DUSHANBE, March 10, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Tajikistan’s commissioner for  human rights Zarif Alizoda has submitted his first report on the human rights situation in the country to the President, the Parliament, the Supreme, Constitutional and High Economic courts as well as the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

Suhaili Qodirov, a spokesman for Human Rights Ombudsman Office of Tajikistan, says the report contains materials about the human rights situation in the country in October-December 2009 and 2010.

“Over the report period, more than 1,500 people have applied to our office,” said Qodirov, “People have mainly complained of decisions by courts over property right disputes and land allotment problems as well as criminal proceedings instituted against them.”

According to him, the report consists of four chapters.  “One of these chapters is about rights of the most vulnerable sections of the population: migrants; women, children, people with disabilities; and prison inmates, said Qodirov, “The ombudsman offers his recommendations how to improve the situation.”

The report will be published in state-run newspapers and it cannot be ruled out that it will be also posted on websites of a number of interested private media outlets, the spokesman added.

An ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by the government or by parliament, who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints reported by individual citizens.

We will recall that the Human Rights Ombudsman Office, headed by Ombudsman Zarif Alizoda, formally began its operations in May 2009.

Some local experts consider that Zarif Alizoda is inactive.  “If there had no been various events connected with celebrating International Human Rights Day and various conferences, we would not have heard anything about our Ombudsman,” Rahmatillo Zoirov, director of local law firm Tajik Juridical Consortium (TJC), told Asia-Plus in an interview.

“Establishment of office of the commissioner for human rights within the executive power body makes its fully dependent on the authorities.  It means that it will not be able to fulfill its functions, because its main duty is to settle conflicts within the public management, exactly within the executive power system,” said Zoirov, “On the other hand, since the country’s legislation has not detailed mechanisms of implementation of ombudsman’s powers, all decision made by him are only advisory in nature.  Thirdly, it is passivity of the Ombudsman himself.  He is dependent on the authorities not only in terms of his powers; he is also absolutely dependent in terms of moral principles and requirements.  His personal passivity and passivity of his office make him “invisible,” Zoirov noted.