Strengthening civil society

Civil society organisations began to appear in Tajikistan during the civil war that lasted from 1992 to 1997, with around 300 NGOs registered by 1997. At first they largely sought to address people’s humanitarian needs, and then expanded into human rights and peacebuilding in the war’s aftermath. But with the government’s consolidation of power in the early 2000s, civil society organisations found their roles dramatically reduced. Civil society in Tajikistan faces a number of restrictions that have been in place since the early 2000s. In 2018, Saferworld established a national-level civil society platform – a network of 30 civil society organisations. This informal civil society forum engages directly with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the police reform strategy, and community policing at the national level. It brings community security concerns to the authorities’ and government’s attention, acting as a crucial bridge to raise awareness of people’s concerns and ensure solutions are found.

The platform aims to unite civil society, build knowledge and skills to enable them to work on peace and security, provide financial support and mentorship for carrying out activities, and lobby national and international governments and experts to provide a conducive environment for policy debate. Unlike other existing platforms, it does not focus on one specific issue but looks at community security as a whole, taking into account the variety of specific concerns that affect the different regions and communities across Tajikistan. Through community dialogues, research and analysis the platform identifies community security concerns, develops ideas and raises funds to address them. The platform also uses this analysis to advocate for sub-national, national and international actors to make changes to policies and practices that lead to insecurity in communities.