"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

UPR: Tajikistan, 25th Session, 2015

United Nations Human Rights Council

Universal Periodic Review: Tajikistan

Executive Summary

The prevalence in Tajik society of conservative strains of Islam, combined with traditional practices predicated on the subservience of women and a lack of government action, has led to overwhelming structural discrimination against women. This is manifest in violence in the home and restrictions on women’s rights in the street. Tajikistan has made legislative progress in its bids to improve the status of women in the country, but remains in violation of sections of CEDAW and the ICCPR, to which it is a party. For example, Tajikistan is the subject of reports of widespread domestic violence, as well as traditional patriarchal practices such as forced marriages. [i]   The country also places tight controls on religious practice in general.

Drawing on ICAAD’s research, this submission highlights issues of structural discrimination that impact women and, to a lesser extent, religious minorities. The research examines Tajikistan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, as well as its implementation of domestic legislation, covering: women and religious practice, violence against women and domestic violence generally, and the status of the country’s small religious minorities.

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#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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