LGBT people in Tajikistan: beaten, raped and exploited by police

Photo: IPHR field mission in Tajikistan

The human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Tajikistan are often egregiously abused, although consensual homosexual relations between adults were decriminalized in Tajikistan in 1998.

The report entitled ”’We just want to be who were are’. LGBT people in Tajikistan: beaten, raped and exploited by police”  is based on field research conducted by IPHR in October and November 2016 in Tajikistan as well as related desk research and interviews.

IPHR and Tajikistani NGOs recorded dozens of credible cases in recent years of police intimidating, arbitrarily detaining, physically or sexually abusing or threatening to abuse LGBT people. In many of these cases police put pressure on the victims to coerce them into disclosing contact information of rich LGBT people in order to blackmail and extort money from them. As many LGBT people in Tajikistan lead double lives they have much to lose if their wives, husbands, parents, other relatives, neighbours, teachers or employers find out about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Police abuse and extort money from LGBT people with almost complete impunity. Victims targeted because of their sexual orientation hardly ever lodge complaints due to their particularly vulnerable position in society. There were cases of LGBT people who wanted to lodge a complaint but refrained from doing so when officials expressed homophobic attitudes or threatened them with reprisals.

Societal homophobia and transphobia make groups working with LGBT clients particularly vulnerable to pressure by government agents. There have been several incidents in recent years where the authorities targeted such NGOs and pressurized them to discontinue their work with sexual minorities.

The report LGBT people in Tajikistan: beaten, raped and exploited by police can be downloaded here.