*Tajikistan is committed to reforming its laws to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings.*
Tajikistan’s commitment to prohibiting corporal punishment
Tajikistan expressed its commitment to prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings in accepting clearly the recommendations to do so made during the Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan in 2011 and again in 2016. The Government reiterated its intention to reform the law to the UN Committee Against Torture in 2012.
Summary of necessary legal reform to achieve full prohibition
Prohibition is still to be achieved in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions.
There appears to be no confirmation in legislation of a right to impose “reasonable chastisement” or similar in childrearing, but provisions against violence and abuse of children are not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment in childrearing. The near universal social acceptance of corporal punishment in childrearing necessitates clarity in law that no level of corporal punishment is acceptable. Prohibition should be enacted of all corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, in the home and all other settings where adults have authority over children.
Alternative care settings – Prohibition should be enacted in legislation applicable to all alternative care settings (foster care, institutions, places of safety, emergency care, etc).
Day care – Corporal punishment should be prohibited in all early childhood care (nurseries, crèches, kindergartens, preschools, family centres, etc) and all day care for older children (day centres, after-school childcare, childminding, etc).
Penal institutions – Corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure should be prohibited in all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law.
There appears to be no confirmation in legislation of a right to impose “reasonable chastisement” or similar. The Law on Prevention of Violence in the Family 2013 defines violence in the family as “the intentional illegal act of physical, mental, sexual and economic nature made within the family relations by one member of the family in relation to other member of the family which becomes the cause of infringement of its rights and freedoms, causing of physical pain or harm to its health or threat of causing such harm to health” (art. 1, unofficial translation). It defines physical abuse as “intentional illegal act of one member of the family in relation to other member of the family, as a result of use of physical force which becomes the reason of drawing of physical pain or harm to its health” (art. 1). One of the purposes of the Law is “assistance to increase of responsibility of parents for training and education of children” (art. 2). The Code on Administrative Offences 2008 punishes violence in the family which does not amount to a criminal offence (art. 93).
The Family Code 1998 states that every child has the right to respect for human dignity (art. 55(2)) and the right to protection against abuse from parents and persons in loco parentis (art. 57(2)). Article 65(2) of the Code states (unofficial translation): “In exercising parental rights, parents have no right to harm the physical or mental health of children or their moral development. Methods of raising children should exclude neglectful, cruel or degrading treatment or abuse….” But the Code does not explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in childrearing.
The Law on Parental Responsibility for Education and Upbringing of Children 2011 states that parents have a responsibility to respect the honour and dignity of children and protect them from ill-treatment (art. 8), but it does not explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment. Article 11.1. of the Law On the Protection of the Rights of the Child 2015 states that “every child has the right to life and the conditions necessary for the full physical, mental, spiritual and moral development; a child has the right to freedom, integrity, honour, dignity and privacy”. However, the Law does not mention the right to protection from violence. The Ministry of Education and Science is in the process of developing implementing policies, in cooperation with UNICEF. Provisions against violence and abuse in the Criminal Code 1998 and the Constitution 1994 do not prohibit all corporal punishment in childrearing.
During the Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan in 2011, the Government accepted recommendations to prohibit corporal punishment of children stating that it considered these had already been implemented. However, in reporting to the Committee Against Torture in 2012, the Government stated that “measures are being taken in the Republic of Tajikistan to improve domestic legislation, with a view to excluding the use of corporal punishment as a method of maintaining discipline in the family, schools and other educational establishments”. A shadow report submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2016 also reported that there was no prohibition of corporal punishment of children in Tajikistan. During the second Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan in 2016, the Government accepted a recommendation to enforce prohibition of all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including in the domestic sphere. Tajikistan’s National Action Plan on the implementation of second cycle UPR recommendations conjugates the action “Improve legislation on explicit prohibition of violence against children” (emphasis added) with the recommendation on corporal punishment. But the near universal acceptance of corporal punishment in childrearing means that it is not seen as violence or abuse and that provisions protecting children from abuse are not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment. A clear legal ban of all corporal punishment is necessary.
Alternative care settings
There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in all alternative care settings. Corporal punishment appears to be lawful as for parents (see under “Home”). Draft Regulations on children’s homes have been prepared but we have been unable to examine the text to establish whether it addresses corporal punishment.
Corporal punishment is prohibited in preschool education under article 25(3) of the Law on Education 2013 (see under “Schools”). There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in other early childhood care and in day care for older children.
Corporal punishment is prohibited in schools in the Law on Education 2013 (art. 25(3), unofficial translation): “Methods of training and education in educational institutions is performed on the basis of mutual respect between learners, teachers and other workers. Application of physical and psychological violence in relation to learners is forbidden.”
There is no prohibition of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions. Article 87 of the Code on Execution of Criminal Sanctions 2004 states that physical force may be used if a person sentenced to imprisonment commits socially dangerous acts (such as hostage taking, wilful disobedience, trying to escape, etc.). It does not prohibit all forms of corporal punishment.
There are no specific laws regulating the juvenile justice system. A new Programme on the reform of the juvenile justice system 2017-2021, aimed at aligning domestic legislation with relevant international standards, is being examined by the Government. It is unclear whether a prohibition of corporal punishment is being envisaged. It appears amendments to the Criminal Code relating to detention procedure were enacted in 2016, but the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code are still being revised. We have not able to obtain access to the text of the amended Criminal Code but there are no indications of provisions relating to corporal punishment.
Sentence for crime
Corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. There is no provision for judicial corporal punishment in the Criminal Code 1998 or the Code of Criminal Procedure 2009. Article 9(2) of the Criminal Code states (unofficial translation): “The penalty and other measures under criminal law applicable to a person who has committed a crime may not be intended to cause physical suffering or humiliation of human dignity.”
Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan’s human rights record
Tajikistan was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2011 (session 12). The following recommendations were made:
“Consider enacting legal prohibition to the use of corporal punishment (Brazil); Enact legislation to achieve the prohibition of corporal punishment of children in all settings, including in the home and in schools as a matter of priority (Romania);
“Adopt legislation to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment everywhere, launch awareness-raising campaigns on the negative impact of corporal punishment in children; and provide training to teachers, parents, community leaders and penitentiary institutions officers (Uruguay).
“Prohibit corporal punishment of children in all settings and guarantee children’s rights to adequate standard of living with special attention to orphans, providing them with access to safe drinking water and education (Slovenia)”
In accepting these recommendations, the Government stated that it considers they have already been implemented, and later stated: “Tajikistan accepts this recommendation [90.28] and should like to point out that Tajik law provides a full range of mechanisms to combat corporal punishment of children at all institutions…. Tajikistan will in future take all necessary measures to implement these provisions.”
Tajikistan was examined in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2016 (session 25). During the dialogue, noting the State’s acceptance of the recommendations from its first review to prohibit the corporal punishment of children, Sweden stated that more could be done to ensure the effective enforcement of that prohibition. The following recommendation was made and was supported by the Government:
“Enforce the prohibition of all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including in the domestic sphere and in care settings (Sweden)”
Examination in the third cycle is scheduled for 2021.
Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations
Session 076 (2017)
(29 September 2017, CRC/C/TJK/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third/fifth report, Advance unedited version, paras. 4, 21 and 22)
“The Committee reminds the State party of the indivisibility and interdependence of all the rights enshrined in the Convention and emphasizes the importance of all the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations. The Committee would like to draw the State party’s attention to the recommendations concerning the following areas, in respect of which urgent measures must be taken: corporal punishment (para. 22), family environment (para. 25), children with disabilities (para. 29), health and health services, in particular, nutrition (paras. 31 and 33), and administration of juvenile justice (para. 47).”
“The Committee notes the adoption of the Act on Parental Responsibility for the Education and Raising of Children (2011), Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (2013) and its accompanying strategic plan (2014-2023), Education Act (2013) and Children’s Rights Act (2015). It is, however, deeply concerned that:
(a) The legislative framework does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment against children, including in the home, alternative care, day care settings and penal institutions;
(b) Although corporal punishment against children is prohibited in school, implementation of the prohibition under the Education Act (2013) remains inadequate due to the absence of an established reporting mechanism.
“With reference to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, the Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Explicitly prohibit by law corporal punishment of children in all settings;
(b) Reinforce the capacity and number of officers throughout the country dedicated to preventing family violence and expand their mandate to include all settings where violence is perpetrated against children to ensure that the prohibition of violence against children, including corporal punishment, is adequately monitored and enforced in all settings;
(c) Establish reporting mechanisms for the use of corporal punishment in all settings and ensure that investigations, administrative and legal proceedings are initiated promptly and systematically in relation to cases of all violence against children, and that data on cases and their resolution is collected and disaggregated;
(d) Strengthen support for child victims of violence and ensure their access to adequate services for recovery and counselling;
(e) Promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline through awareness campaigns and trained officers working with families.”Read more from Session 076 (2017)
Session 053 (2010)
(5 February 2010, CRC/C/TJK/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 39 and 40)
"The Committee notes the State party’s efforts to raise awareness on violence against children, including campaigns ‘protecting children from abuse’ as well as the establishment of rehabilitation centres for women and children. The Committee, however, regrets that these activities are limited to certain regions of the country and corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited under domestic laws and is extensively used as a disciplinary measure at home, schools, and childcare institutions. The Committee regrets the lack of representative data on corporal punishment of children by parents, teachers and the staff of childcare institutions.
"The Committee recommends that the State party, as a matter of urgency:
a) conduct a study on prevalence of corporal punishment in all settings;
b) enact legislation in order to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in all settings;
c) organize awareness campaigns on the negative impact of corporal punishment on children, and provide teachers, parents, community leaders, and personnel working in penal institutions with training;
d) investigate reported cases of corporal punishment and apply adequate sanctions."Read more from Session 053 (2010)
Session 025 (2000)
(23 October 2000, CRC/C/15/Add.136, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 28, 29, 34 and 35)
"The Committee is concerned at numerous and continuing reports of ill-treatment of persons under the age of 18 by the militia, including psychological intimidation, corporal punishment and torture. The Committee is also concerned that victims of such treatment are largely from vulnerable groups, such as children living and/or working on the streets; and that fear of reprisals and inadequate complaints procedures discourage children and their parents from filing complaints.
"In the light of article 37 of the Convention and the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979, the State party should take all necessary and effective steps to prevent incidents of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. The Committee recommends that the State party provide the militia with training on how to deal with persons under the age of 18; ensure that persons are adequately informed of their rights when they are detained; ensure that complaints procedures are simplified so that responses are appropriate, timely, child-friendly and sensitive to victims; and provide rehabilitative support to victims.
"The Committee is concerned at the incidence of ill-treatment of children in the family, in institutions and in school. The Committee is also concerned that violence against women is a problem in Tajikistan and that this has harmful consequences on children.
"In the light of articles 19 and 39 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse, against children in the family, in schools and in care institutions are prohibited. The Committee recommends that measures to that effect be accompanied by public education campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children. The Committee recommends that the State party promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment, especially in the home and schools…."Read more from Session 025 (2000)
Committee Against Torture, Concluding Observations
CAT session 049 (2012)
(21 January 2013, CAT/C/TJK/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, para. 16)
"The Committee is deeply concerned about the lack of any domestic legislation criminalizing acts of violence against women, despite the existence since 2009 of a draft law on ‘social and legal protection against domestic violence’; reports of high prevalence of domestic violence; difficulties in filing complaints; and the reluctance of law enforcement officials to intervene in such cases. It is further concerned about the lack of domestic legislation prohibiting corporal punishment of children, despite allegations of its widespread use in the family, schools and other educational establishments (arts. 2, 12, 13 and 16).
The State party should strengthen its efforts to prevent, combat and punish violence against women and children, inter alia, by: ...
c) adopting legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings; ...
f) organizing awareness-raising campaigns on the negative impact of corporal punishment of children, as well on domestic and sexual violence."Read more from CAT session 049 (2012)
Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations
HRC session 084 (2005)
(18 July 2005, CCPR/CO/84/TJK, Concluding observations on initial report, para. 23)
"The Committee is concerned about reports of persistent recourse to corporal punishment as a means of discipline in schools (art. 24).
The State party should take the necessary measures to prohibit this practice."Read more from HRC session 084 (2005)
HRC session 108 (2013)
(22 August 2013, CCPR/C/TJK/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, para. 15)
"The Committee expresses concern that corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited in schools, and continues to be accepted and practised as a form of discipline by parents and guardians (arts. 7 and 24).
The State party should pursue its intention as stated during the dialogue and amend the Education Act (2004) to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in schools. The State party should also take practical steps to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment, and should conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects."Read more from HRC session 108 (2013)
Prevalence/attitudinal research for Tajikistan in the last 10 years
 Information provided to the Global Initiative, August 2017
 12 December 2011, A/HRC/19/3, Report of the working group, paras. 89(3) and 89(4)
 [n.d.], CAT/C/TJK/Q/2/Add.1, Reply to list of issues, para. 45
 14 July 2016, A/HRC/33/11, Report of the working group, para. 115(75)
 28 June 2017, CRC/C/TJK/Q/3-5/Add.1, Reply to list of issues, para. 9
 28 June 2017, CRC/C/TJK/Q/3-5/Add.1, Reply to list of issues, para. 69
 27 December 2016, CAT/C/TJK/3, Third report, para. 26
 Information provided to the Global Initiative, August 2017
 12 December 2011, A/HRC/19/3, Report of the working group, paras. 89(3), 89(4) and 90(28)
 12 December 2011, A/HRC/19/3, Report of the working group, paras. paras. 89(3) and 89(4)
 27 February 2012, A/HRC/19/3/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, para. 90(28)
 14 July 2016, A/HRC/33/11, Report of the working group, para. 55
 14 July 2016, A/HRC/33/11, Report of the working group, para. 115(75)