TAJIKISTAN: Restricting Religious Freedom

TAJIKISTAN (Central Asia)                                 

Population: 7.76 million

70% of the population are below 30 years of age

Fertility Rate:  From 6.9 children/woman in 1970 to 3.3 children/woman in 2010

Life Expectancy:  From 60 years (1970) to 67 years (2010)

Infant mortality:  37.33 deaths / 1000 live births

Male/Female Ratio:  0.99 male  / female

Major Religion:  Islam

– Abortion has been legal in Tajikistan since 1955.  Abortion services in Tajikistan are available without restriction during the first 12 weeks of gestation.

– 72.3 percent of all pregnancies end in a live birth and, on average, 12.6 percent of women use induced abortion for birth control.  

– Contraceptive prevalence is 38% and IUD is the most popular contraceptive method.

– Many (15%) young people are married by the age of 18.  

– Tajikistan is one of the world’s worst abusers of religious freedom.  The government requires that any religious activity must be government-approved to be legal. 

– A new law “On the responsibility of parents for upbringing and education of children” was approved in July 2011, prohibiting children under 18 from attending places of worship.   

– Religious education is banned for children under the age of 7, and any religious instruction in private homes.  It imposes preventive censorship on religious literature, and restrictions on religious services, which must be held in places approved by the state.

– Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned , and reportedly as many as 17 Jehovah’s Witnesses currently face criminal charges of inciting inter-religious discord.

– In recent years, the Tajik government has destroyed a synagogue, a church, and three mosques, and it has closed down nearly 75 mosques including 50 in early 2011.









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