Madam Chair, Minister Bakhtior,
Norway thanks the delegation of the Tajikistan for the presentation of the national report, and for the cooperation regarding the UPR process.
Norway acknowledges the establishment of the Ombudsman institution in 2009 as a sign of the authorities’ willingness to address human rights issues. With reference to the Paris Principles on national institutions we recommend that the capacity and independence of the Ombudsman is strengthened.
Norway is concerned about the increasing restrictions on religious and civil society organizations. In particular, we are worried about the increased state presence and censorship in the religious sphere, and the continuing restrictions to the freedom of religion and belief. We recommend that the Government ensures that religious and civil society organizations can operate without restrictions, in accordance with Tajikistans international obligations.
Norway remains concerned about the deterioration of the freedom of speech in the last year. We are particularly concerned about the restrictions on independent media. We recommend the Government to counter the trend of repressing free speech, including restrictions on media outlets, and that the Government take concrete steps to meet its obligations on creating an environment that fosters freedom of expression.
Norway recognizes that the adoption of the new Criminal Procedure Code in April 2010 was a positive step in the strengthening of the legal system. We recommend that steps are taken to ensure that the recent amendments to the Criminal Code in 2011 are in compliance with international obligations regarding the freedom of assembly and the freedom of conscience.
Finally, Norway notes the concerns that have been raised about persistent gender inequalities in all spheres of life. We recommend that Tajikistan strengthen the promotion and protection of women’s rights through appropriate legislative and policy measures and by addressing discriminatory social and cultural attitudes and practices.