Remarks by Dr Pratibha Mehta,
UNDP Resident Representative
Date: August 20, 2021
Venue: National Library
Time: 9.30 a.m.
Dear Mr. Umed Bobozoda, Human Rights Commissioner in the Republic of Tajikistan
Dear Mr. Abdujabbor Sattorzoda, Head of Department of Human Rights Guarantee of the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan
Dear Ms. Mirzozoda Mavludakhon Zaini, Deputy of Majlisi Namoyandagon of Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan
Your Excellency, Ms. Marilyn Josefson, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Tajikistan
Your Excellency Mr. Valeriu Chiveri, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Tajikistan
Your Excellency Mr. Osama Makkawi, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan,
Distinguished guests, colleagues, and partners,
It is my pleasure to participate in today’s Conference devoted to the 30 years of Human Rights Development in the Republic of Tajikistan.
First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Umed Bobozoda for hosting us today and for our productive collaboration in strengthening rule of law and promotion of human rights in Tajikistan.
For the last 30 years the Government of Tajikistan has made important steps towards ensuring effective governance, application of rule of law and respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights. Tajikistan ratified most of the UN Conventions and, in particular, the seven major UN Human Rights Conventions, thereby committing itself to respecting, protecting and realizing human rights.
The National Development Strategy for the period up to 2030 (NDS) and the Mid-Term Development Programmes pave the way for country’s sustainable development agenda in the long- and mid-term development perspective. The newly developed Mid-Term Development Programme 2021-2025 sets promotion of human rights, upholding rule of law and reduction of gender inequalities as a priority for the country. Access of population to legal aid and public information, including judiciary, judicial independence and its impartiality are envisaged as an anticipated result of the Strategy.
Promoting human rights is one of the core purposes of the United Nations, and the Organization has pursued this mission since its founding. UNDP in Tajikistan in partnership with development partners is supporting the Government in promotion of human rights through establishment of the state system of free legal aid, policy dialogue platform processes, capacity development of justice sector institutions such as the Ministry of Justice, Judiciary and National Human Rights Institution and in many other areas. Yet, while progress has been remarkable, more needs to be done to make rights a reality for all.
We have all witnessed that COVID-19 crisis has further fueled inequalities, income poverty and has amplified structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Lessons from COVID19 pandemic is a stark reminder that equality, justice, voice, freedoms matter and that world will not be able to recover from socio-economic impact of the pandemic without advancing human rights of all gender, age, ethnicity, religion and income. SDGs and human rights together provide a pathway to a healthy country, free of discrimination and exclusion, a state of peace and sustainable prosperity in which no one is left behind.
As we all know establishment of Ombudsman Office in the Republic of Tajikistan in 2009 was a very important step taken by the Government to promote human rights and implement recommendations of the UN Human Rights bodies. Ombudsman role in promotion of human rights cannot be overemphasized. Through their mandate, National Human Rights Institutions play a crucial role in ensuring that human rights are not forgotten, especially in these crisis times by advising governments how to respond to the pandemic while protecting human rights of all.
Moreover, the role of the Ombudsman Office is critical in the implementation and monitoring of Agenda 2030, especially in SDG 16, focusing on peaceful and inclusive societies by ensuring protection of human rights, access to justice for all and accountable institutions at all level.
I would like to emphasis that from the time of its establishment, Ombudsman Office was open for cooperation with UNDP and CSOs. UNDP has supported the Ombudsman’s Office with capacity building of its staff and technical support, consulting services and Strategic Planning. During the years, the Ombudsman’s Office has grown in terms of budget, number of employees, competence and capacity and we will continue to do so.
Under the 2nd cycle of UPR in 2016, Tajikistan accepted recommendations related to bringing Ombudsman Office in compliance with Paris Principles and this was included into the National Action Plan on UPR recommendations signed by President in 2017. UNDP stands ready to provide every support to the Ombudsman Office to improve and bring it in compliance with Paris Principles. One of UNDP programmes, namely Rule of Law Project, funded by the MFA Finland, has a specific objective to promote Ombudsman`s further improvement and obtaining status “A”. Currently within the support of UNDP, the inter-agency working group chaired by Ombudsman is working on bringing the legislation of the country in line with the Paris Principles.
In conclusion, I would like to once again emphasize that Human rights are at the heart of achieving Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that no one is left behind. UNDP is committed to working with all partners to promote and protect all Human Rights and for all in Tajikistan to achieve more resilient, just, and sustainable development.
Thank you very much for your attention.