Overview website for Tajikistan


Tajikistan is a small, landlocked and mountainous country in the southeastern area of Central Asia . It is home to 6.2 million people, half of whom are children …


Tajikistan’s real economic output is expected to grow by 6 percent in 2011, driven by …


Tajikistan is the poorest country in the region, with a 2007 gross national income of $460 per capita. Between 2000 and 2007, the gross domestic product (GDP) …


Status and Trends of Biodiversity. Overview. The five natural zones of Tajikistan are foothill plains, low mountains and valleys, mid-high mountains, light forest …


Overview of AKDN Activities in Tajikistan. Operating in Tajikistan since 1992, AKDN draws on a strong base of experience in working with mountain societies.

Tajikistan is a small, landlocked and mountainous country in the southeastern area of Central Asia . It is home to 6.2 million people, half of whom are children and young people aged 1 to 18 years of age, two thirds of whom live in rural areas and about the same number live in poverty while a fifth migrate for economic reasons.

Peace and political stability in the country has been coupled with economic growth. The reduction of poverty from 81 per cent in 1999 to 64 per cent in 2004 highlights the achievements on the economic front. According to the World Bank Poverty Assessment Update, the fall in poverty was driven by economic growth which averaged 8 per cent annually over the last five years. The entire economy grew with agriculture, predominantly cotton and aluminum remaining the major sectors, with a steady annual growth of GDP 8-10% during the past few years.

Peace and stability, initial impact of macroeconomic stability and the large increase in migration have contributed significantly to this economic growth. However, the Poverty Assessment Update also offers a caveat, stating that these factors may not necessarily be sustainable. Reforms should be fully implemented to address governance and land distribution and ownership in the cotton plantations, as well as equity related issues. In addition, the assessment also indicates a significant regional disparity in poverty reduction process.

Tajikistan’s isolation and distance from major international trade routes seriously hinder economic development. Recurrent natural disasters could also adversely affect the economic gains made so far. Efforts need to be made to ensure that infrastructure and facilities remain in place to sustain the current momentum of economic growth. Despite significant economic progress and stability, life for most people in Tajikistan is a constant struggle for survival in difficult circumstances.

Migration has been a coping strategy for the poor. Approximately 1 million Tajiks work permanently or temporarily outside of the country, with half of them sending money in the form of remittances to their families. Despite the financial contribution of migration to Tajik households, many social analysts expressed concern about the social consequences of migration on the families of migrant workers: occupational accidents, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and family breakdowns, leaving many children abandoned, institutionalized or forced into prostitution and other forms of exploitative labor. Poor people have also expressed feelings of vulnerability and concern about their personal safety given increasing criminality. This suggests that children and women are the most vulnerable being affected by still pervasive poverty in the country.

Tajikistan is a witness to growing donor interest as evident in the increasing number of donor agencies, embassies and international NGOs with recently established offices in Dushanbe . At the Donor Consultation Group Meeting in May 2003, the donor community has pledged US$ 900 million for the coming 3 years, of which 2/3 is pledged as grants. This positive trend is mainly due to the political stabilization and peace building process. In addition, the alarming social indicators of Tajikistan , similar to Sub-Saharan African countries, are now more known among donor countries. The second Donor Consultation Group Meeting in November 2004 further confirmed the commitment of the donor community assistance towards the national development of Tajikistan based on MDG and PRSP. However, the disbursement of the pledged funds has been slow, as the donor community remains skeptical about the absorptive capacity of the Government for effective implementation. The UN, including UNICEF, face challenges to demonstrate the comparative advantages and its critical role in the context of Tajikistan development, thus, directing the donor interests in supporting the UN initiatives. Moreover, with the volatile international environment, the risk exists that this donor interest might be re-directed and reduced in the future.

Tajikistan is party to almost all human rights treaties including ICCPR and its optional protocol, ICESCR, CEDAW, CAT, CRC and CERD. National Commission on Child Rights (NCCR), under the leadership of a Deputy Prime Minister, fulfills this important function of inter-sectoral policy coordination, in close partnership with UNICEF. The commitment of the Government of Tajikistan to fulfilling the rights of its children and women, as well as the gradual growth of its civil society, including children and young people’s organizations, to move forward and away from times of political turmoil and uncertainty, provide the most robust opportunity for the successful implementation of UNICEF Country Programme. A draft periodic report on the CRC implementation has been prepared by the National Commission on Child Rights. An alternative report from the NGOs is also being prepared. UNICEF is providing technical assistance to ensure that the Government’s report is transparent and critical of the implementation efforts it has undertaken to fulfill its commitment to the CRC.

Child Protection concerns

Deprivation of parental care

Children face greater challenges than ever in terms of their protection rights in Tajikistan. Poverty seriously affects the well being of children and family, with growing social risks for family crisis, children being deprived of family care, juvenile crime, and violence and abuse against children and women. Social welfare system suffers from the absence of a community-based social welfare response scheme, which does not effectively respond to the growing needs of family at social risks. Highly centralized social welfare system, having institutionalization as primary means, does not make appropriate social welfare service available at the community level. No social work function is available to provide technical, legal and psychosocial support to family in social crisis.

Cash compensation scheme is not effectively implemented. In Tajikistan , the collapse of the social safety net and years of civil strife have led to an increase in the number of children deprived of family care in the past years. The number of children under residential care in social institutions has increased by 32% in the last five years. Having studied the situation of children in the country the National Commission on Child Rights Secretariat concluded that there are a total of 92 child institutions, with about 11,000 children under residential care. According to the National Commission on Child Rights’ Report to the 2nd International Conference dedicated to children in residential care held in Stockholm in 2003, more than 80% of children in social institutions have their biological parents. Children with disabilities are considered to be most vulnerable in the society due because they lack equal opportunities for development. Children with disabilities are accommodated in institutions where there are the gloomy conditions without appropriate opportunities for social integration.

The last study of the NCCP Expert Group showed that a majority of disabled children usually reside with families, however, without proper access to education and rehabilitation care services. Thus, the development opportunities of children with disabilities are very limited. Still in 2004, very little commitment has been made in the Government policy and social service structures to provide appropriate care for children with disabilities.

Deprivation of liberty

By the initiative of the Expert Group set up in 2003 by the NCCR the situation of children in conflict with the law exposed stating that juvenile crime forms 7.8 percent of all crimes. The 95 percent of the crimes committed by children consist of thefts of food products which consequences to the deprivation of liberty. The reported increase in the availability and use of drugs has the potential to result in a future increase in the level of juvenile crime, possibly of a more serious nature. At the current stage, there is no separate legislation governing juveniles in conflict with the law, procedures for juveniles is not always separated from one with adults, lack of specific and specialized judicial authority to hear cases against juveniles, and specific, separate and comprehensive set of sentences that can be applied to juveniles do not meet the best interests of juveniles in conflict with law.

Exposure to violence, exploitation and abuse

Despite the initiatives of the civil society organizations in regard to dissemination of values of children in the society in the whole of 2002-04 there are still children and women increasingly being exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation as a result of increased stress on families, the breakdown of the social system and the persistence of certain social and traditional norms, which perpetrates gender inequalities. Due to the harsh socio-economic situation and the existence of gender stereotypes based on traditional customs including family obligations between men and women, women, girls and children are becoming most vulnerable and most exposed to different forms of physical, emotional and sexual violence, especially in the domestic sphere. However, the awareness for addressing the problem of domestic violence remains very low in the society with traditional norms to treat such violence as an inside family problem. This does not encourage the government and law enforcement officials to undertake appropriate measures for violence against children and women.


Partnerships with local authorities will strive at intensifying decentralization process and building awareness and understanding of issues related to children being at risk rights. Civil society at community level will play an advocacy role in monitoring the implementation of these rights and in reaching communities with rights-based information, as well as participation in working out alternative approaches to institutional care. UNICEF Child Protection will continue to work with other United Nations agencies, the international financial institutions and other donors. In a partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency and Stockholm University , UNICEF will support reform of the child protection system.

UNICEF, in close partnership with UNDP, WFP, the World Bank and the European Commission, will advocate for more effective resource allocation and pro-child policies. The National Commission on Child Protection is a main partner of UNICEF in bringing in compliance the national legislation with the UN Convention on the rights of the child. It coordinates and makes counseling efforts of government establishments concerned to direct the work oriented to the benefit of children. Partnerships with children and adolescents in pilot districts on the matter of institutional reform will be enhanced to ensure that programs are based on the experiences of children as follow-up to the General Assembly Special Session on Children. To anchor a policy of Child Protection and Social Policy Reform in the country and encourage other international NGOs and UN Agencies to switch their efforts to family sustainability, there will be coordination and consultation meetings with partners from Government, NGOs and international donor organizations.

UNICEF and the government seek long term cooperation with other international organizations, e.g. Stockholm University , Essex University of England, NGOs, and local funds to maximize the effective outcomes of project inputs. In terms of de-institutionalization we will be especially coordinated with National Social Investment Fund for potential income generating and community empowerment support and with the EC Food Security Program and EC TACIS project for social protection reform in the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.

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