The OSCE Office in Tajikistan supports awareness-raising and educational activities to promote equality of opportunity and initiatives that strengthen women's role in decision-making processes. It promotes the integration of a gender perspective into national policies and practice.
Supporting policy initiatives
OSCE supports the development, implementation and/or monitoring of legislation and state strategic policy documents. These include, but are not limited to, the "State Program on Main Directions of State Policy on Ensuring Equal Rights and Opportunities for Men and Women in the Republic of Tajikistan for the period 2001-2010” and the “State Programme on education, selection and placement of capable women and girls in leading positions for the period 2007-2016”.
Special focus is placed on the establishment of sustainable structures and mechanisms to prevent and combat domestic violence. A draft law on domestic violence has been pending since 2007. The OSCE has been instrumental in creating opportunities for civil society and government to stay appraised of domestic and international best practice relevant to a legal framework to address domestic violence. These have included repeated public dialogues and expert exchanges on domestic violence, as well as a study tour, advocacy and public information events.
Awaiting a law that could criminalize domestic violence, the OSCE supports the Ministry of Interior and law-enforcement agencies in their work to analyse and address cases of domestic violence. Under this initiative, five special units at police stations in Tajikistan (two in Dushanbe, one each in Kurgan-Tube, Kulyab and Khojand) have been equipped with training and facilities to handle cases of domestic violence in a safe and professional environment. This co-operative effort between the OSCE and the Ministry helps police officers identify and investigate cases of domestic violence as well as refer victims to community services, including those being offered by civil society organizations.
In order to incorporate a gender perspective into governmental institutions, the Office assists in developing civil servants' understanding of gender issues and their skills in implementing relevant policy. Since 2005, the OSCE trained more than 450 civil servants throughout the country in areas such as include leadership and gender-based budgeting.
Ensuring availability of crisis and community services
The Office has supported Tajikistan's first shelter for victims of domestic violence, located in Khujand, in northern Tajikistan, with funding from the United States (2005-08) and Finland (2008-11). In February 2010, a new, larger comprehensive-care shelter for women and children was inaugurated. Local administration in the Soghd region has agreed to let the NGO “Gulrukhsor,” which operates the shelter, use the building without paying rent for 12 years.
Working with a network of women’s organizations in small towns and villages, the Office promotes the empowerment of women and girls to claim their rights, access state services, enroll in and attend school and obtain counselling on practical issues in housing, family law, employment, property and documentation. The network of Women's Resource Centres, supported with funding from Norway, includes ten NGOs operating in Kurgan-tyube, Jomi, Rumi, Kumsangir, Khuroson, Kabodiyon, Jilikul, Kulyab, Garm, Istaravshan and Penjikent district. Their work strengthens co-operation between civil society and government actors and structures at local level, a relationship that fosters confidence building, mutual learning and sustainability.
The Women's Resource Centres have a dual role: (a) as crisis centers that respond with necessary assistance, advice, training and information on gender equality issues and access to rights, thus widening opportunities for women; and (b) as community centres that initiate actions to help address obstacles to equal opportunity and equal participation.