The representative office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Tajikistan in collaboration with the public organization “Office for Civil Liberties” and Ombudsman Office in Tajikistan conducted another roundtable “The rights of the servicemen” in Devashtich district (former Gonchi district) of Sughd region of Tajikistan with the support of the European Union and the government of Norway.
The representatives of the corresponding governmental bodies, including the Ministry of Defense, Military Attorney Department in Khujand garrison, Ombudsman Office in Tajikistan, Military Tribunal, as well as the representatives of international and public organizations and media took part in the roundtable discussion.
The participants of the roundtable discussed the unlawful recruitment of citizens, the cases of battery, the crime issues, as well as the cases of suicide among the military personnel. All participants unanimously condemned these cases and suggested the solutions to these problems.
Faizali Dostiev, the representative of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Tajikistan, underlined that the existence of non-manual relations between the personnel of Armed Forces is the major problem, which is being addressed with a number of measures. Particularly, he said that “… to prevent the cases of violation of the manual relations, deaths of the servicemen and cases of suicide among them, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Tajikistan in coordination with the heads of the bodies of the Armed Forces and the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office, designed the action plan for 2016. The morale building activities to prevent service-related crimes are to be conducted by each officer, especially, by the officers, responsible for political-educational work”.
He also stressed that due to the measures to bolster the military discipline and prevent various offences, in the period of 2016 under review, the rate of hazing-related crimes decreased by two times in comparison with the same period of last year. “In 2016, there were 8 cases registered, in 2015 – 22, but this still cannot satisfy us”, – Dostiev said.
Husniddin Nidoev, the deputy head of the Department of State Protection of Political and Civil Rights of the Ombudsman Office in Tajikistan, underscored in his speech that “… providing an access for the civil society to the life of the military structures may bolster the morale, transparency and efficient management of the military units, help to prevent the crimes and protect the servicemen rights. This is why providing an access for the citizens and representatives of the Ombudsman Office in Tajikistan is of a crucial importance. Therefore, the Monitoring group conducts monitoring in the military units of the Ministry of Defense, including secret and semi-secret facilities. Starting from 2014, the monitoring has been conducted in three military facilities of the Ministry of Defence – in Qurghonteppa, Danghara district of Khatlon region and Konibodom of Sughd region. In 2015, monitoring was conducted in the military facilities of Rasht distrct, Asht district of Sughd region and Murghab district of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. The results of the monitoring reveal that the servicemen rights are protected better”.
Fahriddin Rahimzoda, the representative of the Military Attorney Department in Sughd garrison, spoke about improvements of the military service legislation. He also highlighted that “the conducted analysis of the current situation and the conducted checks show that the lack of servicemen’s knowledge of their rights and duties is the reason of military hazing, this is why crimes are being committed”.
Dilafruz Samadova, the lawyer at the public organization “Office for Civil Liberties”, noted that “starting from 2014 and up until now, the “Office for Civil Liberties” has provided 15 servicemen and their families with lawyers, after they experienced hazing, torture and inhuman treatment. 9 of them died as a result of battery and inhuman treatment. Other 4 servicemen got serious injuries; other 2 cases featured abuse and battery during recruitment.”
To improve the social benefits for servicemen, to prevent the servicemen rights violations, murders and other criminal offences, to promote the quality of education in the military educational facilities, the roundtable participants designed a list of recommendations, which will be sent for the further review to the relevant state institutions, governmental and public organizations and international donors.
It needs to be mentioned, that similar discussions were conducted within the framework of other roundtables in Sughd region, Rasht district, in Khorog. IWPR plans to conduct another republican panel session, which will end this series of the roundtables, in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe.
The roundtable discussions are being conducted within the framework of the three-year project “Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan”, funded by the European Union, and the program “European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights” funded by the government of Norway.