Rights of servicemen discussed in Rasht

A roundtable on “Military Personnel Rights” has been organized in Rasht region by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Tajikistan in cooperation with Public Association “Citizens Freedoms’ Office” under the support the Ombudsman Office in the Republic of Tajikistan.

According to IWRP Tajikistan, the participants of the roundtable included representatives of the respective structures of the Government of Tajikistan, including the Ministry of Defense, the military prosecutor's office of Rasht garrison, the Ombudsman Office, the Department of Internal Affairs of the Rasht region, the Committee on Women and Family, the Committee on Youth Affairs, Sport and Tourism, as well as other public and international organizations.

The roundtable participants highlighted the fact that the number of suicide cases among recruits is ever increasing because they are subjected to torture, which causes young people to avoid serving in the army at any cost.

Qobilbek Kholibekov, representative of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Tajikistan, noted that “violations of the Charter on the relationship of the military, which refers to the beating of soldiers, can damage the mentality of soldiers and at the same time damage the image of the military service in the community.”  He added that through targeted actions towards strengthening military discipline and preventing all kinds of offenses, the level of ongoing crimes related to the destruction of the ties of friendship and leaving official authority, which refers to beating of soldiers, has decreased by half in 2016 compared with the same period last year, but it is still not good enough.

According to Idibek Sobirzoda, prosecutor of the military garrison of Rasht, “the main reason servicemen commit crimes is a low level of military and legal knowledge, negligence in the performance of duties by the soldiers and junior officers in detecting crimes by their peers, not conducting discussions and explanatory works, unawareness of each other's problems, including personal and family problems, and lack of established cooperation with servicemen’s parents.”

Idibek Sobirzoda expressed his concern, stating that the reason for such offenses is that these types of crimes are being hidden from the management - commanders of various ranks, in order to avoid criticism in their direction.

Suhrob Sobirov, representative of the Public Organization “Citizens Freedoms’ Office,” spoke about the case of the improvement in military service legislation, and noted that “nobody has the right to force a person to enlist in the military.”

In order to prevent suicide and violation of the rights of servicemen, and illegal recruitment of young people, the roundtable participants presented a number of recommendations for further consideration, which should be directed to the appropriate authorities.

Similar roundtable was held in March in Sughd province.  Furthermore, IWPR plans to hold roundtables in Qurghon Teppa, Kulob, Khorog and Dushanbe.

The roundtable is organized within the framework of the 3-year Project “Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan”, financed by the European Union under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), as well as with the financial support of the Government of Norway.