Strengthening Rule of Law and Human Rights to Empower People in Tajikistan Project

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1 Photo: UNDP Tajikistan Strengthening Rule of Law and Human Rights to Empower People in Tajikistan Project Project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) Executing agency United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

2 PROJECT PERIOD: JAN 2014 DEC 2017 TARGET COUNTRY: TAJIKISTAN BUDGET: 2 million FINANCING: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland EXECUTING AGENCY: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Tajikistan Photo: UNDP Tajikistan Project context Over the past fifteen years, the Government of Tajikistan has undertaken a number of legislative and policy reforms to create the framework for an effective justice system. These legislative reforms are of relatively good quality; however, full implementation of laws is rather slow. In parallel with ongoing rule of law reforms of the Government of Tajikistan, the international community has worked with Tajikistan s authorities to put in place stronger governance and regulatory frameworks. Efforts have focused on the establishment of an independent, effective and accessible judicial system and the adoption of national laws in conformity with international standards. The project Strengthening Rule of Law and Human Rights to Empower People in Tajikistan builds on the past achievements. It is a follow-up to a regional Central Asian project Equal before the Law: Access to Justice funded by the MFA in The project was designed in close consultation with stakeholders at the national and local levels. The project addresses key challenges related to the access of vulnerable groups to justice which is caused by the following key factors: (a) absence of state guaranteed legal aid system, (b) weak capacity of state institutions to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable population groups, and (c) poor legal awareness of the target population, especially rural women and persons with disabilities.

3 Beneficiaries and project partners Final beneficiaries of the project are the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including rural women and persons with disabilities. The project partners include government institutions, UN specialized agencies and local NGOSs. Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is the leading state institution responsible for implementation of the National Judicial and Legal Reform Programme. Under the present initiative, the MoJ will be directly involved in the establishment and testing the state guaranteed legal aid system for future scaling up and also in capacity building of subsidiary institutions such as Civil Registration Office (ZAGS) and Notaries. Ombudsman s Office is also a strategic partner of the project. The Ombudsman s Office will be engaged and contribute in advocacy for signing/ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and fulfill other international human rights obligations of the country. Moreover, the project intends to enhance the capacity of the Ombudsman s office to comply with Paris Principles and support the creation of a National Preventive Mechanism the Ombudsman plus model - to conduct monitoring of closed and semi closed facilities. The project involves the expertise of UN Agencies such as: UN Women will be involved in supporting development, and piloting implementation mechanisms for the Law on prevention of violence in the family. UN Women will also be engaged in capacity building of Ombudsman s office in conducting gender analysis and compliance with Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. OHCHR will be involved in strengthening the institutional capacity of the Ombudsman s Office for more effectiveness in attainment of goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan for The project provides opportunities for enhancing local capacities. The NGO Bureau for Human Rights has been chosen as a leading partner of the project in provision of legal aid to the target groups. Project objectives The overall objectives of the Project are: a. strengthening capacity of national human rights and other actors in Tajikistan to better support rule of law and human rights institutions and CSOs in implementing international recommendations and standards, b. developing capacities and oversight mechanism of justice and penitentiary institutions,

4 c. empowering citizens and most vulnerable groups with better access to justice and legal aid services. The above objectives will be achieved through the following interlinked components: 1. Empowerment and better access to justice of vulnerable population of Tajikistan, including rural women and persons with disabilities Increased legal literacy, human rights awareness and ability of target groups to access national law and institutions to defend their rights and interests Legal and human rights awareness; Legal empowerment of vulnerable people, especially rural women and persons with disabilities; Public awareness on consequences of non-registration of marriage, obtaining birth certificate and lack of passport; Replication of pilot model on community-based Women Watch Groups to help identify priorities and needs of vulnerable rural women on social protection and registration issues in two pilot districts; Legal aid providers have increased capacity to deliver imperative legal services and CSOs are able to better monitor and promote human rights Quality Legal Aid provision on a non-discriminatory basis; Strengthening CSOs capacity to advocate and monitor rule of law and human rights and the capacity of authorities to deliver results; Photo: UNDP Tajikistan Support Regional Consultative Councils in Soughd, Khatlon and Rasht valley for more active local government and CSOs consultations and engagement of CSOs in the area of rule of law and access to justice; 2. State bodies and justice sector actors are better able to provide access to justice and uphold rule of law in compliance with international commitments and promote and protect the rights of vulnerable people, including rural women and persons with disabilities Capacity of national human rights system to implement laws and human rights recommendations and meet international standards increased The Ombudsman s ability to be an effective institution to protect and promote human rights in Tajikistan and to defend the rights of the people is supported, including expertise related to gender equality and issues of persons with disabilities; Support Ombudsman s office in development and implementation of advocacy

5 strategy for signing and/or ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Support the State Committee on Women and Family Affairs in the development of Action Plan/mechanism on the implementation of the Law on prevention of violence in the family until 2020 facilitate its approval, implementation and monitoring and evaluation; Support National Action Plan to implement Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations [Cycle 1] and support inclusive national preparations for UPR [Cycle 2: 2016]; Sustainable mechanisms for capacity development and oversight of justice and penitentiary institutions established and strengthened to ensure greater accountability and transparency Analysis of the options and support to creation of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) for Tajikistan and presentation to stakeholders including but not limited to NGO Coalition against torture and the Office of Ombudsman; Support advocacy for the ratification of Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; Support to the development of a Commission to visit closed and semiclosed institutions; Support presentation of the gender specific concerns/priorities to the relevant UN human rights committees, including CEDAW, follow-up on their most recent recommendations; Support relevant institutions and CSOs in the implementation of the most recent CEDAW recommendations; Capacity of State Registration Bodies and local authorities to provide better registration services to citizens is strengthened Mapping of existing state registration bodies; Review and analysis of legislation and other state regulations on state registration process; Develop a comprehensive capacity development programme for State Registration Bodies (Ministry of Interior) for more efficient service delivery; Support key public service delivery institutions especially those dealing with registration, justice, safety, social security and livelihood to have enabling institutional environment for quality and accountable services to rural women in two pilot districts; To develop and implement practical actions to improve access of vulnerable groups to civic registration services;

6 Photo: UNDP Tajikistan Layout Innocorp Oy Printing by Erweko Oy, 2014

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