TAJIKISTAN: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Tajikistan's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.


National laws on children's rights

Status of CRC in National Law
While the Constitution has supreme legal authority, international legal instruments including the CRC that have been recognised by Tajikistan take precedence over conflicting national statutes.

Constitution: Article 34 of the Constitution reads: "Mothers and children are under the special protection and patronage of the government. Parents are responsible for raising children, and adult children who are able to work are obligated to care for their parents. The government takes care to protect orphans and the disabled, as well as their upbringing and education." Read the full text here: http://www.crin.org/Law/instrument.asp?InstID=1273

Legislation: Tajikistan does not have a comprehensive children's act, and legal provisions on children's rights appear primarily in the Family, Labour, Education and Civil Codes, although there are also relevant provisions of the Criminal Code (in particular Chapter 20: Offences against the family and minors) and the Codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure.

Other statutes relating to children include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act
  • Youth and Youth Policy Act
  • Disabled Persons Social Protection Act/Pensions Act
  • Voluntary Associations Act
  • Refugees Act
  • Nationality Act
  • Religion and Religious Organizations Act
  • Youth Sports Act

Legal Research:
The Assembly of Representatives (http://parlament.tj/en/) and the President (http://www.prezident.tj/) both maintain web pages, and collections of laws can be found via the World Legal Information Institute (http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/2766.html) and New York University Law School (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/tajikistan.htm#CodesoftheRepublic (primarily in Russian)).

Compliance with the CRC
In its 2010 Concluding Observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child stated that while Tajikistan "has adopted additional legislative and administrative measures relating to children's rights, the Committee however remains concerned that the national legislation does not adequately address all the provisions enshrined in the Convention."

In depth analysis:
Though steps have been taken to reform juvenile justice, including the appointment of the first judges on juvenile justice, the Tajik juvenile justice system remains incompatible with the CRC in a number of respects. There are no separate courts, nor is there a separate criminal procedure for children in conflict with the law, and - although the age of criminal responsibility is set at 14 - it is not uncommon for children to be arrested, subjected to pre-trial detention and faced with deprivation of liberty in closed institutions before reaching that age.

With regards to child labour, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed its concern that children as young as 10 are working. In particular, there is a high prevalence of child labour in the informal sector, including unskilled work, agriculture and domestic service. In seeking to address this problem, the Committee's recommendations have focussed on introducing a definition of child labour into Tajik law as part of the process of ensuring that the relevant ILO Conventions are implemented. The Committee has also advised the State to "[v]igourously pursue enforcement of minimum-age standards, including requiring employers to have, and to produce on demand, proof of age of all children working on their premises".

Marriage also remains an area where national laws fall short of the protections laid out in the Convention. The minimum legal age for marriage has been reduced to 17 years, with the Committee responding by urging the State to revert to the previous 18 year minimum. The Committee has also expressed its concern at the practice of unregistered religious marriages (nikah) of very young girls into polygamous arrangements. Though national law prohibits polygamy and the marriage of underage girls, such marriages are rarely the subject of prosecutions. In response to this phenomenon, the Committee has recommended that the State enforce the provisions of the Criminal Code that relate to such marriages and seek to investigate and prosecute those who perform religious marriages of underage girls.

Case Law
CRC Jurisprudence
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research
Case law resources are not readily accessible, although it is notable that courts in Tajikistan do not have the power to review national legislation.

Current legal reform projects
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any current legal reform projects.  


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.