Deputies of Tajikistan’s lower chamber (Majlisi Namoyandagon) of Parliament adopted the law on equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination, which is a great achievement for the country in the field of human rights protection. ECOM is very pleased with this news, because since 2017 we have contributed to the promotion of anti-discrimination legislation in Tajikistan.
The law adopted by Majlisi Namoyandagon must be approved by Majlisi Milli, the upper chamber of Parliament, if the majority of its members votes for it. In case the law is rejected by Majlisi Milli, the law is subject to reconsideration by Majlisi Namoyandagon. If Majlisi Namoyandagon does not agree with the decision of Majlisi Milli, the law is considered adopted if at least two thirds of the total number of Majlisi Namoyandagon deputies vote for it during the repeated voting.
The law was developed as part of the National Action Plan for implementing the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council member states in accordance with the Universal Periodic Review (second cycle) procedure for 2017–2020. The aim was to develop a separate law for the comprehensive fight against discrimination and to improve other laws.
Ranokhon Bobodzhoniyon, a member of the Majlisi Namoyandagon Committee on Legislation and Human Rights, noted that the draft Law “On Equality and Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination” defines the organizational and legal framework for the implementation of equal rights and opportunities for everyone in Tajikistan, prevention, regulation and establishment of effective protection against any forms of discrimination.
For the first time, the draft law introduces new concepts such as: discrimination (Article 1), direct and indirect discrimination (Article 5), sexual harassment (Article 6), segregation (forced separation of people into racial, ethnic or other groups in daily life — Article 8), protection from victimization (a social process in which a person becomes a victim of crime — Article 10) and others.
As an authorized state body for ensuring equality and preventing all forms of discrimination (Article 13), the Commissioner for Human Rights is appointed. The Commissioner conducts anti-discrimination examination of draft normative legal acts.
Unfortunately, the "Law on Equality and Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination" does not list "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as characteristics protected from discrimination. But introducing anti-discrimination legislation is a huge step in protecting human rights!
ECOM worked for many years to accelerate the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation in Tajikistan:
- In 2019, we submitted a report on violation of the rights of LGBT people in Tajikistan to the UN Human Rights Committee, demanding the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation (ADL). A corresponding recommendation was received by Tajikistan.
- In 2020, we submitted a report on violation of the rights of LGBT people in Tajikistan to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, demanding the adoption of ADL. The country was asked a corresponding question during the briefing.
- In 2021, at the pre-session of the UN Human Rights Council, as part of the Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan, ECOM made a report on violations of the rights of LGBT people in the country, demanding the adoption of ADL.
- Also, 76 cases of violations of the rights of LGBT people were documented in Tajikistan, which serves as evidence of systematic violations of the community's rights in the country, and a reason to adopt ADL immediately.
We believe that the "Law on Equality and Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination" is only the first step towards legislative protection of the rights of all people, including LGBT people, in Tajikistan.