a comfortable majority, having reportedly been the choice of four out of five voters (79.3 percent).14

The OSCE sent nearly 120 observers to the 2006 election. According to the OSCE, the presidential election was an improvement over that in 1999, with some aspects genuinely meriting positive ratings. Given the recent violent past of Tajikistan, the calm and peaceful process of the election was welcomed. Despite the skewed nature of the political atmosphere, where the ruling candidate had overwhelming access to the media and funds, the CEC did allow a limited amount of free airtime and print space to opposition candidates (though, ironically, most parties did not use their full allotment).15

But the OSCE was also critical. The lack of a credible challenger to Rahmon and the incumbent’s choice not to campaign resulted in a largely uncompetitive race. Furthermore, the election was criticized for its “negative voting process,” where voters had to cross out all of the candidates they did not favor, rather than circling just one. In general, the election strayed from Tajikistan’s commitment to democracy in the OSCE 1990 Copenhagen Document adopted by all 56 member states, including Tajikistan. According to the OSCE, Tajikistan’s presidential election law is flawed by serious limitations on the rights of candidates. It also poses restrictions on free speech and expression and entails a cumbersome threshold of 5 percent of voter signatures to run in elections.

Some experts doubted the CEC’s claim that the five candidates together had gathered 1.5 million signatures (over 47 percent of the electorate). The OSCE considered the 5 percent threshold to be excessive, recommending a 1 percent limit instead.16 Though the OSCE deployed a significant number of observers, it questioned the utility of such an observation given the dubious preelection environment, where the credibility of at least two of the candidates and their respective parties running against Rahmon and the PDP were in doubt. Additionally, most of the major media outlets served the ruling candidate, with grossly insufficient, low-key coverage devoted to the four other candidates. Rahmon and the ruling PDP reportedly had access to 83 percent of coverage on the Dushanbe-based Safina television channel and 62 percent on TVT, both of which are state broadcasting stations. More importantly, there was a near blackout in analytical and critical coverage of the election. The media were generally silent when it came to analyzing why the most prominent opposition parties—IRP, DP, and SDP—either refused to put forth their own candidates or, in the case of the latter two, formally boycotted the election.

Civil Society: 

In addition to the modern, Western definition of NGOs and civil society, an informal “communal” civil society has existed for centuries in Tajikistan and the rest of Central Asia. This form of civil society is based largely on “trust and solidarity networks”17 associated with kinship ties and on the imposition of the majority will over the community. Above all it is highly traditional, and may contain elements of repression, especially toward a nonconforming minority.18

The zhuz (hordes), or extended clan networks, have acted as a focal point for traditional civil society, for the nomadic Central Asians, while the mahalla, or community neighborhood, has been the venue for communication, exchange of information, group volunteer work (hashar), and decision making for the sedentary Tajiks and Uzbeks. Elements of mahalla civil society also take place in the bazaar, choikhona (teahouse), and masjid (mosque) or church. As opposed to the more authoritarian state of Uzbekistan, where the mahalla has become a standardized tool of the government, with many observers believing that it “exploit[s] the voluntarism of the community in support of state-directed objectives,”19 the Tajik version of the mahalla has remained less politicized and more in tune with genuine affairs of the local community.

In Tajikistan, as in nearly all former Soviet states, the Gorbachev era of the late 1980s, with its principles of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), encouraged the budding of the modern civil society. Not all developments associated with freely-formed public associations were positive in nature. Some of the informal NGOs formed just prior to and immediately after independence contributed to the wrenching sociopolitical conditions (by appealing to ethnic and nationalist sentiments) that eventually led to the country’s bloody civil war. Given that traumatic experience, the public has largely lost trust in the few nonstate critical voices, with dissent and political opposition equated with violence and agitation of Tajikistan’s fragile peace.20

At the same time, Western ambitions to induce democratization and respect for human rights in Tajikistan have led to a plethora of donors with limited projects and civil society entities as beneficiaries. This scenario, in effect for the past 16 years, has had a negative effect on the evolution of civil society. The spread of more than 2,500 registered NGOs in Tajikistan may be promising only on paper as less than 10 percent are active. Given the relatively few active NGOs specializing in human rights, women, children, the environment, judicial reform, and the like, large amounts of funding from mainly Western donors are readily available.

Yet the availability of funds for a limited number of minimally coherent and professionally functioning groups has had a highly corrupting influence. Too often, existing NGOs are “more akin to private financial enterprises than representative associational bodies that seek to impact upon public policy.”21 Many NGOs have become experts in successfully seeking funding from often naive donors, using proper buzzwords and appropriate Western-approved financial reports and narratives. Aside from glowing end-of-project reports, many NGOs deliver little of substance. This situation is exacerbated by improper or nonexistent auditing by donors, which inadvertently encourages unprofessional operations and financial mismanagement to some degree, even among the best of the local NGOs.

Yet some argue that when the modern NGO model is fitted on the traditional mahalla, the outcome has significantly higher chances of impact and sustainability. The resulting civil society allows citizens to shape their own institutions by “combining traditional values with Islamic teachings, the best elements of the Soviet legacy, and relevant Western and international experience.”22 In rural Tajikistan, for example, some Western groups—such as the Aga Khan–affiliated Mountain Society Development Support Program, which has formed hundreds of village organizations, and Oxfam Great Britain, which has funded the creation of community-based organizations—have successfully used the mahalla as a source of modern-day solutions. Still, given its many benefits, support for civil society, in both its mahalla and NGO formats, is not by itself a panacea for change. Real change is political; the mere focus on civil society may very well support the status quo in Tajikistan and act as “an excuse to buy time and ignore the political constraints and demands.”23

In what appears to have been a reaction to the March 2005 events in Kyrgyzstan, wherein civil society played a major role in toppling the regime of President Akaev, the Tajik government introduced in early 2006 a law to restrict and regulate the activities of civil society organizations. According to the OSCE, the draft Law on Public Associations (not yet approved by the end of 2006) remained rather vague and suffered from various inconsistencies. Among other things, the draft law stipulates that a court decision is required to register a new organization with the rationale that this will prevent individuals associated with “terrorist” groups from joining or forming public associations.

Aside from the draft law lumping together all forms of organizations and foundations, it also required that all who wish to form an organization must register it formally with the Justice Ministry. Thus, for example, a group of individuals wanting to form a neighborhood cleanup project or parents wanting to form an informal child day care system, if asked by the authorities, must then register with the government. The draft law also forbids noncitizens from founding or joining NGOs. The OSCE has recommended that a provision stipulating the rights of the authorities to attend any and all NGO events be removed.24 The new law is expected to be passed in 2007.

Independent Media: 

Despite obvious restrictions on the independent media in Tajikistan, Reporters Without Borders’ Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006 labeled the country’s media as the least restrictive and most free among the five post-Communist Central Asian states.25 By mid-2006, there were officially 262 newspapers, 81 magazines, 22 private television and radio stations, and 9 news agencies in Tajikistan.26 In practice, those figures were far lower. Owing to the population’s economic struggles, a deemphasis on scholarship in the post-independence era, and a quasi-authoritarian system that discourages independent coverage and often harasses opposition outlets, the number of regularly published newspapers was just over a dozen, and most were either pro-government or practiced severe self-censorship.

That said, given the international criticism of newspaper closures in Tajikistan in previous years, no papers were known to have been shut down for extended periods of time in 2006. At the same time, no known licenses were given for new independent media outlets, either. Aside from some Islamist literature belonging to the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir, there also were no known underground newspapers or other publications. This is the likely result of the population’s apathy and/or overall satisfaction with the status quo, and its emphasis on stability and economic growth, rather than what many would consider as more abstract notions of human rights and freedom of expression.

The Tajik Constitution provides sufficient protections for press freedom, including freedom of speech and press, as well as the right to use information by the media; governmental censorship and prosecution for criticism are forbidden. Freedom of expression is also guaranteed by the Law on Press and Other Mass Media, which establishes liability for obliging a journalist to disseminate or to refrain from disseminating information. At the same time, the criminal code criminalizes defamation in cases where dissemination of false information offends the honor and dignity of a person and stipulates a maximum of five years’ imprisonment for defaming or insulting the president of the republic.27

Despite the presence of adequate laws protecting the work of journalists, in practice journalism continues to be a highly restrictive profession, with state bodies threatening the activities of those daring to report on controversial topics. In November 2005, for example, the Communications Ministry initiated a court case against Somonion, one of the few independent television stations in the country, for failing to pay a license fee, resulting in the Ministry being granted permission to seize the studio’s equipment in lieu of a fine of US$1,850. Though Somonion’s guilt or innocence with regards to the fee arrears is unclear, it is likely that the authorities use such intimidation tactics to punish news outlets they deem undesirable. In the case of Somonion, the motivating factor in bringing the law suit likely may have been the station’s broadcasts of debates with opposition candidates in the run-up to the February 2005 parliamentary elections.

International media have also faced problems. In January 2006, the government suspended the BBC’s broadcasts on the FM band in the capital city, Dushanbe. Aside from its shortwave services, which were unaffected, the BBC had been broadcasting on the FM band since 2004. The government’s ruling against the BBC followed the imposition of a new law requiring all foreign media outlets with FM services to register with the Justice Ministry,28 a process taking up to six months given the bureaucratic maze that the government forces local and international entities to go through to be registered. The government claimed that stopping BBC broadcasts was the result of the lack of a mutual agreement between Tajikistan and the United Kingdom on broadcasting each other’s programs.29

Media outlets associated with opposition parties have been especially scrutinized. Just prior to the November 2006 presidential election, for example, the DP claimed that the publisher of its weekly paper, Adolat (Justice), had received a letter from the Culture Ministry to cease publication.30 The ministry later claimed that the ban was temporary and the result of a request received from one of the DP leaders who had begun a splinter group. In addition, for three days in October 2006, the Communications Ministry ordered the blockage of five Internet sites (Centrasia, Ferghana, Arianastorm, Charogiruz, and Tajikistantimes), which it claimed undermined state policy and promoted ethnic, racial, and religious hatred. Upon criticism by international bodies, the authorities reinstated most of the said sites within days, claiming that the blockage was done for maintenance purposes.

To be fair, not all problems related to the media are the fault of the government. In general, the profession of journalism in Tajikistan (as in much of the post-Communist world) has been significantly affected, not always positively, by the economic transition toward the free market system. Many of the standard practices of journalistic integrity and avoidance of conflict of interest have not yet taken root. Journalists in Tajikistan, for example, have yet to distinguish the difference between public relations and independent journalism, with some journalists willing to cover important events only in exchange for a fee by organizers. Thus many of the stories covered by the press are paid content and can be described as lacking independent analysis and scrutiny.

Cable television, particularly in urban areas, delivers European and Russian channels, and satellite services at times offer high-quality programs (especially news) that are often not available on domestic television. Despite the availability of a variety of news sources, the public appears to be mostly passive in responding to specific events, demonstrating a withdrawal from public space. This condition is likely the result of a combination of factors, including the preoccupation of the average household with problems of daily subsistence,31 fear of repercussions from the authorities, and sustained mass trauma from the brutal civil war that continues to discourage political activity and analysis by the population.

The country’s access to international TV programming and Internet provides diversity but also opens the door for content concerns. Authorities restrict access to extremist Islamist information sources but do not restrict pornography. Pornographic content is easily accessible, available at nearly every Internet café throughout the country, spreading rapidly, and reaching many households, including conservative villages via satellite TV. Some worry that this phenomenon may have long-term social consequences for a traditional society like Tajikistan, potentially exacerbating the already increasing incidence of violence against girls and women, especially in rural areas.

Tajikistan is a multi-ethnic state. Based on the official 2000 census of the population, 80 percent are Tajik, about 15 percent Uzbek, and 5 percent are other ethnicities.32 The real numbers of minorities, especially the Uzbek, are likely larger than reported. There also are at least 5 percent ethnic Pamiris, which the government classifies as being Tajik, though they speak what can be categorized as three separate languages. Regardless of such a reality, the government has been using a nation-building propaganda policy of portraying the state ideal as ethnically uniform. The year 2006, for example, was named the year of the “Aryans,” what the government considers to be the origins of the Tajik population. The supposed “Aryanness” of Tajikistan by default excludes non-Tajik minorities. The state media likewise place great emphasis on “Tajikness.” There are schools teaching in the Uzbek language (though facing severe shortages of textbooks and trained teachers), but there is very little news or cultural programming in the Uzbek language in the newspapers, radio, and television.

Local Democratic Governance: 

In 1924, when Tajikistan was initially formed (by the Bolsheviks without its northern province of Sughd) as an autonomous part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, the population was nearly fully illiterate. To alleviate this scourge and put the country on the fast track to socialism, Soviet planners formed likpunkti, or centers for combating illiteracy. Given the influence of Islam among the masses, Soviet leaders also banned most public expressions of religious worship and introduced “Militant Godless Leagues,” which resulted in the near disappearance of religious expressions save for occasional semi-Islamic practices and rituals.

Not all effects of the old ways were wiped out, however. The informal social institution of the mahalla never vanished. It even became a useful tool of the Soviet state, while at the same time preserving a private space outside official control. In the post-Communist era, the mahalla continues to foster communal identity and solidarity in organized activities, such as hashar (mobilization efforts to repair homes, build local facilities, and so forth), touy (weddings), and khodaie (the remembrance of the dead).33

To expand control over the whole of the USSR, Communist planners created a series of political institutions that, among other things, were responsible for social mobilization associated with socialism and modernization. This strategy led to massive economic development and initially to interethnic peace.34 Among the institutions created were territorial and administrative units.

The Soviets modified the old system, adding new entities, and Tajikistan’s post-Communist Constitution, formulated in 1994, confirmed the existing Soviet administrative divisions. Today, there are 22 cities, 47 towns, 354 villages, and 3,570 settlements in Tajikistan, and the country is divided into 4 oblasti (veloyatho, or provinces), with each province being subdivided into rayoni (nohiyaho, or districts). Three provinces (Khatlon, Sughd, and Badakhshan) technically uphold their own regional governments and elect, at least on paper, the majority of their regional parliamentarians. The capital, Dushanbe, and a series of surrounding districts are equivalent to 2 additional provinces or major regions.

The subdivision within the district is known as the jamoat (equivalent to the Western concept of municipality). According to the Law on Local Self-Governance in Towns and Villages, jamoat is the institution for “organizing public activities…autonomously and at their own discretion…directly or through their representatives.”35Jamoat normally entails a number of settlements (posiolki) and villages (qishloqho). Further below the village and settlement level is typically where the semiformal entity of mahalla lies.

The president appoints provincial and district heads in consultation with governors and jamoat leaders through the heads of their respective district hukumat (government). Though district council members can veto appointments, they seldom do. Not surprisingly, central government political organizations, such as the ruling PDP apparatus, almost always dominate province, district, and jamoat bodies. Local election commissions of the 2005 parliamentary and 2006 presidential elections, for example, were composed mainly of pro-government PDP members. Patronage exercised by the national government in appointing province and district administrators discourages independent decisions and policy making.

Furthermore, owing to the central government’s dominance, and ampole opportunities for rent-seeking, and the stagnant economy of outlying regions, most local administrative bodies in the provinces, districts, and especially at the jamoat level face serious budgetary constraints.36 It is estimated that the overwhelming majority of taxes generated by the regional governments goes to the state, with a small amount remaining at the local level. To generate funds for its staff and community projects, jamoats spend an estimated two-thirds of their time collecting arbitrary property taxes, transportation duties, and other fees from the population.

About three-quarters of the population of Tajikistan live in rural areas, with agriculture constituting over one-quarter of the country’s income and encompassing a little less than two-thirds of the national workforce. Of these, an estimated 400,000 are employed in the cotton sector, one of Tajikistan’s main exports. Yet despite the government’s repeated declaration that cotton is a “strategic” commodity, the vast majority of cotton workers live far below the poverty threshold, with cotton farms having accumulated a debt close to US$400 million by the end of 2006. Many agricultural workers live under conditions described as “bonded labor” and “financial servitude.”37

As such, local democratic governance for the rural population, who form the majority in Tajikistan, is in an extremely poor state or nonexistent. At times, unelected local leaders at all levels of government engage in and promote policies detrimental to the local population. In 2006, the appointed mayor of Dushanbe announced an impending and extensive reconstruction of the city, with a nontransparent plan that envisaged the forced removal of thousands of households, the sale of their properties to mostly foreign developers, and an accompanying limited consultation with and compensation of losses to those affected by the plan.38

However, local communities in Tajikistan do not lack “mobilizing capacities” or a tradition of volunteerism—these traits exist in the people’s mostly Islamic faith and were even reinforced by 70 years of communism. The population does, however, suffer from a “loss of direction, passivity, and the absence of economic resources.”39 Reforms in local governance that would encourage increased participation and decision making, including fair elections for local leaders (at the province, district, city, town, village, and jamoat levels), are long overdue. Providing local decision making, including the granting of full ethnic minority rights, could also alleviate potential future sociopolitical conflicts. Despite the increased political stability in recent years, “subnational regionalism” remains a problem lurking “beneath a thin veneer of Pan-Tajik reconstruction and reconciliation.”40

Judicial Framework and Independence: 

In his inauguration speech following the November 2006 election, President Rahmon spoke about the necessity to develop democratic institutions, including political pluralism, religious freedom, free media, active civil society, and a capable judiciary able to ensure social justice and individual rights and freedoms.41 The need for such reform is important: Tajikistan’s justice system is currently racked with inefficiency, corruption, insufficient funds, inconsonance with international law, and inadequate skills among judges and attorneys, all contributing to the inability of the state to properly adjudicate and serve justice, especially to the economically vulnerable.42

Still, limited judicial reform—much of it mere window dressing—has taken place. Since independence, for example, Tajikistan’s leadership has been quick to ratify a plethora of international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified in 1993), Convention on the Status of Refugees (1994), Convention Against Torture (CAT, 1994), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1999), Aarhus Convention on Access to Information (2001), and various International Labor Organization conventions.43 By being a member of international bodies such as the OSCE, the government has also promised to adhere to a series of (albeit nonbinding) documents on human rights and democratization. Furthermore, progressive modifications to domestic laws have taken place, such as the passing of laws on “deepening the process of democratization in public and political life” (1999), “enhancing the role of women in society” (1999), and the parliamentary resolution (No. 272, 2001) approving a “public education system in human rights.”44

However, the country’s actual track record dealing with refugees, children’s rights, women’s rights, rights of those detained, access to information, and labor rights is rather poor. And according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, some “backward reform” has also taken place, such as the increase in powers to the prosecutor manifested in the modified constitutional Law on the Office of the Prosecutor (2005).45 According to the Constitution, judges are independent, and interference in their activity is prohibited,46 but 15 years after the Soviet system, the notion of separation of powers in Tajikistan has yet to be a reality. Under communism, judges and courts were subordinate to the exe-cutive branch.47 Today, the justice system takes its cues from the centers of power and the wealthy. Judges are appointed by the executive bodies and thus have an existential and financial dependence on them, which negatively affects their objectivity. There also remains a gross inequality between the prosecutor and the defense counsel both during the investigation phase and in court. This inequality is demonstrated in the very low level of acquittals by the courts, estimated to be around 0.5 percent.48

The Constitution stipulates that individuals have the right to access a lawyer of their choice from the moment of their arrest.49 In reality, one may be arrested, interrogated, tried, and sentenced to a multiyear prison term without proper, or any, legal representation. This is especially true for the large majority of people without financial recourse, as a state-appointed lawyer will seldom represent an arrested individual without additional compensation, nor will a state-appointed counsel criticize violations of due process or accusations of torture and abuse that the state security forces and courts may have committed against the accused. The problem of legal representation is far worse in remote areas of the country where lawyers, with or without pay, are rare to nonexistent.

The use of violence, abuse, ill-treatment, and torture is prevalent and routine in police stations and pretrial detention facilities, none of which are monitored by independent national or international bodies. Despite repeated appeals by some international bodies to allow independent visits to detention centers and prisons,50 including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the government has for nearly two years prevented independent visits to its prisons. According to the government statistics, by the end of 2006, there were reportedly 957 prisoners suffering from tuberculosis, at least 87 afflicted with HIV, and 74 said to have died of various diseases during the year.51

There is scant record of any Tajik court ever nullifying a confession allegedly extracted via torture. Many of those ill-treated by law enforcement officials are reluctant to report their stories to the police for fear of legal mistreatment or recriminations.52 Not surprisingly, in 2006 the UN committee overseeing the implementation of the CAT criticized Tajikistan for not providing satisfactory data and not having a proper definition of torture in its domestic law that would fully conform to CAT articles. The committee also criticized the government for not adopting legislation in line with the CAT.53

Encouraged and guided by international financial institutions, which have normally focused on mere macroeconomic indicators, post-Communist Tajikistan has increasingly put economic reform in front of judicial reform. In the post-9/11 world, such divergent players as the United States and China have focused on their expanding security and economic cooperation with Tajikistan. Major Western donors have avoided “sensitive” topics, such as the upholding of human rights or, in the name of combating terror and extremism, have by default abetted and encouraged the arrest and abuse of alleged religious extremists and terrorists.

A problematic judicial system, however, has ramifications in the economic sector as well. The ongoing privatization program in Tajikistan, itself a highly non-transparent and corrupt process with little judicial oversight, has benefited the already wealthy and politically well-connected, thus leading to increasingly serious levels of income disparity. Lack of rule of law enforcement also deters an increase in foreign investment.

Corruption: 

According to a 2004 opinion survey in Tajikistan, the highest level of public dissatisfaction (56 percent) is related to inadequate anticorruption measures.54 Succumbing to domestic and international criticism, the government has in recent years taken some measures to combat corruption. However, the few nominal steps taken have not yielded any major results, given the country’s entrenched vested interests. A 1999 presidential decree on “additional measures aimed at crime control and fighting corruption,” for example, has been referred to by the state’s own Strategic Research Center under the presidential apparatus as the “most ignored decree” in Tajikistan’s short history of independence.55

In a speech in December 2004, President Rahmon cited corruption as one of Tajikistan’s key internal threats, along with religious extremism, organized crime, and drug trafficking. In an attempt to show its seriousness, the government moved closer to establishing the State Financial Control and Anticorruption Agency in 2006.56 Prior to this latest move, various government institutions, such as the Internal Affairs Ministry, Security Ministry, tax police, customs, Military Administration and State Border Agency, and State Drug Control Agency, already had their own internal anticorruption units. Such offices, however, have had overlapping jurisdictions resulting in limited interagency cooperation.57

A 2006 Sweden-funded and UN-coordinated public opinion survey on corruption implemented by the government’s Strategic Research Center found that the public considers the courts, local administrations, and law enforcement bodies to be the most corrupt government institutions in Tajikistan.58 Corruption is said to be based on the two driving human features of “need” and “greed.”59 Given the country’s continued economic slump and low wages, much of the prevalent corruption in Tajikistan, one could argue, is inevitable. With regard to the justice system, for example, the state is obliged to pay public advocates representing clients in criminal cases, but such payments rarely occur, nor are they sufficient when they do.60 Law enforcement officials and judges can be intimidating and punishing or highly lenient, depending largely on the financial enticements available.

As a result, when and if a lawyer is assigned by the state to a poor client, he or she is likely to be among the least qualified, to not commit seriously to the case owing to lack of funds, and to demand money from the accused for representation and for “greasing the system” for a more favorable verdict. In nearly all criminal cases, the accused individuals may either go free or have their sentences sub-stantially reduced if nepotistic ties are used in combination with sufficient payments to the decision makers and intermediaries. Prosecution of judicial actors on corruption is rare. Still, in 2005 two judges (from the city of Dushanbe and the Konibodom district) were sentenced to up to seven years in prison on corruption charges.61

Corruption in Tajikistan has produced many officials who prioratize bribery as a major part of their earnings over training or job qualifications. Allegations of corruption are prevalent among customs and tax inspectors, who are suspected of bringing in funds either by extortion or by turning a blind eye. Other prevalent corrupt practices are the purchasing of university placements, examinations, and diplomas by students.62

Allegations of corruption also revolve around the country’s dual export commodities of cotton and aluminum, together forming some 84 percent of Tajikistan’s exports. In 2006, aluminum exports alone are thought to have topped $1 billion, thanks to a combination of increased output (by 9 percent over 2005) and serendipitous global market prices. Though cotton production fell in 2006, producing a consequent fall in cotton fiber exports by 11 percent for total earnings of $129 million,63 many local companies dealing with agronomic loans to cotton farmers continued to enrich themselves by adding to the existing debt of many hundreds of millions of dollars owed by cotton farms and farmers.

Drug trafficking is another major source of corruption. Since the overthrow of the Taliban by U.S.-led forces in late 2001, there has been a massive upsurge in the cultivation and consequent trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan into Tajikistan en route to Russia and Europe. Ninety-two percent of the world’s supply of illicit opiates, mostly in the form of heroin, originates from Afghanistan—where in 2006, over 6,000 tons of opium poppy was cultivated, a whopping 50 percent rise over 2005.64 It is thought that Tajikistan has one of the highest rates of drug trafficking and interception in the world.

According to Transparency International’s 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index, Tajikistan scored 2.2 (with a score of 10 being least corrupt) and was ranked 142 among 163 countries surveyed, sharing its ranking with two of its Central Asian neighbors (Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan) as well as Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.65 Some observers have favored the “efficiency hypothesis” that corruption actually lubricates the squeaky wheels of bureaucracy. Many others disagree. A World Bank study provides evidence that the toleration of corruption, especially in cases of weak governance (as in Tajikistan), increases regulatory burdens by rent-seeking bureaucrats on the private activity of ordinary citizens and businesspeople, leading to various procedural delays, additional red tape, and the increased cost of capital.66 The prevalence of income inequality, lack of accountability mechanisms in the public sector, and discouragement of popular participation in decision making undoubtedly affect the extent of the corruption problem.

Notes: 

1Oxford Analytica Brief, “Tajikistan: Presidential Elections,” 6 November 2006.

2 Kirill Nourzhanov, “Saviours of the Nation or Robber Barons?: Warlord Politics in Tajikistan,” Central Asian Survey 24 (2): 109–30, June 2005.

3 ABA/CEELI, Qanuni Tojikistan chitavr Ejod Meshavad—How Tajik Laws Are Made, Dushanbe, 2002.

4Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, “What Next for Tajikistan’s Islamists?” July 2006.

5 Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Country Report: Tajikistan, London, September 2006.

6 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London, June 2006.

7 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London, December 2006.

8 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London, March 2006.

9 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London, June 2006.

10 Anders Aslund, “Democracy, Governance, and Corruption After Communism,” Economicheskiy Zhurnal VShE, no. 3, 2001, pp. 311–27.

11 While a 1999 World Bank household survey found that 81 percent of Tajik households live below the acceptable poverty threshold, the same indicator dropped to 64 percent in 2003 (World Bank, Republic of Tajikistan: Poverty Assessment Update, Report No. 30853-TJ, January 6, 2005). Poverty was likely roughly below 55 percent by end 2006.

12 According to the International Organization for Migration, between 500,000 and 1 million Tajik citizens annually seek work abroad, with the total annual remittances sent back estimated to be between US$400 million and US$1 billion, equivalent to one-fifth to one-half of Tajikistan’s GDP. IMF, The Macroeconomics of Remittances: The Case of Tajikistan, IMF Working Paper, WP 06/02, Alexei Kireyev, Preparer, IMF, January 2006.

13Asia Plus, “SDPT Leader Considers Presidential Election Illegitimate,” by Nargis Haroboyeva, Dushanbe, November 21, 2006. At www.asiaplus.tj/en/news/17/12843.html.

14 EIU, Tajikistan: Country Report, London, December 2006.

15 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, OSCE Election Observation Mission: Presidential Election, Republic of Tajikistan—6 November 2006: Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, ODIHR.Gal/83/06, Dushanbe, November 7, 2006.

16 OSCE/Office for Democratic Initiatives and Human Rights (ODIHR), Republic of Tajikistan: Assessment of the Law on Election of the President, Warsaw, July 26, 2006.

17 Sabine Freizer, “Neo-Liberal and Communal Civil Society in Tajikistan: Merging or Dividing in the Postwar Period?” Central Asian Survey 24(3): 225–43, 2005.

18 Babajanian, op. cit.

19 Daniel Stevens, “NGO-Mahalla Partnerships: Exploring the Potential for State-Society Synergy in Uzbekistan,” Central Asian Survey, 24 (3): 281–96, September 2005.

20 Shirin Akiner, “Prospects for Civil Society in Tajikistan,” Civil Society in the Muslim World: Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Amyn Sajoo, Tauris, London, 2002, pp. 149–93.

21 Akiner, op. cit.

22 Ibid.

23 Oliver Roy, “The Predicament of ‘Civil Society’ in Central Asia and the ‘Greater Middle East,’” International Affairs 81 (5): 1001–12, 2005.

24 OSCE-ODIHR, Comments on the Draft Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Civil Society Organizations (Associations), Opinion-Nr.: NGO-TAJ/057/2006 (IU), Warsaw, April 2006. Available at: www.legislationonline.org.

25 Reporters Without Borders for Press Freedom, Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006, press release, October 23, 2006.

26BBC International Reports, “Tajik President’s Annual Address to Parliament,” April 22, 2006.

27 Article 19, “The State of Freedom of Expression in Tajikistan,” draft, London, December 2006.

28 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Tajikistan Suspends BBC’s FM Radio Service,” January 19, 2006.

29 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London, March 2006.

30 World News Connection, “Tajikistan Blocks Access to Opposition Websites,” Interfax, October 8, 2006.

31 Akiner, op. cit., pp. 149–93.

32 Tatiana Bozrikova, Problems of Ethnic Minorities in Tajikistan, Tajik Branch of the Open Society Institute, Dushanbe, 2003.

33 S. Akiner, “Between Tradition and Modernity: The Dilemma Facing Contemporary Central Asian Women,” in Mary Buckley, ed., Post-Soviet Women: From the Baltic to Central Asia (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 161–304.

34 Philip G. Roeder, “Soviet Federalism and Ethnic Mobilization,” World Politics 43 (2): 196–242, 1991.

35 Mamadsho Ilolov and Mirodsan Khudoiyev, “Local Government in Tajikistan,” in Igor Munteanu and Victor Popa, Developing New Rules in the Old Environment (Local Governments in Eastern Europe, in the Caucasus and Central Asia, vol. 3), chapter 11, 2000, pp. 601–48.

36 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “UNDP Assists in Local Government Reforms,” March 18, 2004, www.IRINnews.org.

37 Payam Foroughi, “White Gold” or Women’s Grief?: The Gendered Cotton of Tajikistan, draft, Oxfam Great Britain, September 2005.

38 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London: EIU, March 2007.

39 Sabine Freizer, “Tajikistan Local Self-Governance: A Potential Bridge Between Government and Civil Society?” in Luigi de Martino, ed., Tajikistan at a Crossroad: The Politics of Decentralization (Geneva: CIMERA, 2004), pp. 17–25.

40 Nourzhanov, op. cit.

41BBC International Reports (Central Asia), “Tajik President Outlines Goals in His Inauguration Address,” Tajik Television First Channel, Dushanbe, in Tajik, November 18, 2006.

42 American Bar Association/Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI), Legal Profession Reform Index for Tajikistan, Dushanbe, 2005.

43 UN, “Core Document Forming Part of the Reports of Sates Parties: Tajikistan,” International Human Rights Instruments, February 12, 2004.

44 Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) et al., Conference Proceedings on the Perspective of Establishment of a National Human Rights Institution in Tajikistan: February 22–23, 2006, Dushanbe, Sponsored by SIDA, United Nations Office of Peace-Building in Tajikistan (UNTOP), OSCE, and the Government of Tajikistan, December 2006.

45 U.N. Economic and Social Council—Commission on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including the Questions of Independence of the Judiciary, Administration of Justice, Impunity: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy—Addendum: Mission to Tajikistan, E/CN.4/2006/52/Add.4, 30 December 2005.

46 UN, “Core Document Forming Part of the Reports of Sates Parties: Tajikistan,” International Human Rights Instruments, February 12, 2004.

47 James H. Anderson and Cheryl W. Grey, “Transforming Judicial Systems in Europe and Central Asia,” paper for ABCDE Conference, St. Petersburg, Russia, January 2006.

48 UN, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 40 of the Covenant: Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, 18 July 2005.

49 UN, “Core document…” op. cit.

50 UN, ICCPR. op. cit.

51Vechrniy Dushanbe, no. 5 (480), 1 February 2007.

52 International Helsinki Federation (IHF), “Tajikistan,” Human Rights in the OSCE Region: IHF Report 2007, 2007.

53 Convention Against Torture (CAT), Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties Under Article 19 of the Convention: Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture: Tajikistan, CAT/C/TJK/CO/1, 20, November 2006.

54 IFES, Public Opinion in Tajikistan 2004, November 2004, www.ifes.org.

55 Government of Tajikistan (GoT) et al., Corruption in Tajikistan—Public Opinion, Dushanbe, December 2006.

56 GoT, “Regulation on the State Financial Control and Anticorruption Agency of the Republic of Tajikistan,” Approved with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, 10 January 2007.

57 Anticorruption Network for Transition Economies, Regional Anticorruption Action Plan: Tajikistan—Summary Assessment and Recommendations, 2004.

58 GoT et al., Corruption in Tajikistan—Public Opinion, Dushanbe, December 2006.

59 Shuhrat Mirzoev, Allocative (In)Efficiency of Grants in Tajikistan: Corruption and International Organizations, MS thesis, University of St. Andrews, UK, 2006.

60 American Bar Association/Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI), Legal Profession Reform Index for Tajikistan, Washington, DC: ABA/CEELI and Tajik Branch of the Open Society Institute, September 2005.

61 International Helsinki Federation, “Tajikistan,” 2006. www.ihfhr.org.

62 Collaborative for Development Action, Corruption and Anticorruption Activities in Tajikistan: A Case Study Prepared for Donor Standards in Anticorruption Project (DSACP), Sue Williams, Case Writer, 2002.

63 EIU, Country Report: Tajikistan, London: EIU, March 2007.

64 UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Annual Report 2007: Making the World Safer from Crime, Drugs, and Terrorism, www.unodc.org/pdf/annual_report_2007/AR06_fullreport.pdf.

65 Transparency International, Corruption Perception Index 2006, Berlin, 2006.

66 World Bank, “Corruption in the G-7 Countries,” Jean-Jacque Dethier, paper presented at the Lucerne Conference on the G-7 Initiative, 20–22 January 2003.