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Источник изображения: ИА "Авеста"

Выпуск-55

id: 111457

date: 6/8/2007 12:48

refid: 07DUSHANBE855

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination: 07STATE75287

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000855

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, OES

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ENRG, SENV, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN SUPPORTS PRESIDENT BUSH'S CLIMATE INITIATIVE

REF: STATE 75287

1.  Rustam Latipov, Tajikistan's Deputy Minister for Agriculture

and Environmental Protection and the leading government official

responsible for environmental issues, expressed support for

President Bush's new international framework initiative on

climate change.  PolOff delivered points per reftel to Latipov

June 7 and Latipov assured PolOff that the Tajik government

would support President Bush's initiative.  Latipov said that

the government will draft a letter of support to be delivered

through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2.  Backing the Tajik government's enthusiasm to develop a coal

industry in Tajikistan, Latipov pointed out that deforestation

is a big problem for Tajikistan.  In a country desperate for

energy and electricity, villagers are forced to cut down trees

to heat their homes.  In turn, fewer trees means that less

carbon dioxide emissions can be absorbed.  Latipov said that the

Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection will lobby

the government to invest in clean coal technology and replant

trees around the coal mining areas.

3.  Latipov called melting glaciers the most significant climate

change problem for Tajikistan.  With little industry and cars

per capita, Tajikistan lags far behind other countries in

greenhouse gas emissions.  However, climate change has affected

the country's rural villages and threatens the pristine glaciers

of the country's famed Pamir Mountains.  According to media

reports, the glaciers are receding at a rate of 20 meters per

year and temperatures in the Pamirs have increased at one and a

half degrees in the past ten years.  Ilhomjon Rajabov, of

Tajikistan's Agency for Hydrometeorology, stated in media

reports that the country's ice cover will decrease by 20 percent

by 2050.

4.  Even though at this time, water may be abundant in

Tajikistan, excess water poses severe threats.  Floods create

problems year after year, washing away homes, destroying

agriculture and lives.  Higher temperatures and melting ice also

create landslides or mudslides which are not only destructive,

but contaminate the water sources, carrying diseases straight to

the people and livestock, the majority of whom do not have

access to clean water.

5.  At this point in time, Tajikistan has an abundance of water.

 However in the future, if temperatures continue to rise and the

glaciers disappear, that means the water supply will diminish.

Climate change in Tajikistan will also have a regional impact

because Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan depend on the Pamir glaciers

as a water source for drinking, irrigation and energy

generation.

HUSHEK

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 111536

date: 6/10/2007 7:45

refid: 07DUSHANBE860

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination:

header:

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RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG

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RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2118

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RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2152

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000860

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON, ETRD, PGOV, EAID, TI, AF

SUBJECT: AFGHANS IN TAJIKISTAN -- READY FOR BUSINESS

DUSHANBE 00000860  001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: While a common perception amongst Tajik

officials and academics is that the Afghans are all poor, coming

from a war-torn country with little education and healthcare,

Afghan businessmen are surprisingly successful and growing

wealthy in Tajikistan, and they have an equally dim view of

Tajiks.  Indeed, according to Afghan businessmen in Dushanbe,

all the Tajik government needs to do to promote cross-border

trade is stop being corrupt, open the border, and get out of

their way.  End Summary.

Afghans Dominate Wholesale Food

--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) According to Dr. Ata Mohammad Ghaznawi, Commercial

Attache of the Afghanistan embassy (and successful businessman

in his own right), the Tajiks, "would not be able to eat without

the Afghans."  According to Ghaznawi, besides the roughly 2000

small Afghan businesses (legal and illegal), there are about one

hundred Afghan wholesalers that dominate approximately 75

percent of imported foodstuffs throughout Tajikistan.  A brief

tour of the Afghan warehouses in downtown Dushanbe, re-stocked

daily from larger warehouses outside the city, showed vast

supplies of vegetable oils, rice, and sugar from Dubai, wheat

from Kazakhstan, and tea, cookies, candies, soaps, and

detergents from Iran.  Tajik middlemen buy their goods from the

Afghan wholesalers around 4:00 AM, and then sell them to small

retail traders in kiosks at local bazaars.

3. (SBU) Besides food and some dry goods, there is a robust

trade in contraband cigarettes from Dubai, Pakistan via

Afghanistan to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and

Kazakhstan.  According to Dr. Ghaznawi, about 50,000 cartons of

cigarettes a month pass through Tajikistan's contraband markets.

Corruption and Diplomatic Fall-out

------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Afghan success seems to be resented and exploited by

various levels of the Dushanbe city government.  The Afghan

wholesalers settled in Tajikistan during the late Soviet Union

and early 1990s and concentrated their businesses near a

multi-story shopping complex called Sadbarq (now often called

the "Afghan bazaar").  Sadbarq has often been a bone of

contention with the Dushanbe city government.  Afghan

businessmen made a deal in the 1990s where they could use the

market after they refurbished it.  After it was remodeled, the

city tried to take it back and it is still unclear who

technically owns it.

5. (SBU) While Tajik women run the kiosks in Sadbarq, the kiosks

and their goods belong to Afghans.  A 2001 car bomb near the

bazaar was believed to be connected to a commercial dispute with

an Afghan, and the city government tried to evict many of the

traders and move them to a remote outdoor bazaar on the

outskirts of the city the same year.  Since then, Afghan

wholesalers have complained of regular shake-downs by the

police.  (Post will report septel on recent round-ups of Afghan

refugees and asylum seekers, many of them picked up from the

Afghan dominated markets.)

6. (SBU) These shake-downs almost threatened Tajik-Afghan

relations two years ago.  By the time Dr. Ghaznawi arrived as

Commercial Attache in Dushanbe in 2005, extortions took place on

a weekly basis.  Ghaznawi recounted one particularly grizzly

tale which involved a Dushanbe police officer holding a

tazer-gun to an Afghan wholesaler's genitals until the Afghan

paid out $8,000 to the policeman.  Dr. Ghaznawi claims that he

personally threatened the Tajik Minister of Interior that he

would close the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan and

tell President Rahmon publicly how Afghan businessmen are abused

if the Minister did not find a way to stop the weekly extortion.

 The next week, according to Ghaznawi, the policeman returned

the money to the Afghan wholesaler, apologized, and such

large-scale extortions with impunity have declined.

Why Tajik Wholesale Traders Are Less Successful in Tajikistan

--------------------------------------------- --------------

-----------------------------------

7. (SBU) In discussing the difference in Tajik and Afghan

traders with Ghaznawi, his deputy trade attache at the Afghan

embassy Rangebar Samay, and later with two Afghan traders, they

seemed to regard the Tajiks' minimal role in the wholesale

market almost as a moral failing.  Despite the long civil war in

Afghanistan, they claim the Afghans are still capable of

trusting each other.  The informal hawala banking system works

DUSHANBE 00000860  002.2 OF 002

quickly and efficiently with little more than someone's good

word and a phone call to a designated country to deliver the

promised money, according to the Afghans.  The Tajiks, according

to Ghaznawi, lack trust and know that they are unreliable even

to each other.  "They are neither communist, nor Muslim, but

something in between."  Lack of trust and ambiguous moral values

have made Tajik society unable to function properly and impede

business, he said.  The main difference between Afghans and

Tajiks, according to Ghaznawi and Samay, is that Afghans

understand risk and how to take care of themselves

independently.  "War is risk and business is risk - this is

life."

8. (SBU) Moreover, according to Ghaznawi, Tajiks and Afghans

differ in sales strategies as well. He explained that an Afghan

will only mark up the price of a product by 20%, but hope to

sell a lot of them.  A Tajik, however, will take the same good

and mark up the price by 80%, but only sell a few of them.  It

was generally agreed among the Afghans that Tajik businesses are

greedy, do not know how to deal in large volumes, and lack

management skills.  (Comment:  Post's observations support the

lack of capacity and ability to handle supply chains or volume.

End comment.)

Outstanding Problems with Tajikistan Government

--------------------------------------------- --------------

-------------

9. (SBU) The commercial attache and his deputy both bemoaned

that Tajikistan was not more accommodating to Afghan investors

and businessmen.  Afghans were not included on the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs' recently approved list of nations allowed to

receive visas without invitations at the Dushanbe airport.  It

chagrined them that they were the most important traders in

Tajikistan to meet the Tajik population's daily needs and yet

they were not welcome.  Moreover, getting a Tajik visa in Kunduz

and Kabul not only takes a long time, it costs $200-$300 more

than the $60 official rate, even after they show their official

status as businessmen with business licenses, business

passports, and proof they paid business taxes in Afghanistan.

Once Afghan businessmen arrive in Dushanbe, registration costs

$35 per month.  More than twenty Afghan companies have been

waiting over a year to register at the Ministry of Justice, and

have received no explanation for the delay.  They were not too

concerned about Tajik regulations on imports by "Gosstandart" or

the lack of a transit agreement between Tajikistan and Pakistan

and its implications for transit in Afghanistan, since "a

hundred dollars at the border will fix that."

Brief Biography of Dr. Ata Mohammad Ghaznawi

--------------------------------------------- --------------

-------

10. (SBU) After high school in Afghanistan, Ghaznawi joined the

Soviet-backed Afghan army and got a scholarship to obtain a

Ph.D. in economics in Moscow.  He met his future wife at the

same university.  He moved to Tajikistan in 1988, opened his

first business in 1990 with $300 of jeans and goods from

Thailand and Dubai.  Over the next couple of years he traded

jeans for aluminum ingots from TadAZ (now Talco), among other

barter transactions, and made a fortune -- so much that he has

an outstanding business dispute with a Tajik office supply

company on Rudaki for $7 million dating back to 1991 that has

yet to be resolved.  (Comment: That's a lot of jeans and

aluminum. End Comment.)

11. (SBU) By 1992, when the Tajik civil war started, he moved

his family to Almaty, Kazakhstan. He gained refugee status in

the Netherlands and lived there four years, while keeping his

businesses running in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, and then

finally moved to the United States when his company had a

contract with the Pentagon.  He received a green card in 2001.

He said he feels that he has two nationalities - Afghan and

American - and what he likes most about America is having human

rights, the freedom to have a business, and protection from the

law. Still, as an Afghan from a war torn country, he claims that

he fears nothing.  He is also opening a 240-room hotel in Kabul

called the Sultan Palace Hotel in a few months.

HUSHEK

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 111591

date: 6/11/2007 8:13

refid: 07DUSHANBE862

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination:

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RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG

DE RUEHDBU #0862/01 1620813

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0423

INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 2119

RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2120

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1960

RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2154

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2144

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000862

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON, PGOV, ETRD, EAID, TI

SUBJECT: LIFESTYLES OF THE  RICH AND TAJIK

DUSHANBE 00000862  001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: A recent meeting with recipients of European

Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) small and medium

sized enterprise loans shed new light on the obstacles facing

small businesses in Dushanbe.  Interviews with the owners of

furniture, clothing, and household linens stores revealed not

only the parasitic and predatory relationship of government

toward small businesses both on a national and city level, but a

glimpse at how Tajikistan's elite live. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The owner of a furniture store on Dushanbe's main

artery, Rudaki, openly confided that she daily lived in fear and

paid off officials.  When asked if she had problems with customs

or tax inspectors, she implied that she bribed them and was,

"simply thankful to make some money and live a stable life with

a stable income for her family."  Tired of making $5 dollars a

month as a teacher with a degree as candidate of sciences, she

went into business.  Her son works as a doctor in Moscow and her

daughter is an interpreter for Mitsubishi making $8,000 a month

in Moscow.  A quick look at her store and merchandise makes it

clear she does not live hand to mouth.  She says the only reason

she asked for a $50,000 loan for her furniture store was because

she was forced to dip into her working capital when she ran over

budget building a $340,000 vacation cottage for her grandson in

the mountains outside Dushanbe.  If anything, she belongs to

Tajikistan's small middle class. Her business constraints and

choices demonstrate just how suffocating the businesses

environment is even for those closer to the elite.

3. (SBU) Real estate woes: After being stymied in her attempts

to build a three-story show room for her furniture store, she

was given verbal permission by Dushanbe Mayor Obaidulloev in a

quick and hushed meeting in his office to build a small show

room behind the converted apartment she uses as a store.  In a

mere 52 days she whipped together a bright room with

track-lighting to store and display tens of thousands of dollars

of furniture. (Note: As of 2002, any attempt to build or remodel

any structure in Tajikistan has to be approved by the government

committee on architecture and construction -- and companies are

levied a fee ranging from two to 15 percent of the proposed

construction budget. End Note.)  The furniture store owner

believes that she was ultimately allowed to have her showroom

because the President's daughter likes her furniture and may

have influenced the mayor.

4. (SBU) The furniture sold in her store comes entirely from

China, purchased directly in China or via Dubai, and delivered

by train.  Roughly 95% of it (excluding the leopard print

high-heeled shoe-chairs with red cushions) was some sort of

ornate hybrid of synthetic velvets, brocades, and satins with

plastic Rococo swirls and crenellations slapped onto shiny wood

veneer to give them an 18th century European Louis XIV effect.

(Comment: Jean Paul Sartre considered spending all of eternity

in a room with such furniture part of his vision of hell in "No

Exit." End Comment.)

5. (SBU) The furniture store owner often decorates the homes of

Tajikistan's elite. They come to her with room measurements,

leaf through her catalogs, and special-order whatever furniture

fancies them.  Pointing to a white swirly settee with gold and

rouge satin and brocade cushions purchased for $4900 from China,

the owner bemoaned that while she could sell it for $6000 in her

store, the president's daughter sometimes comes by and takes

pieces like this for $2000.  Indeed, many elites take furniture

and slowly pay back in small increments, while some stop paying

entirely.  She does not charge interest and has no recourse if

they default.  She would not dream of going to the courts

because that "would be very bad for them," and thus ultimately

bad for her.  "Only God will judge them," she sighed.

6. (SBU) The furniture store owner does not have a credit card,

nor does she have a savings account in a bank.  When she wants

to buy tens of thousands of dollars of furniture from China, she

calls in orders from Dushanbe and uses a money wiring service

that is not a bank to send the money to China.  A trusted person

in China delivers that money to three separate furniture

companies to complete the transaction.  The fact that money in

such large volumes is not sent via banks highlights the gross

inadequacies of Tajikistan's banking sector when even successful

legitimate businesses choose neither to save their money in them

nor use their services.

7. (SBU) The owner of clothing and linen stores also admitted to

paying customs and tax inspection bribes, but equivocated that

DUSHANBE 00000862  002.2 OF 002

such unpleasant things happen in many places all over the world.

 Like the furniture store owner, her philosophy towards

corruption is to pay for the problem to go away.  She also has a

higher education, and used to teach at a university, but needed

to make more money.  She started off with a small store at the

bazaar and through small-enterprise loans has gradually grown to

own three stores in the center of Dushanbe and employ six

people.  Her son is a lawyer for the National Bank and her

family seems to be comfortably ensconced in the middle class.

She did not name her landlord, but conveyed that he was a

government official who managed his affairs through an

intermediary.  Moreover, the landlord recently raised the rent

from $1500 to $1700.

8.  (SBU) Her clothes and linens mainly originate from Turkey.

The clothes arrive via air cargo after she personally selects

them abroad (and not just shuttle trade via suitcases), but the

linens come by truck since they are not subject to changing

fashion whims.  Her $70,000 loan and three-year line of credit

through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

lending program (partially supported by USAID) partnered with a

local bank will help her import Italian shoes.  Shoes have to be

ordered and paid for six months in advance and this requirement

has forced her to change the way she uses her working capital.

Like the furniture store owner, she does not have a continuous

savings account, but seems to use a savings account on a short

term basis.  When she travels abroad to make her orders, she

briefly deposits money so that she can use a debit card to cover

transactions.

9. (SBU) Comment: While we have often heard of the troubles of

micro-enterprises trying to get by in bazaars, these interviews

highlight that even larger more successful businesses face a

similar problem with government corruption and a weak banking

system. Their preference to just pay for their problems to go

away and disinclination to organize or fight against wrongs,

however, demonstrate that the business community remains

atomized and weak at the small and medium enterprise level. End

Comment.

HUSHEK

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 111770

date: 6/12/2007 12:43

refid: 07DUSHANBE877

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination: 07DUSHANBE860|07DUSHANBE877

header:

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PP RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG

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INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

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RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 2156

RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2122

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0042

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2161

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000877

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREF, PREL, PGOV, PHUM, UNHCR, TI, AF

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN TO AFGHAN REFUGEES:  YOU CAN STAY, JUST NOT HERE~

OR HERE

REF: DUSHANBE 860

DUSHANBE 00000877  001.2 OF 002

1.  SUMMARY:  On May 31, Tajik security officials rounded up

over 150 Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in the capital of

Dushanbe.  Reports from those detained suggest that authorities

held the refugees for most of the day without food, water or

access to sanitation facilities.  The authorities released the

refugees only after they signed an affidavit that they would

leave the capital within three days if single or ten days if a

family.  Refugee reports suggest that many signed these

statements under duress or did not fully understand what they

were signing.  END SUMMARY.

2.  In 2000, the government of Tajikistan adopted two

resolutions, numbers 325 and 328, which prohibit asylum seekers

and refugees from residing in urban areas (and specifically bar

residence in Dushanbe and Khujand).  The Office of the United

Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tajikistan has

been involved in an ongoing dialogue with the government of

Tajikistan on this subject, arguing that the resolutions violate

Article 26 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of

Refugees.  According to Article 26, refugees should be afforded

the same residency rights as other aliens, however resolutions

325 and 328 apply only to asylum seekers and refugees.  UNHCR

further argues that the resolutions are not retroactive, and, as

most Afghan refugees settled in Dushanbe before their adoption,

not applicable in the majority of cases.

3.  UNHCR reports that on May 31, security forces raided several

markets in Dushanbe, detaining up to 180 Afghans, including

those in possession of UNHCR letters and at least one minor, a

15 year-old boy.  According to Indira Beganovic, a Protection

Officer at UNHCR Tajikistan, it is possible that not all of

those detained were refugees, though most certainly were (UNHCR

used the number 150 in its Note Verbale dated June 5).

According to Beganovic, UNHCR took over 50 statements from

refugees, and all were concerned about the orders to move out of

Dushanbe.  They have jobs in Dushanbe, undergo medical

treatment, their children attend local schools and they extend

their documents every six months with authorities in the city.

[NOTE:  The short (maximum six-month) periods for which Tajik

authorities issue refugee documents is another bone of

contention between UNHCR and the government of Tajikistan. END

NOTE.]  Forced resettlement into the countryside, without access

to existing family and social support networks and agencies such

as UNHCR, could prove a significant hardship in some cases;

"catastrophic," according to Beganovic, in others.  Refugees

also worry that those who do not relocate out of Dushanbe would

face deportations.  So far UNHCR staff have told us they do not

consider the current action a violation of the principle of

non-refoulement.

4.  ConOff discussed the situation with both Beganovic at UNHCR

and Aziz Ahmad Barez, the Afghan Consul to Tajikistan, June 7.

Both Beganovic and Barez stated that they had received further,

unconfirmed, reports that round-ups had continued that day, one

week after the original detentions.  Barez said that he had

heard that more Afghan traders had been detained at the Sadbarg

Market (or "Afghan Market" reftel), while Beganovic said that

she had received three phone calls from refugees who had been

visited at their residences.  According to Beganovic, not only

did those detained on May 31 have to sign an affidavit swearing

to leave Dushanbe, they were forced to provide their current

addresses as well.

5.  Further complicating matters is the difficulty in locating

the person or persons behind the actions of May 31.  Many of

those detained reported overhearing that the Dushanbe city

administration (the mayor's office) ordered the round-up, citing

the fact that authorities used city detention facilities as

evidence.  If true, this would add a new wrinkle to the refugee

problem in Tajikistan, as such matters are supposed to be dealt

with solely by the central government.  Barez and Beganovic,

however, suggested that it was more likely the State Committee

on National Security who organized the detentions.  [NOTE:  Both

Barez and Beganovic urged ConOff to have the Embassy raise the

issue with any contacts it had in the State Committee on

National Security, as they themselves had none. END NOTE.]

Beganovic said that conversations with contacts at the Ministry

of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Labor suggest that neither

had any prior knowledge of the detentions, and that the Ministry

of Foreign Affairs, in response to a diplomatic note from UNHCR,

responded that they have requested an explanation from the State

Committee on National Security.

DUSHANBE 00000877  002.2 OF 002

6.  COMMENT:  The raids and detentions of May 31 paint a

disturbing picture of the direction that the situation

surrounding Afghan refugees in Tajikistan is heading.  UNHCR's

immediate concern is to stop the current campaign, the first of

its kind, but the lack of a coordinated and durable solution to

the refugee question in Tajikistan is alarming.  Post has

received other reports that the detentions, as they focused

primarily on those Afghans working in the local markets, may be

related to jealousies arising from the relative success of the

Afghan traders (see Reftel).  Regardless, the law upon which

Tajik authorities based the actions of May 31 contradicts

international norms.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 111853

date: 6/13/2007 6:20

refid: 07DUSHANBE882

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

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destination: 07DUSHANBE882

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000882

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, KWMN, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK WOMEN LEADERS FRUSTRATED BY CULTURAL ATTITUDES AMONG

WOMEN

DUSHANBE 00000882  001.2 OF 002

1.  SUMMARY:  Leaders of Tajikistan's political parties

discussed how women are marginalized in politics and the

frustrations they share trying to empower women, at a roundtable

with PolOff June 4.  All pointed out that Tajik cultural norms

are oppressive to women, but sometimes it's the women themselves

who uphold the traditional female roles in a male-dominated

society.   END SUMMARY.

2.  Of Tajikistan's eight registered political parties, none are

led by women and only two have institutionalized leadership

positions for women.  Two parties, the Social Democratic Party

and the Socialist Party, could not identify women leaders to

participate in the roundtable.  Soliha Ahmadova, Head of the

Women's Department of President Rahmon's People's Democratic

Party and Tahmina Qayyumova, head of the party's young women's

department attended the roundtable.  The Head of the Women's

Department for the Islamic Renaissance Party, Zurafo Rahmoni,

and Mahbuba Fayzulloeva, daughter of the late chairman Said

Abdullo Nuri, represented the party; Mamlakat Joyjieva attended

from the Democratic Party of Tajikistan.

WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT, OR NOT, AS THE CASE MAY BE

3.  President Rahmon issued a decree in 1999, aimed at

empowering women in Tajik society, which ordered all government

offices including ministries, local governments, and state

universities to employ at least one woman in a deputy level

position.  The government also established the Committee on

Women's Affairs in 1991 and in 2002 the Department on Gender

Equality, both reporting to the president's office.  "Main

Directions of the State Policies for Ensuring Equal Rights and

Opportunities for Men and Women in Tajikistan 2001-2010" serves

as an action plan to pursue gender equality.  As a result of

these government initiatives, women now fill 17 percent of

government positions, are elected officials in each district

government, and comprise 90 percent of school principals.  The

second of two deputy prime ministers is a woman as is the

Minister of Health, and 11 women serve as elected national

parliamentarians.  Roundtable participants agree that the

president's initiative has made an impact, but more

opportunities for women to play a prominent role in governing

and shaping Tajikistan's future are needed.  They point out that

many proposals in the action plan have not been implemented and

although the government's quotas have meant that more women can

obtain positions in government, most of those positions are

appointed, not elected.

4.  The mindset of women themselves proves one of the biggest

hindrances to achieving gender equality and providing more

workplace opportunities for women.  Roundtable participants

expressed strong disappointment when they told PolOff that the

female parliamentarians themselves argue that a woman's role and

responsibilities are at home.  The women leaders at the

roundtable described the most difficult part of their job as

breaking down the cultural stereotypes that women hold of

themselves.  Many Tajik women they encounter still believe that

politics is "the business of men."

5.  Roundtable participants complained that the government and

political parties' push for more female participation during the

November 2006 presidential election was merely lip service.  In

order for more women to participate in politics or run in

elections, real legislative reform needs to be implemented that

creates a more open political playing field for all interested

participants.  The representatives of the political parties say

that the fees are often too high for women.  Rahmoni proposed

one partial solution to the Islamic Renaissance Party leadership

- i.e., that the party should assist women who choose to run for

an elected position.

TAJIKISTAN'S ECONOMIC WOES PUT WOMEN IN UNTRADITIONAL ROLES,

WITH NO SUPPORT

6.  All the women around the table nodded their heads when

Zurafo Rahmoni of the Islamic Renaissance party said that "Women

are shackled by economic problems in Tajikistan."  With anywhere

between 600,000 to one million Tajik men serving as labor

migrants abroad, Tajikistan faces a complicated social dynamic.

In some villages the men's departure has led to positive

developments such as women take a greater role in business,

working at the bazaars, or filling vacant positions in local

government.  However, labor migration also means that many women

are left destitute because some migrants do not send money home

to their families and the women have to fend for themselves,

DUSHANBE 00000882  002.2 OF 002

while still occupying an inferior position in their communities.

 The woman bears the burden of being the breadwinner while also

keeping house.  Unfortunately, the gender gap in education means

that most women in rural villages are under-educated with little

skills to obtain the high-paying jobs -- and few jobs available

for them.

EDUCATION FOR ALL

7.  The representatives from the People's Democratic Party of

Tajikistan (President Rahmon's party) disagreed with the other

political parties on the Ministry of Education's edict against

the hijab and defended the party line that girls should not be

allowed to wear inappropriate dress to school; but all

participants agreed that women's education should not be impeded

by debates on dress.  Although the Tajik government insists that

all pupils are mandated to attend school, in practice, this is

not the case and more boys attend schools than girls.  Anecdotal

evidence suggests drop-out rates for girls are higher than for

boys, especially in rural areas feeling the greatest impact of

out-migration.

8.  Zurafo Rahmoni revealed that the Islamic Renaissance Party's

Women's Department is working with a leading fashion designer in

Tajikistan to produce a Sharia-appropriate school uniform that

is uniquely Tajik so that government officials cannot criticize

it as an external influence from Iran or Arab countries.  The

new national dress uniform would include the Tajik national

headscarf, which is not a hijab and is permitted by the Ministry

of Education's new dress code.  The Islamic Renaissance Party

accepts the Tajik national headscarf as a form of hijab.  They

are optimistic that the government will compromise and accept

their new proposal on school uniforms.  (Note: The Tajik

headscarf does not fully cover a women's head like a hijab, and

does not wrap around the neck under the chin. End Note.)

Rahmoni's proposal is a good example of moving beyond the hijab

debate and taking proactive steps to ensure that all women

receive education regardless of religious practices.

9.  COMMENT:  The roundtable discussion demonstrated that

promoting gender equality and raising women's status entails

more than creating a body of law addressing gender inequality

and checking off the box as complete.  In Tajikistan problems of

poverty and a poor healthcare and education system affect both

men and women harshly; but in a country where women in some

families are still viewed as second class citizens, women suffer

disproportionately.  More also needs to be done to change the

attitudes of society -- both men and women -- to value women and

girls.  Unfortunately, only a few of the political parties have

decided to take on this task.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 111857

date: 6/13/2007 6:49

refid: 07DUSHANBE883

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination: 06DUSHANBE2147|06DUSHANBE707

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000883

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  6/12/2017

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY INFIGHTING CONTINUES

REF: A. A) 06 DUSHANBE 707

     B. B) 06 DUSHANBE 2147

CLASSIFIED BY: TJACOBSON, AMBASSADOR, STATE, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (U)  SUMMARY:  The Democratic Party of Tajikistan's power

struggles and legal battles over the past year have been

confusing enough to rival a daytime soap opera's complicated

plot.  Rahmatullo Valiev, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic

Party met with PolOff June 7 to discuss the latest round of

court cases and claims to the party's leadership.  END SUMMARY.

BACKGROUND: ISKANDAROV'S IMPRISONMENT LEAVES LEADERSHIP VOID

2.  (U) The turning point for the once promising opposition

party was when the Democratic Party's wealthy chairman

Mahmadruzzi Iskandarov, a political threat to President Rahmon,

was allegedly kidnapped while walking down the street in Moscow

on April 16, 2005.  Iskandarov claimed security forces illegally

extradited him back to Tajikistan April 22, 2005 where he was

arrested, tortured, placed on trial, convicted of terrorism,

illegal use of weapons, misuse of state funds and organization

of illegal groups, and sentenced to 23 years in prison beginning

January 2006.  Although some of the charges may have been

warranted, international observers generally agree that the

extradition and trial were politically motivated (REFTEL A).

3.  (U)  Although he is in prison, Iskandarov remains the

Democratic Party's Chairman.  On Iskandarov's birthday, party

members gathered at the Democratic Party headquarters in

Dushanbe to "celebrate."  Iskandarov was allowed phone calls

from prison and one member's cell phone was passed around to the

15 members present who each passed along their congratulations

for his health and long life, in jail.

4.  (U)  Since Iskandarov's imprisonment, the party's focus has

centered on him, the injustices wrought against him, and his

plight to get out of jail; not toward resolving the people's

social and political issues.  Iskandarov's absence left a void

in the party's leadership.  Some party members long for change

and for the party to move forward and shift its focus away from

Iskandarov.  The party has suffered financially as well since

Iskandarov's incarceration, but his brother, Temur Toshev,

remains an active force in the party.  Toshev was even arrested

November 4 for protesting in front of the Ministry of Justice,

but released (REFTEL B).

THE POWER STRUGGLE:  WINNING COURT CASES AND CONGRESSES

5.  (U)  Rahmatullo Valiev, the party's Deputy Chairman, has

projected himself as the party's face, liaising with the media

and international community and acting on behalf of Iskandarov.

Valiev has never made claims to the chairmanship and he has

focused his efforts on defending "Iskandarov's party."   The

party's internal dispute began in early 2006 when Mahsud Sobirov

declared he would renew the Democratic Party and register a new

party faction called Vatan.  Valiev maintains that Sobirov is a

pawn of the security forces aimed at shutting down the

Democratic Party and Vatan is an artificial party the government

created.

6.  (U) On May 14, 2007 a Tajik court recognized Sobirov as the

Democratic Party's leader.  Valiev has once again appealed the

court's decision.  The court ruled that the party's congress

legally elected Sobirov chairman August 27, 2006.  To complicate

matters further, the same Democratic Party members expelled

Sobirov June 3.

7.  (U) During the same August 27, 2006 party congress meeting

when members elected Sobirov as the chairman, they also elected

Saidjaffar Ismonov as the first-deputy chairman.  In a January

14, 2007 congress, Ismonov urged the party to remove Sobirov and

elect him as chairman, which they did.  Ismonov formally

requested the Ministry of Justice recognize him as the official

chairman, but in a February ruling the ministry determined that

Ismonov should not be recognized as the chairman and the January

14 congress was not initiated or conducted according to the

party's charter.   Valiev has also been challenging and

appealing the Ministry of Justice's decision which essentially

recognizes Sobirov as the party's chairman.  This same court

case initiated by Ismonov led to the May 14 decision upholding

Sobirov as chairman, and the current appeal now in process.

DUSHANBE 00000883  002 OF 002

8.  (U)  During the June 7 meeting with PolOff, Valiev confirmed

media reports that the party has officially acted within its

charter to expel Sobirov from the party altogether.  Members of

the Democratic Party in the Shomansurov District where Sobirov

originally registered as a party member voted to kick out

Sobirov.  According to the party's charter rules, the original

cell, where the member registered, can expel the member.  Valiev

insisted that he did not influence that cell's decision.  He

said that their decision was based on the fact that Sobirov has

not done anything for the party at all and the members are tired

of internal fighting.  The members' main goal for the party is

for it to reunite in the public's eye and move on with business.

9.  (SBU)  Although now the Democratic Party may consider itself

united, the question remains as to what the official decision

from the Ministry of Justice will be.  Valiev's appeal is still

pending.  The ministry faces a dilemma -- the candidate the

government supported has been publicly ousted from the party.

So how will the court officially rule?  Embassy sources say that

the Ministry of Justice itself is confused and is debating how

to deal with the impending appeal.  It will have to make a

decision sooner or later on who the officially recognized

chairman is.  If Sobirov remains the recognized leader, the

Ministry of Justice will be defying the party's actions which

the party has made publicly known, and will create a separate

faction.  The Democratic Party will face the same problem as the

Socialist Party which had split in two, with the competing

chairmen dissipating their political energy arguing over who is

the real party boss.  First the party must take a hard look at

the void in leadership: Iskandarov remains in prison; members

expelled Sobirov; and no one supports Ismonov.

10.  (C)  COMMENT:  The party's lack of leadership has hindered

its ability to form a real platform and serve as a political

party which lobbies for its constituents' rights and beliefs.

Average Tajiks view the party as disorganized and dysfunctional

and its membership has declined.  The party needs an effective

leader who can move the organization beyond its internal

struggle, beyond the imprisoned Iskandarov.  Neither Sobirov,

nor Ismonov, nor Valiev have the charisma or foresight to lead

the party, and at present no other clear leader has emerged.

Sobirov, Ismonov, and Valiev most likely have all collaborated

with security officials at one point or another in their quests

for power, and the government probably did have a role in the

party's internal conflict.  This already weak opposition party

sees itself fading fast, and if government officials really

wanted to wipe out the party, they did not need to interfere

much.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON 

Источник: ИА "Авеста"
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