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Protocol between the European Union of Women and the League of Women Lawyers of the Republic of Tajikistan

The Rule of Law Platform promoted cooperation between the European Union of Women and the League of Women-Lawyers of the Republic of Tajikistan. Contacts between representative instances of the two institutions had been initiated by the Platform and on the sides of the National workshop on support to the justice reform of Tajikistan organised by the Platform, in Dushanbe on 5 March 2014, a ceremony took place for signing a Cooperation Protocol between these two institutions. Mrs. Pascale Mesnil, Honorary President of Chamber of the Commercial Court of Paris and Special Advisor to the European Union of Women represented the European Union of Women on this occasion. The Protocol, which was signed by Mrs. Kanoat Khamidova, President of the League of Women-Lawyers and Mrs. Christian Tricot, President of the French Section of the European Union of Women. The Protocol granted to each institution Observer’s status in the general assembly of the other institution. It also provided for the organisation of a study tour of French institutions protecting women’s rights in Paris in October 2014, the organisation of a regional seminar on gender issues in Dushanbe in November 2014, and layed ground for further cooperation between the two organisations. The Protocol aimed at building long-term relationships between institutions of the civil societies of the EU and Tajikistan and represents a concrete achievement sustaining the efforts of the Rule of Law Platform towards creating a European and Central Asian Network of Institutions in the area of rule of law and at fostering a public dialogue between State authorities and the civil society.

The Rule of Law Platform organised a study visit to Paris for the President and of the Executive Director of the League of Women-Lawyers of Tajikistan, Mrs. Kanoat Khamidova and Mrs. Zeboniso Sharifova, from 27-29 October 2014. The objective of this visit was to give Tajik delegates exposure to concrete realisations of the European Union of Women and to French institutions protecting women’s rights and to concrete realisations of the European Union of Women. This study visit was an important step to prepare the regional seminar on gender issues in Dushanbe on 14-15 November 2014. The two Tajik League executives learned about the legislation protecting women against domestic violence, providing professional qualification, on-the-job training and financial autonomy to women, ensuring them and their family social protection. They visited important institutions related to family and women’s rights, specialised training centers, an observatory of women’s rights and social security unit for women. This rich experience provided them with the tools to replicate institutional models and feed the legislative pipeline of their country.

A regional seminar on “Living with the Rule of Law – Equality of rights and opportunities for women” took place in Dushanbe on 14-15 November 2014, organised by the Rule of Law Platform. This event gathered representatives of NGOs and State Institutions specialized in gender issues from the EU and the five Central Asian States.

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Ms. Mahfirat Umar Hidirzoda, Chair of the Committee on Women and Family Affairs under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan addresses the seminar participants

Fifty-eight participants from the five Central Asian States and from various regions of Tajikistan attended this seminar, which took place in the National Library of Tajikistan and was opened by the Legal Adviser to the President of Tajikistan and the EU Ambassador. Three high-level French experts, members of the European Union of Women, participated. The seminar focused on the following areas: women’s right to education and training, women’s right to health care and to welfare, women’s rights in family law and economic rights, women’s role in the workplace, in associations and in society. It was noticed that the evolution of the socio-religious family environment in the Central Asian States is contrasted but generally has not resulted in a significant improvement of women’ rights in the region. A law on domestic violence has been enacted in Tajikistan in 2014 but the decrease of remittances from Tajik workers has negatively impacted the average disposable income of families and resulted in a decrease of financial resources and worst living conditions of women especially and at the best a stagnation of their rights. The same can be observed in other countries in the region. The need to review gender issues at regional level is particularly high. The debates were very rich and at the outset of the seminar, a communiqué was endorsed. The resolutions in the communiqué included the project to create an “Association of Women of Central Asia”, a network of women active in the protection of women’s rights, in Central Asia, by analogy with the European Union of Women.

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