Tajikistan: Child brides, polygamy and poverty contributing to rampant domestic violence- new report

Up to half of Tajik Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights subjected to violence

The authorities in Tajikistan are failing to curb rampant domestic violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the country, said Amnesty International today (24 November), as it published a new report on the topic.

Amnesty’s 53-page report - Violence Is Not Just A Family Affair: Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Face Abuse In Tajikistan - shows that girls being married off under-age, unofficial “unregistered” marriages (with husbands often having multiple wives), and uneducated and poor Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights being treated as servants in their husbands’ homes - are all contributing to very high levels of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights within Tajik families.

Amnesty’s report accuses the Tajik police and other authorities of often sharing the values of husbands and in-law families in condoning violence and discrimination against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. One Tajik government official told Amnesty: “Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is not a problem in Tajikistan, it is a family matter; and it depends on individual people how they resolve their problems.”

Amnesty International Tajikistan expert Andrea Strasser-Camagni said:

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Tajikistan are beaten, abused, and raped in the family but the authorities tend to reflect the societal attitude of blaming the woman for domestic violence. They see their primary role as mediator, to preserve the family rather than protect the woman and to safeguard their rights.

“By writing off violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights as a family affair the authorities in Tajikistan are shirking their responsibility to a large part of the population. They are allowing perpetrators of such crimes to act with impunity and, ultimately, denying Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights their human rights.”

Surveys have shown that between a third and a half of Tajik Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have suffered violence from a family member. One survey showed 58% of wives reporting physical and/or sexual violence from their husbands, and young - often uneducated - Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights married in “unregistered” ceremonies are particularly at risk. In many Tajik households Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are demeaned and attacked by husbands and in-laws alike.

Sexual violence in marriage is common. In one case a husband forced his wife to have anal sex “in order to have a boy” (they already had six girls). In another case a husband brought a second wife home and beat his first wife after she complained when he began having sex with the newcomer in the same room as her.

Unregistered wives can also be divorced by husbands who simply repeat a phrase in front of two witnesses. This often leaves divorced Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights with nowhere to live and no source of income. In some cases wives have been divorced over the telephone by husbands working abroad who have already started new families abroad (widespread poverty in Tajikistan has led to millions of Tajik men working in other countries in recent years, especially in Russia).

Despite the fact that research reveals very high levels of domestic violence in the country the Tajik authorities do not compile comprehensive data on the issue and there is only one shelter for at-risk Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the entire country.

Amnesty is calling on the Tajik authorities to begin full monitoring of domestic violence, to provide Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s shelters across the country, and to establish specialised police units to deal with the problem. The prosecutorial authorities are also being urged to end impunity for the perpetrators of domestic violence by pursuing prosecutions themselves rather than placing the onus on victims to initiate cases - something that victims of domestic violence in Tajikistan rarely feel able to do.

Cases
Zamira
got married at 18 in a traditional Islamic marriage. The marriage lasted for five years and in this time Zamira was never allowed to leave her husband’s house. “It was like in prison,” says Zamira. She told Amnesty that when she asked his permission to go out or when they had a quarrel, her husband would beat her. One day her husband divorced her according to Islamic tradition and she was thrown out of the house by his parents. Now Zamira and her nine-year-old son live with her parents in an over-crowded house. She dreams of a home for her and her son.

Tahmina, a mother of three Children's rights, has been married for 13 years. She says that she had three stillbirths and after that her husband began to beat her. As a result of a beating another baby died; then she miscarried while five months pregnant and her first child was born deformed. She once went to the police when she was black and blue and had a knife cut on her arm. They said she could write a complaint, but otherwise did nothing. She felt they blamed her for having provoked the violence.

Risolat, a 17-year-old from a small town was raped by her boyfriend, who threatened to kill her if she told anyone about it. He forced her to have sex during a four-month period. He also beat her. A year later she went to the police wanting to file a complaint, but she was mocked by the officers and sent away.

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