Tajik peacekeepers may soon join UN ranks


Office of Peacebuilding (UNTOP) continued to undertake efforts to strengthen national mechanisms for peacebuilding. One key element of these efforts was UNTOP’s National Dialogue Project. It brings together representatives of political parties, civil society, and local and central authorities in distinctive fora across the country for dialogue on social and political issues. Presidential elections held in November provided a welcome opportunity to link the project with key national stakeholders in the sphere of elections. In this regard the office facilitated dialogue between political parties and election administration authorities, provided guidance on legal issues, and undertook efforts to coordinate international technical assistance prior to election day.At the polls, voting took place in a peaceful manner and without security related incidents.


Another important activity for UNTOP was the establishment of the Peacekeeping Group under the Ministry of Interior of Tajikistan. The objective of the Group is to prepare Tajik personnel to take part in UN peacekeeping operations. Thirty police officers from the Ministry of Interior received English language training and participated in a special course on peacekeeping. The first Tajik peacekeepers will be ready for international assignments as early as in summer of 2007. Initiated by UNTOP, with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the training program under the Peacekeeping Group will enable Tajikistan to play a more active role in the international community and contribute to UN peace efforts worldwide.


As part of implementing its peacebuilding mandate and to raise public awareness, UNTOP carried out projects to build national capacities in treaty reporting and to raise awareness about human rights in Tajik society.The office conducted a wide range of activities in these areas, including human rights education for civil servants at the Ministry of Justice, seminars on introducing human rights instruction in classrooms, including development of a textbook, for the Ministry of Education, and roundtables on the role of civil society in implementing human rights recommendations for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Tajikistan. UNTOP and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also organized an international conference on the establishment of a human rights ombudsman in Tajikistan. Work continues on this initiative, which would raise the level of engagement by Tajikistan with international human rights treaty mechanisms and boost awareness in Tajik society with regard to human rights issues.


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