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Thank you, Chair.
I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania[*] as well as the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, align itself with this statement.
We would like to start by expressing disappointment that the delegation of Tajikistan is not tripartite as it is essential to meaningful social dialogue at this committee.
The EU and its Member States are committed to the promotion, protection and respect of human rights and labour rights, as safeguarded by the fundamental ILO Conventions and other human rights instruments. We support the indispensable role played by the ILO in developing, promoting and supervising the application of international labour standards and of fundamental Conventions in particular. The EU and its Member States are also committed to the promotion of universal ratification, effective implementation and enforcement of the core labour standards.
The prohibition of discrimination is one of the most important principles of international human rights law. In the European Union’s founding treaties, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in the European Convention on Human Rights, the prohibition of discrimination is a core principle. ILO Convention 111 is founded on the same principle.
The EU and its Member States are long-term partners of Tajikistan, with relations guided by the bilateral 'Partnership and Cooperation Agreement' which came into force in 2010 and the Joint Communication on the new EU Strategy on Central Asia, which was adopted on 15 May 2019. The new Strategy reaffirms the crucial importance of continuing a meaningful dialogue on good governance, the rule of law and human rights. The EU also welcomes Tajikistan's steps towards becoming a GSP+ beneficiary, which would imply even stronger commitment to implementation of ILO fundamental conventions.
With regard to the implementation of ILO Convention 111, we share the Committee’s observations recognising that key pieces of legislation, and in particular the Framework Law on State Guarantees of Equal Rights for Men and Women and Equal Opportunities in the Exercise of such Rights No. 89 of March 2005 (Law on State Guarantees of 2005), contain a number of provisions prohibiting discrimination based on gender in all spheres, including in employment, and promoting the principle of equal opportunities for men and women. However, we note with regret that the government didn’t provide information about its implementation in practice.
Similarly, information on the activities of the Committee for Women’s and Family Affairs (CWFA) approved by the Government Decree No. 608 in December 2006 to implement State policy to protect and provide for the rights and interests of women and families, including to implement the Law on State Guarantees of 2005, is not provided, neither is the information on how violations of this Law are dealt with.
We appeal to the government to provide information on the implementation of the anti‑discrimination laws in practice, including on the manner in which violations of its provisions are being addressed by the CWFA, the labour inspectorate and the courts.
In line with the Committee’s recommendation, we also advise the Government to strive towards achieving the objectives of the ILO Convention 111 in its entirety, and while legislative measures are important, they need to be complemented with a number of differentiated measures, such as proactive measures designed to address the underlying causes of discrimination and de facto inequalities resulting from discrimination deeply entrenched in traditional and societal norms.
The EU and its Member-States will continue to support the government of Tajikistan in this endeavour, as proven by the recent 7th Cooperation Committee meeting held on the 7th of June in Dushanbe.
Thank you, Chair
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.