Video: 'Oblava'. Illegal and Forced Recruitment in Tajikistan

 This is a repost, with thanks to Global Voices

As Tajikistan's military faces a struggle to get enough volunteer conscripts, recruitment officers often rely on illegal practices in drafting military-age men into the army. One of the most common among such practices is “oblava” which involves “military press gangs making sweeps of city streets, bazaars and bus stations, rounding up young men who meet the desired criteria [to serve their compulsory two-year-long service]“.

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Tajikistan, adopted by the Committee at its 108th session (8–26 July 2013)


21. The Committee reiterates its previous concern (CCPR/CO/84/TJK, para 20) about the State party’s lack of recognition of the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service, and at the absence of alternatives to military service (art. 18).

Tajikistan: NGO that investigates abuses in conscription shut down

The Young Lawyers Association “Amparo”, who document press-ganging in Tajikistan and has provided thousands of families pro bono legal advice has been ordered to close by the Tajik court.

The court cited a variety of technical violations of its operating license, including moving offices without duly notifying authorities, engaging in unauthorized training sessions involving high school students and operating an improperly registered website. The ruling came after the Tajik Justice Ministry filed a motion to shut down the Association.

Tajikistan Blocks NGO from Investigating Press Gangs

Informed observers in Tajikistan are continuing to tell EurasiaNet.org that this week’s shuttering of a prominent human rights group had nothing to do with its alleged technical violations (moving its office without reporting to authorities, publishing its findings on a website) and everything to do with its persistent investigation into abuses of military conscripts.

Autumn conscription campaign starts in Tajikistan on October 1

DUSHANBE, September 28, 2012, Asia-Plus -- On September 22, President Emomali Rahmon signed a decree on drafting young Tajiks into the country’s armed forces from October through November 2012, the president’s official website reports.

The draft affects able-bodied male citizens in the age bracket of 18 years old to 27 years old, who are not members of the armed forces reserve. The same decree provides for the retirement from active duty of soldiers and sergeants whose service under conscription is over.

The Next Arms Race?

October 15, 2009

An arms race may be fermenting in Central Asia. The region’s ethnic diversity coupled with its fierce nationalism is providing fertile ground for competitive militarization. Weapon purchases are on the rise and standing armies are being bolstered. Take for example Kyrgyzstan. Last December the Kyrgyz government passed a singularly aggressive draft bill. According to First Lieutenant Ivan Mikhailov the measure is expected to bolster the current 12,500 troops with an additional 6,000 in the mobile reserve and 20,000 in the alternative service this year alone. The active call up began October 1st and is obligatory for all Kyrgyz men 18 and over.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir - Addendum: MISSION TO TAJIKISTAN*

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir




H. Conscientious objection

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Tajikistan

18 July 2005


20. The Committee is concerned that the State party does not recognize the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service (art. 18).

The State party should take all necessary measures to recognize the right of conscientious objectors to be exempted from military service.


The quest for Caspian oil - at what human cost?

by Lindsay Barnes

International interest in the resource-rich former Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucasus has surged over the past decade. Why has Caspian oil and gas suddenly become so significant to the global energy market? What are the consequences for the region's inhabitants as they struggle to forge fledgling democracies?

An unrecognised human right: Conscientious objection in the Caucasus and Central Asia

by Silke Makowski

In the region of Caucasus and Central Asia, no country offers a free choice between military service and alternative service, most of them even having no legal basis for a substitute service at all. The few states that passed a law on some kind of alternative service haven't implemented it according to international standards: in Georgia, substitute service isn't available in practice and in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, large bribes are necessary to perform it.

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